Making room for pronouns on the profile page May 15, 2017 11:24 AM   Subscribe

We've decided to move forward on an idea that's come up in MetaTalk previously: adding an explicit spot for pronouns on MeFi user profile pages. It's a small change: we've tweaked the free-form "Gender" field to "Gender and/or pronouns".

This has come up a few times over the years, e.g. this pony request from 2015; we hadn't acted on it before out of design conservatism, but a user checked in with us via the contact form recently about revisiting it and after talking it over as a team we decided it was time to make it happen.

The Gender field has been free-form for a very long time; people have filled it with everything from straight-faced to insidery to absurdist phrasing, which fits the MetaFilter community feel pretty well. And as part of that it's been possible for folks to expand it to include pronouns if they felt inclined to do so, but my feeling at this point is that officially noting that as an okay thing to do may help normalize the idea a bit and help folks feel comfortable with the practice.

It is, of course, still totally free-form; nobody is obliged or expected to change/expand/etc. what they have in that field, or fill it at all in the first place, so if your feeling about this is kind of a shrugging "and?", cool; shrug and move on, you're a-okay.

This change doesn't affect anything else about the content or visiblity of profile pages; we're just changing the label of that field and the hint info on the Preference page next to it.
posted by cortex to Feature Requests at 11:24 AM (110 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

This is great, thanks for making that change! Sometimes small things have big impact.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:44 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]


Cool. Anything that makes people feel more welcome and included is a Good Thing.
posted by bondcliff at 11:46 AM on May 15 [12 favorites]


Can we go nuts?
posted by Melismata at 11:47 AM on May 15 [11 favorites]


As ever.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:47 AM on May 15 [13 favorites]


Good.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:02 PM on May 15


Oooh, an excuse to edit my profile!
posted by quaking fajita at 12:06 PM on May 15


I had written " can be referred to as "he", "they" or "it" or just call me "foop" " in the Gender field some time ago. Just call me ahead of the crowd... or a head of the whatever.

(And the first time you made the Gender field free-form and said "go nuts", I wrote "nuts")
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:07 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]


hmmm....

I'm just thinking how as a user I'd reference these fields at all. Would I click on a username for a person I'm going to reply to/mention and refer to their pronouns there? Would I like to be able to hover over a username to see what their pronouns are? Would that be opening a huge can of worms? (Probably)
posted by jillithd at 12:08 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Would I like to be able to hover over a username to see what their pronouns are? Would that be opening a huge can of worms? (Probably)

Can of worms, yeah. I don't have an expectation this this, any more than anything else on the profile page, being instant-feedback demographic information on another user; you visit a profile page if you want more info on that person, if it occurs to you to wonder. That's more of a "oh, hey, I wonder what their story is" situation or a "man, they keep posting interesting stuff, maybe I'll go see if they list a website / add 'em as a contact" deal on MetaFilter.

And since we have a variety of profile visibility limitations depending on an individual user's preference, it'd be non-trivial and inconsistent to try and serve something like that up dynamically in any case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:14 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Why not just add a free form field of it's own for pronouns rather than coopting an existing one?

Note: I am not opposed to repurposing an existing field. It just seems like this might be better served with a new field.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:23 PM on May 15


Now I want a Metafilter "Shrug and Move On" t-shirt.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:24 PM on May 15 [7 favorites]


What? Non-trivial? It's not like you have multi-thousand comment pages already challenging people's browsers...

I had to ask anyway. Thanks for making the site better all the time!
posted by jillithd at 12:25 PM on May 15


Why not just add a free form field of it's own for pronouns rather than coopting an existing one?

Long term dedication to avoiding indefinite field creep. This seemed like a good low-impact compromise, though I totally recognize it's not the only possible approach.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:25 PM on May 15 [9 favorites]


The "(either, both or neither)" on the edit page needs a fix
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 12:26 PM on May 15


I had written " can be referred to as "he", "they" or "it" or just call me "foop" " in the Gender field some time ago.

This sounds like you're making a joke of it. Do you go by all of these pronouns IRL?
posted by AFABulous at 12:28 PM on May 15 [14 favorites]


The "(either, both or neither)" on the edit page needs a fix

I may be staring right at it and not seeing it; can you elaborate a bit?
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:29 PM on May 15


The "(either, both or neither)" on the edit page needs a fix

How do you mean? I'm not seeing anything amiss, but I'm also the one who wrote that text, so am probably the last one who's going to see a mistake.
posted by frimble (staff) at 12:30 PM on May 15


jillthd, I often go to people's profile pages when I am unclear on their gender, so I can reference them correctly in a comment, e.g. "bondcliff said blah but he is wrong because xyz"

cortex - this is great, and thank you.
posted by AFABulous at 12:30 PM on May 15 [15 favorites]


As in "either, both, or neither" aren't pronouns.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 12:32 PM on May 15


"bondcliff said blah but he is wrong because xyz"

You need a better example; I am never wrong.
posted by bondcliff at 12:33 PM on May 15 [23 favorites]


I took "either, both, or neither" to mean you could write in gender, gender AND pronouns, pronouns, or leave the field blank.
posted by AFABulous at 12:34 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]


Oh. I was thinking of them as remnant from when it was just a gender field. I guess all of them *could* be pronouns, too..
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 12:35 PM on May 15


You need a better example; I am never wrong.

In AFABulous' example, "blah" = "standing" and "xyz" = "what".
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:36 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I think we maybe should go back to the original text ("this is free-form, go nuts") there, and then add a FAQ entry explicitly saying "you can fill in either your gender, or your pronouns, or both, or neither". Basically, we wanted to make it clear that this isn't required and you can use the field as you think is best to convey the information you want people to have about this stuff.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:38 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]


Yep, "either, both, or neither" easily reads as "you can represent yourself as either gender, both genders, or neither" rather than "you can enter either gender or pronouns, both gender and pronouns, or neither gender nor pronouns". I'd also recommend tweaking that. My recommendation (as a person who doesn't fit very well into the gender spectrum) would be keeping the "this is freeform, go nuts" language from before.
posted by capricorn at 12:39 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]


(Or, what LobsterMitten said. Nice timing!)
posted by capricorn at 12:40 PM on May 15


Sometimes we just have to overthink something long enough that we manage to get back where we started.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:42 PM on May 15 [17 favorites]


Can we go nuts?

As ever.


Tally-ho!
posted by Wordshore at 12:42 PM on May 15


Yep, thanks, AFABulous. That's what I try to do, too, but I like to be lazy and making more work for cortex so I can click fewer times and make MeFi more like FB (*flinch*) is an occasional fun pass time for me.

My only complaint is the wrapping on the final profile page because the "Gender and/or Pronouns" is now so much longer, and the contents can now be longer, so it wraps funkily (Modern Dark FTW) and I'd prefer such a long label be on one line and the content on the next line, please. *puppy eyes*
posted by jillithd at 12:43 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've tweaked it back now because of what capricorn said as well as LobsterMitten pointing out that I just ruined any 'go nuts' jokes still kicking around.
posted by frimble (staff) at 12:43 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Oh, nice! So glad you did this. Thank you, Team Mod.
posted by zarq at 12:52 PM on May 15


BTW here's a list of genders and gender-related terms (Google doc). Looks pretty current to me except that including an asterisk after trans is falling out of favor.
posted by AFABulous at 1:00 PM on May 15 [9 favorites]


Grr. This is a positive thing, but it makes my stupid snarky answer to gender make no sense.

But this is good. I hope the "go nuts" directive doesn't interfere with people specifying how they want to portray themselves.

To be clear, I think it is fine to be ambiguous, but how many times have we been like "Holy shit [widely known Mefi username] is a [unexpected gender identifier]?!" In cases where that matters to someone, they should have the option to be addressed with preferred pronouns if they have them. In cases where it is really uncertain, I have been trying hard to go with they/them but I often fail.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:01 PM on May 15


jillithd, singular "they" works on just about everyone and is grammatically correct.
posted by aniola at 1:04 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Grr. This is a positive thing, but it makes my stupid snarky answer to gender make no sense.

This was my first thought as well. Now I must come up with a new one.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:34 PM on May 15


Would I click on a username for a person I'm going to reply to/mention and refer to their pronouns there?

Maybe it's more difficult on mobile - but taking ten seconds to check a person's profile isn't that onerous, especially since having to refer to another mefite with a third person pronoun (rather than in the second person, or by name) doesn't come up too often.

And even if this hadn't been changed, I would probably be checking anyway so I could use the pronoun that matched stated gender. Or just using "they."

(I am all for "they," although in some situations I feel like using gendered pronouns increases obvious representation. E.g. I personally don't have any strong feelings about being accidentally called "he", but I'll correct the assumption if I'm on a math or science forum. I wouldn't correct a "they," but "she" is nice in that situation.)
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:48 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Hi, I have a "trans 101" level question if someone is willing to answer it for me. I am a cis man. I would like to normalize singular they/them in English. Is it appropriate and inoffensive for me to write "he/they" in this field on my profile?
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 1:59 PM on May 15 [6 favorites]


I feel like I've seen profiles that basically say "singular 'they' ftw!", which might fit the bill.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:03 PM on May 15


Thank you. You have made metafilter better.
posted by stet at 2:39 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Heh, I like how I don't have to change a thing. 🍕 still works perfectly well with this 🐴 .
posted by limeonaire at 2:39 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


I am a cis man. I would like to normalize singular they/them in English. Is it appropriate and inoffensive for me to write "he/they" in this field on my profile?

For me it seems weird and appropriative, but other trans people are likely to disagree. I mean, I wouldn't dox you and shoot your dog but it would raise an eyebrow. I would definitely assume you were trans if I saw that, so if you also said you were cis it would just rub me the wrong way.
posted by AFABulous at 2:41 PM on May 15 [7 favorites]


Thanks AFABulous for your response. "[W]eird and appropriative" sure isn't my goal here, so I'll keep it off my profile
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 2:46 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Good on yinz. Now can we do something about the biggest and most glaring flaw among English pronouns? That you plural and you singular are the exact same fucking word. Talk about a lack of inclusivity...
posted by Stanczyk at 4:59 PM on May 15


Looks pretty current to me except that including an asterisk after trans is falling out of favor.

If I wasn't already ancient in trans terms, I am now. Because it does seem like we've reached consensus on "no asterisk", at least for now. So I've seen the damn thing appear and then disappear.
posted by hoyland at 5:03 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Granted, this may be just me, but rather than normalize the singular they/them, I would much prefer to see new pronouns for this purpose. I don't have enough years left on this earth to become comfortable with the phrase "they is".
posted by she's not there at 5:04 PM on May 15


I don't have enough years left on this earth to become comfortable with the phrase "they is".

You don't have to! It's "they are", just like we say "you are" not "you is".
posted by hoyland at 5:05 PM on May 15 [36 favorites]


I don't have enough years left on this earth to become comfortable with the phrase "they is".

Embrace singular "are"! Linguistic adaptations: they're great!
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:06 PM on May 15 [12 favorites]


the biggest and most glaring flaw among English pronouns? That you plural and you singular are the exact same fucking word

I don't know where y'all are from.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:06 PM on May 15 [32 favorites]


We already did the new pronouns thing, by the way. Cis people pitched a fit (despite many them having been invented by cis people).
posted by hoyland at 5:06 PM on May 15 [10 favorites]


Also, because I clearly need to comment a few more times, a request for cis people who may be revisiting their genders: please don't feel the need to specify that you're cis to signal acceptance of trans people or whatever. It has the unintended consequence of implying that trans people ought to specify that they're trans.
posted by hoyland at 5:12 PM on May 15 [16 favorites]


My 13yo daughter was recently dating a gender neutral kid who prefers they. The problem we had with it was they were together all the time, and we had clarity issues over when we meant both of them or when we just meant just her theyfriend. "They're at the movies" could mean two different things, so we began to conjugate the verb in the plural only when we were referring to them together. "They is at the movies" told me where to drop off my daughter to meet her theyfriend, and "They are at the movies" meant I shouldn't leave the theater when picking them up without two kids.
posted by Stanczyk at 5:16 PM on May 15 [10 favorites]


Pronouns are weird. They're supposed to make referring to people and things simpler, but because our language splits them by gender, it makes gender expression way more important than it ought to be. Other languages split up pronouns differently. If you don't have some kind of categories, you may as well not bother with pronouns at all. In the future maybe everyone will have a shortname of choice broadcast over their head on the augmented-vision net, and pronouns will be illegal.
posted by rikschell at 5:35 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


I can't believe we've gotten this far in a thread without having to define "cis"!
posted by AFABulous at 7:10 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


You don't have to! It's "they are", just like we say "you are" not "you is".

Well, I'll be. That was easier than I expected—I'm on board.
posted by she's not there at 7:26 PM on May 15 [8 favorites]


I can't believe we've gotten this far in a thread without having to define "cis"!

The Google Doc you linked upthread may have helped!

Seriously, that's an awesome doc. Thanks very much for linking to it.
posted by zarq at 8:16 PM on May 15


This seems like one of those small things that will make life measurably nicer for quite a few people.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:29 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Linguistic adaptations: they're great!

With considerable due respect, Cortex, it's talk like this that got us "irregardless"—and don't even get me started on the practice of turning nouns into verbs and adjectives, e.g., the things done with the word "impact" are just disgraceful.
posted by she's not there at 8:44 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


AFABulous: "I can't believe we've gotten this far in a thread without having to define "cis"!"

The organization for former Soviet republics?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:23 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: singular "are"! Linguistic
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:42 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Random language nerdery: The pronoun "you" is in fact the plural second person pronoun, and superseded "thou" for singular use as well because it was considered more polite. So if anyone's complaining about a singular 'they' you can point out that you are just making the English language more consistent.
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:53 PM on May 15 [13 favorites]


Granted, this may be just me, but rather than normalize the singular they/them, I would much prefer to see new pronouns for this purpose. I don't have enough years left on this earth to become comfortable with the phrase "they is".

If it helps, think of "singular they" as semantically singular but grammatically plural. Not unlike the "royal we."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:47 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


rather than normalize the singular they/them, I would much prefer to see new pronouns for this purpose

I think a lot of people feel this way but the science of the way people adapt to "function words" (such as pronouns, words that get their meaning from the words around them and don't have intrinsic meaning) has indicated that singular they is significantly easier for most people to adapt to than a new pronoun. I know it doesn't feel that way for everyone and it's an adjustment, but as far as difficulty making language changes, singular they is preferable to new pronouns just from an uptake standpoint.

I did my college thesis project on singular they in the past century and I could not be happier about the way people are (finally!) coming around to understanding that things like "generic" he, really aren't. The science has been there for a while but thee practice has taken a long time to catch up.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:30 AM on May 16 [24 favorites]


grrr, this messed up my 'gender: is a lie'. I had to go fix it.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:08 AM on May 16


"jillthd, I often go to people's profile pages when I am unclear on their gender, so I can reference them correctly in a comment, e.g. "bondcliff said blah but he is wrong because xyz""

I usually give my laziness a patina of the high-minded attempt to normalize the singular "they."
posted by klangklangston at 11:13 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


thee practice has taken a long time to catch up

Thou art correct in thine assertion, jessamyn. I wish to subscribe to thy newsletter and practice "thee" with thee.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:34 AM on May 16 [6 favorites]


"they" being appropriative is kind of the point. One pronoun for everyone.

It also reduces irrelevant uses of gendered language from everyday conversation, which is good for everyone.
posted by schmod at 12:04 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


You need a better example; I am never wrong.

Err, bondcliff, at risk of exposing myself to Muphry's law, that needs a colon, not a semi-colon.
posted by ambrosen at 12:19 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


It's not wrong if I did it on purpose.
posted by bondcliff at 12:35 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Nah, a semi-colon is perfectly grammatically correct there. Comes down to a purely stylistic choice.
posted by holborne at 12:38 PM on May 16 [5 favorites]


Thanks; this is a good change.
posted by wintersweet at 12:42 PM on May 16


Thanks—regardless of what thinks about how language adapts and changes, it will—and this is a welcome, inclusive change.
posted by anem0ne at 1:05 PM on May 16


Can we move on to deciding whether it's "You'ins" or "Ya'll?"
posted by mule98J at 1:23 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


yins
posted by bondcliff at 1:28 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Can we go nuts?

deez
posted by entropicamericana at 1:29 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


It's not "ya'll" because that makes no sense. It's a contraction of "you" and "all." Not "ya" and "ll."
posted by AFABulous at 1:52 PM on May 16 [8 favorites]


And it's PLURAL, god dammit.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:06 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Can we move on to deciding whether it's "You'ins" or "Ya'll?"

It's "youse'ns", so it is.
posted by billiebee at 2:29 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Whatever happened to good old "youse"?
posted by scratch at 2:43 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Oh, and "your guyses" (collective), which was perfectly acceptable in a business setting where I worked once.
posted by scratch at 2:45 PM on May 16


I recall writing a paper a long time ago on the variations and usages of "y'all", "all y'all", "youse", and "youse guys". College is fun.
posted by Errant at 3:58 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


"All y'all" is a fantastic pronoun and one that I wish more people understood.
posted by KathrynT at 8:43 PM on May 16 [13 favorites]


Fighting a losing battle in Pittsburgh on this, but it's y'uns, not yinz.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:53 PM on May 16


It depends where you are from for y'uns / yinz. There are definitely different pronunciations of it regionally.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:55 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Thinking one should use "they" as the all-purpose generic singular third-person pronoun is not the same as wanting to personally be referred to as "they" when being referred to in particular. Advocating for the former by doing the latter stands to confuse matters about people who do use "they" as their everyday only pronoun, I think.
posted by lazuli at 9:47 PM on May 16 [7 favorites]


Also I like this and I've been meaning to add my pronouns to my work email signature, too, and this helps push me to do that, too. Thanks!
posted by lazuli at 9:49 PM on May 16 [4 favorites]


Ooo. My pony came to fruition. What a lovely surprise! Thanks, y'all!
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:21 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]




Taz, you got it: that is EXACTLY how I'm feeling now.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:40 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


I did have "they or he, if relevant" because I wanted to encourage singular they and the notion that my sex and/or gender are generally not important to the conversation.
I've reverted that to simply "He", because I hadn't considered that it might be appropriative.

I also had the preface "CWBM", and again have removed that, because as noted above identifying as explicitly cis suggests that trans folk need to identify themselves.

So...
What would be the best approach to suggest that I am fortunate enough to not care very much how you gender me, to also suggest that in most conversations my gender shouldn't matter, and also also to add the data there for when it is relevant.
Am I trying to encode too much into one small field?
Shall I just shut up, and leave it as "He"?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:11 AM on May 17


What would be the best approach to suggest that I am fortunate enough to not care very much how you gender me, to also suggest that in most conversations my gender shouldn't matter, and also also to add the data there for when it is relevant.

I do it by not flipping out if someone misgenders me but also avoiding any suggestion that pronouns, my own or others', don't matter, because they matter a great deal to many many many vulnerable people, who have fought and continue to fight really hard for people not to misgender them, and my allyship shouldn't make life harder for them.
posted by lazuli at 7:21 AM on May 17 [7 favorites]


What does "CWBM" mean? cis white black male? Canadian Wildlife Biology and Management? I can't figure it out.

If your pronouns truly don't matter, I guess put "any," but I have a hard time believing you're okay with the logistical confusion of people calling you she, assuming you present in a masculine fashion.

Pronouns are a very weird way to show allyship IMHO. It's like the lowest effort possible. I can give you a dozen much more effective ways that trans people would be much happier about. Hell, if you don't want to make any effort but want to make a slightly bigger difference, put "I support trans rights" in all your social media profiles.
posted by AFABulous at 10:23 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


"they" being appropriative is kind of the point. One pronoun for everyone.
It also reduces irrelevant uses of gendered language from everyday conversation, which is good for everyone.
posted by schmod at 3:04 PM on May 16 [1 favorite +] [!]


Please do not start using "they" pronouns for people unless they specifically want you to, especially for trans folk. You will definitely come across as saying they aren't "woman enough" if you start referring to trans women as "they".
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:50 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


"What does "CWBM" mean? cis white black male? Canadian Wildlife Biology and Management? I can't figure it out."

Cis white bisexual male, if I had to guess.
posted by klangklangston at 12:28 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Cis White British Male, I guess. (White British is an ethnicity category in the UK, for those with no other European ancestry.)
posted by ambrosen at 1:32 PM on May 17


A year ago, we brought home a kitten. The best of kittens! We brought home the best kitten in the whole wide world. And we realized that we had no way of knowing their gender, if cats even have genders. It's not like we can ask them for their pronoun. After much consideration, we decided to use they pronouns for them. As we have no close friends who use they pronouns, this gave us the opportunity to learn to use they pronouns correctly. It also gave our friends and housemates the opportunity to learn about and practice using they pronouns in a low-consequence environment. (Call me naive, but I was surprised at the amount of pushback we got.)

Recently - after someone had used the wrong pronouns with them - I thought of all sorts of gendered expectations that I didn't have for them because we chose to use they pronouns. Instead of gendered preconceptions, my expectations were based on actual observations of the cat. It may seem obvious, but I didn't have the gendered expectations because I hadn't been using gendered language. It was a lightbulb moment for me.

My gender matches the sex assigned at birth, and I've got she/her/they/them on my profile, not just in acknowledgement of singular they for people one doesn't know, but also because of expectations associated with gender. (I just went looking for an example of gendered expectations on the front page and it didn't take long to find one.)

I'm aware that there is diversity of opinion on this topic (including but not limited to AFAbulous's commentary), but here are some thoughts on they pronouns from other people that I found helpful: Are gender-neutral pronouns only for transgender and gender nonconforming people? and Why would someone use a gender-neutral pronoun? and Being unaware of privilege: “Am I not allowed to experiment with pronouns?” and UNPOPULAR OPINION: We Should Have More Pronouns.

(From what I hear, "preferred pronoun" is falling/has fallen out of favor. Also, I understand that gender doesn't necessarily imply pronouns and vice versa so if you're just listing one in your profile I will be doing my best not to make assumptions about the other.)
posted by aniola at 3:22 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


Well, my boss had a baby today and fucking EVERYONE agreed that it was a "good, strong" name. Wanna guess the gender?

Thank you for doing this little more push to include folks. It matters.

(I normally spicey so sorry for talking out loud)
posted by metasav at 7:11 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]




Ok alla y'all, i changed from "wheeled" to "das wheeled"
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:23 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the feedback.
Aniola's links are especially good!

and, yes CWBM means (I think) cis white bi male. But I didn't actually remember what it meant at first.
So definitely worth deleting.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:29 AM on May 18


if someone tells you their pronouns, please don't apologize in advance because you know you'll eventually mess up pronouns but you promise it doesn't reflect any deeper feelings about my gender. the "i will fuck it up" speech is not as consoling as some people would like to think

when people do this, i'll laugh and reassure them but i'm secretly wishing for laser eyes so i can blast their coddled cis brain to another plane of existence
posted by yaymukund at 4:19 AM on May 18 [9 favorites]


I imagine those same people at work. "Oh, I know you asked me to file the TPS reports but sometimes I'll just forget, haha! Please don't be mad, boss! I just can't remember everything, it's too haaaaard."
posted by AFABulous at 2:02 PM on May 18 [8 favorites]


the "i will fuck it up" speech is not as consoling as some people would like to think

I imagine those same people at work. "Oh, I know you asked me to file the TPS reports but sometimes I'll just forget, haha! Please don't be mad, boss! I just can't remember everything, it's too haaaaard."


This is an accurate description of my experience with changing the name and pronouns I use at work.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 2:50 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Also, on a pseudonymous site like Metafilter, I don't think it's appropriative to put gender-neutral pronouns in your profile even if you do not use them IRL - especially if you are doing it if you want your "metafilter identity" to be somewhat gender-neutral. There are caveats about poking fun and "attack helicopter" that I could list but I would rather assume that people who have read this far into this thread are operating in good faith.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 3:10 PM on May 18 [7 favorites]


Also, on a pseudonymous site like Metafilter, I don't think it's appropriative to put gender-neutral pronouns in your profile even if you do not use them IRL - especially if you are doing it if you want your "metafilter identity" to be somewhat gender-neutral.

I think it's different if your motivation is "I don't want my pseudonymous identity to have a gendered pronoun" than if your motivation is "I am demonstrating how progressive and accepting I am". That sort of thought is almost always a sign one should reconsider.
posted by hoyland at 4:11 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


It's kind of like when cis people say "Oh, I don't have a pronoun preference". They probably do, but no one's ever asked them and so they say "I don't care", comfortable in their (probably subconscious) understanding that no one will ever fail to use their preferred pronoun, let alone be a jerk about it. That's what makes it feel appropriative. It's not actually going to create space for other people. It is a little different if you're solidly a pseudonym, rather than in person, but I feel like that dynamic is still there.
posted by hoyland at 4:15 PM on May 18 [6 favorites]


Thank you for this. This is a great idea and makes this community more inclusive.
posted by daybeforetheday at 11:09 PM on May 19


I've asked my cat several times about it's preferred pronouns and all I get is an emphatic "Meow". It's possible the question is not being understood as its sexual orientation is also "meow". I prefer to think that cats have moved beyond gender constructs in favor of more important questions of identity like "Should I take a nap?" and "Is there anything more to life than napping?"
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:34 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]


This kind of joking about pets' gender is trivializing and annoying, and most often appears in the form of transphobes being dismissive and mocking about gender awareness.

To quote Parker Molloy, no one talks like that this side of Tumblr. And especially not about statues or pets or inanimate objects.

If you're somebody who's never spent time pondering whether and how you fit into the dominant and overwhelming societal understanding of gender, that's really nice for you. Maybe don't try to be funny at the expense of people who have and do spend time pondering it and who are probably already living with the knowledge that many people consider them and their gender to be jokes.
posted by Lexica at 6:55 PM on May 20 [12 favorites]


To be clear, I do a lot of work with the trans community* (I'm not hard to Google) and of course I anticipated no offense, so I apologize to you directly Lexica for making you uncomfortable.

Also, my cat takes a shit ton of naps. I think there might a thyroid problem.

*hormone management and giving lectures to other clinicians about trans health
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:10 PM on May 21


I'm irritated, not uncomfortable. And your credentials relating to trans health matters are irrelevant to whether your joke about your cat's gender trivializes real people's gender issues.
posted by Lexica at 9:43 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


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