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Marivonne Rodriguez N052FG at TAMVM1.TAMU.EDU
Mon Jan 25 16:51:28 EST 1993

(Re: Kate McCain post gender-free prose...)

There was a  possibly rhetorical  question in your post as to where does one
draw the line between gender-free writing and correctly crafted prose, with
song lyrics used as an example to make this point. I feel it would be incorrect
to the point of being unethical (IMHO) to tamper with literature. Any authors
(sorry, cannot do apostrophes or quotes from this keyboard) original intent
should be preserved as such, I feel. But because sexist writing *exists* does
not mean it should *persist*. And certainly in everyday jargon can we begin to
make a point of eliminating such precedent by taking advantage of the fact that
even if a phrase may be unacceptably awkward to the novelist, the poet, or
anyone else primarily concerned with crafted prose, it need not be excluded
from everyday language, where such strict, rigid  literary rules are not known
to apply. (I dont know, is email crafted prose or everyday jargon? ;) ) And as
far as *scientific* literature, it will be a sad day when it begins to accomoda
te an authors poetical aspirations over its duty, first and foremost, to educat
ion and accuracy,    even if the latter is met at the expense of a slash (/) or
two or three.... There are much worse impediments to fluid reading (such as
paragraph-long sentences) which are quite commonplace in the scientific
literature. All the authors that get away with that, as you all know!! Crafted
prose must not be high in the list of primary goals for many journal editors.
I wonder why.

Another point in your post was that flames wont change things. Now, you need to
give me a definition of what flames means in your context. I have always taken
flames to mean a strong and boisterous reaction to something. And so in that
context I ask, if flames wont change things, what will? Remaining quiescent and
without taking a stand? MLK must be rolling in his grave! Try telling that to
Gloria Steinem and all the other leaders of the feminist movement... Why, women
might still be a non-voting segment of the population were it not for leaders
who said: Wait a minute, I have something to say about that!! So what do you
mean by *flames*? If you mean pinpointing at any one given person in particular
(is THAAAAAT what you mean? ;) ) then I guess I should have controlled myself,
but didnt. I guess thats what happens when they *push your buttons*, if you
will. I know I have a few buttons that cause eruptions of volcanic magnitudes
when tampered with, and sexism, in any form, shape or size, happens to be the
red one for me. This is why I simply cannot lighten up, as you diplomatically
(and that with reason, I suppose) suggest, when equality is referred to as

This past week I ran across a book review in a Science issue by my former
statistics professor, in which he made use of a phrase that I found quite
interesting. When suggesting that the book being reviewed be given by advisors
to their new graduate students, he suggests to put the book in *her or his*
hands and say: read this. We could be on to something, here!!! ;)

Disclaimer: My torch was not lit at any point during this post, honest!

Marivonne Rodriguez

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