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How To Use Your Tongue - MBLGTACC 2013

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Amy Vanderpool

on 9 November 2013

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Transcript of How To Use Your Tongue - MBLGTACC 2013

We understand the world in terms of the language we use - the language we use illuminates the world we understand.
Language structure or characteristics influence cognition / determine worldview
1. Language - Who Cares?
2. Regarding Gender
3. Pronouns
4. Workshop

Why It Matters
Regarding Gender
Regarding Gender
How To Use Your Tongue

Learning Objectives
Gender beyond "the binary"
Language as an influence on life
Impact of gendered language
Working knowledge of inclusive language (incl. pronouns)
Amy Vanderpool, B.A.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Linguistic Relativity/Determinism
Regarding Gender
It's not that the trans* narrative is wrong or harmful in and of itself - just that it shouldn't be used as an encompassing understanding of gender, imposed on those who don't fit within its system of categorization
Why Pronouns in Particular?
The only gender signifier in English language
* Refresher: everyone deserves to have their gender acknowledged and respected! Good spaces will be active in their efforts to support and validate the genders of all persons, but in particular those with non-hegemonic genders who may not receive support or understanding from literally anywhere else.
Pronouns are a really easy way to recognize and validate a gender identity
Using the pronouns out loud, in writing, everywhere will make them more familiar in your mind and on your tongue
The "debate" : A Few Points
The Long List
Most Common
Creative Consciousness
Language - Shared Consciousness
AKA "Sapir-Whorf" Hypothesis
Not much - Colors
Bilingualism/Mixed-language dialects & Translation
Racist/Ethnocentric application to non-English-speaking languages/cultures
How do we test this hypothesis?
Understand the world similarly through the lens of shared language *
Anxiety / Depression
The Gender / Sex / Sexuality Narrative
Gender = mind / Sex = body / Sexuality = heart
True and not true - shared Euro-American understanding
Framing matters -
to insist this one system is HOW gender/sex/sexuality operate (rather than one system/interpretation among many) is to functionally suppress other forms of understanding, imposing one standard of g/s/s on the world *already colonial
"The" Gender Binary
Popular understanding of gender as a diametrically opposed and discrete system of 'masculine' (man) against 'feminine' (woman)
Fails to adequately describe the experience of gender
Framing issue : not the only binary, much less the only gender system
as an umbrella term
Hegemonic binary / Hegemonic genders
Modern/Colonial Gender System (Maria Lugones)
Current understandings of gender spread and enforced by European colonialism
Suppression/erasure of Indigenous and/or PoC -- limits/imposition of "validity"
The Trans*/Cis Narrative
Trans* = transition or transitional identification with (the) other gender than that assigned at birth
Cis = identity aligns with that assigned at birth
Not incorrect for those who experience it; but not the only or dominant experience of gender variety outside of the hegemonic variety
Reinforces the binary as the only/dominant system of experiencing/understanding gender
Limits our understanding of sex/gender systems and individual identities beyond hegemonic discourse
Idea of "transitioning" - not universal, upholds idea of validity
Problems with using trans* and cis exclusively as encompassing ways of experiencing gender
Consider that necessitating a category between people who "fit" their assigned gender to their assigned sex is presupposing that the binary classification of sex (as male or female) is correct and encompassing - which is not the case.
"Gender-Neutral Pronouns" (GNP)
2 main pushes for Pronoun +
= Pronoun +
Gender Neutral :
for use in instances where gender is unknown or irrelevant, general sayings
Gender Inclusion/Representation:
for use in instances where a person's gender is not adequately/correctly represented by 'she'/'he', non-hegemonic genders (also general/inclusive)
genderqueer / genderfluid
bigender / pangender
"third gender" = problematic
gender-neutral / agender / genderfree / neutrois
Epicene = word that refers to either sex unchangeably
- not unproblematic
Speak like everyone already understands you - creative consciousness
The status quo
He/She/It (/They)
"It / They / Status Quo is Just Fine"
"It'll Never Happen"
"Closed Class!"
"Gotta Pick One"
"Sounds Weird"
(1850) ne, nis, nim; hiser
(1868) en
(1884) thon, thons *; hi, hes, hem; le, lis, lim; unus; talis; hiser, himer/hyser, hymer; ip, ips
(1888-1900) ir, iro, im; tha, thar, them; ons; e, es, em; hizer; ith
(1912-1969) his'er, him'er; hie, hiez, hie; ha, hez, hem; on; hesh, hizzer, himmer; thir; she, shis, shim; se, sim, sis; hse; kin
(1970-1979) she, heris, herim; cos; ta, ta-men; tey, term, tem; fm; z; shis, shim, shims, shimself; ze, zim, zees, zeeself; per, pers; na, nan, naself; se, ser, sim, simself; j/e, m/a, m/e, m/es, m/oi; jee, jeue; ne, nis, ner; en, es, ar; ve, vis, vim; ey, eir, em; uh; ho, hom, hos, homself; po, xe, jhe; E, E's, Em; e, ris, rim; em, ems; ae; hir; hesh, hizer, hirm; sap; e, im, ir(s); et, ets, etself; hir, hires, hirem, hirself; shey, sheir, sheirs; hey, heir, heirs
(1980 on) E, Ir; hann; a, un, a's; han, hans; e, e's, emself, em; de/des; den/din; se, hir; U, u, ur, urs, urself; ghach (Klingon); - han; hey; mef; ws, wsel; se, son
When is gender really necessary to specify?
- Assume you don't know (-you don't!)
- Avoid irrelevant gender distinctions / language
= "the opposite gender"
= "ladies & gentlemen/boys & girls"
Let hir eat hir cake, zie/ze made it all hirself. It's hirs.
Ze | Hir | Hir | Hirs | Hirself
Ze laughed at the hilarious joke I told hir.
I talked to hir the other day and I think ze's moving west to be near hir family.
Xe | Xem | Xyr | Xyrs | Xemself
Ey / Ae | Em | Eir / Aer | Eirs / Aers |Emself / Aerself
Ve | Ver / Vim | Vis | Vis | Verself / Vimself
Co | Co | Co | Cos | Coself
Xe picked up xyr suitcase and headed towards the door.
Xe wants to go to the park; I told xem was too cold.
Xyr buddy told xem the same thing, but xe insisted the decision was xyrs, so xe went by xemself.
Ey slept through class, so I took notes for eir.
Ae didn't finish aer homework for aer other class, either.
Ey's putting emself on a dangerous path!
Ve pushed verself away from the table and stood, and placed vis napkin over the rest of the food on vis plate.
Ve was gonna keep the whole cake for vimself, so I asked vim very politely for a slice.
Vis laughter at my proposal was quite rude.
How should I know what co wants?
It's not like co lets me know what's on co mind.
I know co thoughts are cos, but I wish co wouldn't keep so much of it to coself.
They almost wet themself when their bus broke down on an overpass in the middle of nowhere.

They used the three hour wait to work on their presentation for MBGLTACC.

I hope it goes well for them!
Avril Lavigne - Sk8r Boi
(He)___________________ was a (boy)___________________ . (She)___________________ was a (girl)___________________ . Can I make it anymore obvious? (He)___________________ was a punk. (She)___________________ did ballet. What more can I say? (He)___________________ wanted (her)___________________ . (She)___________________ 'd never tell. Secretly (she)___________________ wanted (him)___________________ as well. And all of (her)___________________ friends, Stuck up their nose. They had a problem with (his)___________________ baggy clothes.
(He)___________________ was a skater (boy), (she)___________________ said, "See ya later, (boy)." (He)___________________ wasn't good enough for (her)___________________ . (She)___________________ had a pretty face but (her)___________________ head was up in space. (She)___________________ needed to come back down to earth.
Brooks & Dunn - She's Not The Cheatin' Kind
(She)___________________'s dressed to kill in a dress (he)___________________ bought (her)___________________ . (She)___________________ wouldn't care if (he)___________________ walked in and caught (her)___________________ . (She)___________________'s come to dance a dance or two, And do no tellin' what by the time the night is through.
(She)___________________found out the hard way about (him)___________________ . (She)___________________'s out to find out how (she)___________________'ll do without (him)___________________ . (Her)___________________ hands are shakin', (her)___________________ heart's pounding. By the way (she)___________________'s drinking (his)___________________ memory's drowin' - (She)___________________'s not the cheatin' kind...
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