Woman Raises Her Cat As Gender-Neutral
The Debrief: But what sounds like another lol-worthy cat story actually sheds light on a broad debate around gender
Lauren R. Taylor wrote to the Washington Post stating that after mistakenly calling her two female cats 'boys' she decided to 'continue using gender-neutral language for the humans in my life'.
She wrote that 'Whoops! I had called them boys, when in fact they were girls. An understandable mistake, as I’ve had cats for about 50 years, and all of them have been male. Adding that 'I’m going to have to work on using the right pronouns' until concluding 'Why? They’re cats.'
Her reasoning is valid; why should we impose these gender pronouns onto a cat that has no concept of its gender? Moreover her statement that 'people are coming to understand that 'not all of us fit into the "girl" box or the "boy" box' is a valid, if simplified, sentiment that links to a much larger issue. Gender isn't a fixed concept, and therefore our use of gendered pronouns could offend people- finding solutions to this issue is an ongoing and important matter. Lauren continued saying that 'The cats’ lives wouldn’t change' and 'it would help me learn to use plural pronouns for my friends, neighbours and colleagues who individually go by they, their and them'.
Lauren's concluded 'my way of respecting it just happens to be raising my cats gender neutral. You can choose your own'.
From the surface this looks like a funny story about an eccentric cat lover, but actually her argument sheds light on a broader debate. It's 2016 and the conversation around gender has moved on a lot in the last few years - and maybe the way we address each other needs to reflect this.
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At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating