Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Why I'm a guy.

This is another blog about my blog.

In my post today, I referred to myself as the marketing guy, which is something I do fairly frequently. Quite obviously, I'm not male, and I'm also quite painfully straight. So you might be wondering why I think I am a guy.

It's because "gal" sounds stupid. Lady is worse, and woman does not sound friendly.

It also is a reference to myself as the "marketing guy" as opposed to all the other functionality guys in my company/industry/peer group. As it would happen, all the other people in my company who are in charge of a business function are male. That is, I'm not the marketing gal vis-a-vis the marketing guy. I am the marketing guy, vis-a-vis the R&D guy, the finance guy, the professional services guy, etc. As it would happen, my online peer group is mostly made up of guys. I keep saying "as it would happen" to be nice, but we know it isn't nice and it isn't just "as it would happen." We won't cover gender issues in this blog, except in this posting. So let's just say it's a guy's world, and most of my peer communities are predominantly male.

The final reason why I refer to myself as a guy, or use the male generic pronouns, is just linguistic convenience. Even 10 years on, when I see someone say "she" to refer to the generic person, in order to be egalitarian, it's a distraction. It's like using a font other than Times New Roman because it's ergonomically more legible. Nothing is more legible than TNR for the simple reason that I have been reading TNR for more than 3 decades and nothing is more convenient than saying "him" when referring to a generic body, because I've been doing that for even longer.

I'm a language person, and I do believe that language forms our ideas and our culture, but in this particular area, I'm sticking with a male frame of reference. When my frame of reference changes, only then will I change my language. Or when someone comes up with a commonly-used better female version of "guy".

1 comment:

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