Life Imitates Art: Enid Wexler & The Abolition of Gender Markers

Life reflects film...or perhaps it is film that reflects life. Whichever it is, the similarities give me a good chuckle. 

For example, in one of my favorite comedies, Legally Blonde, the Enid Wexler character makes an argument to Warner Huntington III at a BYOM party (Bring Your Own Merlot) regarding the 'the English language' and that it 'is all about subliminal domination.'  

Enid goes on to argue that the word semester is 'a perfect example of the school's discriminatory preference of semen to ovaries.' Her solution is to petition the school 'to have next term be referred to as the winter ovester.' Whether or not the argument is correct, it makes me laugh every time I hear it.

Well, today I got an even bigger laugh when I stumbled upon a blog that may very well have been created by Enid Wexler: The Campaign for the Abolition of Gender Markers. If you think 'ovester' is make believe, please visit the Campaign link to learn about the real-life application of gender neutral pronouns. In the fondly remembered words of my German grandfather: Aye yai yai!

Now, I am not knocking the information presented in the Campaign's blog, because it is interesting and something I never knew before as far as the etymology of Humanist and Spivak pronouns. I do not have to agree with something to learn from it and the wordsmith in me appreciates the creative ideas. However, I am relieved that this Campaign is only calling for the abolition of grammatical gender markers and not anatomical gender markers. That's a load off.

Imagine that for a hypothetical moment:
No anatomical gender markers!

If you are a female attracted to males, how would you know it's a male if they had no gender markers, such as an Adam's apple or a penis? 

And what if you are a male attracted to females; how would you know it's a female if they had no gender markers, such as curvacious hips or breasts?

The horror!

Even when it comes to the abolition of grammatical gender markers, how would a person describe an attacker to law enforcement? Would it be considered discriminatory or prejudicial to say an attacker had a penis or a beard, since those are markers associated with men?

What if a family member disappeared and needed medical attention; without grammatical gender markers to describe the person, how would people know who to look for? And what happens when they receive medical attention; would the medics not concern themselves with whether or not the person they are helping is male or female, when proper medical care often depends on knowing the gender of the individual receiving treatment?

Taking it a step further: If gender markers prejudicially box people in, then why have any words or markers that categorize individuals? If the word 'she' makes the statement 'She has blonde hair' prejudicial, then aren't the words 'blonde' and 'hair' equally prejudicial to people who are not blonde or people without hair? Is the word 'has' prejudicial to people who have nothing? Where does the line ultimately get drawn to stop this intrusion once the door of nonsense has been thrust open?

Aye yai yai!

I for one do not want to lose gender markers, whether they be grammatical or anatomical. I love gender markers...I want gender markers...I need gender markers...manly gender markers that indicate a man is a man. I, for one, love the smell of testosterone in the morning.

Likewise, there are men who love, want, and need womanly gender markers that indicate a woman is a woman. Granted, some men are more vociferous than others in expressing preferences for womanly gender markers, and while that can get stale I still prefer men do that than go to war by invading, attacking, and killing in the name of peace and liberation...but I digress.

The truly funny thing about the concept of abolishing gender markers is that it tends to be the gender markers themselves that play a driving force in what attract men and women to one another. In fact, that is one of the many joys that comes with being human -- having the ability to embrace gender markers, both grammatically and anatomically...but especially anatomically. Indeed!

To demonstrate the undeniable importance of gender markers, I present 13 song lyrics that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt why gender markers are needed:
Sexual attraction!

(How else will the species carry on??)

1. Legs by ZZ Top
She's got legs
She knows how to use them

2. Brickhouse by The Commodores
She's a brick house
The lady's stacked and that's a fact,
ain't holding nothing back.

3. Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot
When a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
And a round thing in your face
You get sprung

4. 36-24-36 by Violent Femmes
See a girl walkin' down the street,
just the kind of girl that I'd like to meet.
It ain't her hair, her clothes, her feet,
Somethin' much more discreet.

5. Itty Bitty Titties by David Alan Coe
If you want yourself a girl with a tight little kitty
you better find yourself a girl with itty bitty titties.

6. Shoop by Salt n Pepa
You're packed and you're stacked 'specially in the back
wanna thank your mother for a butt like that
Can I get some fries with that shake-shake boobie?
If looks could kill you would be an uzi
You're a shotgun - bang! What's up with that thang?
I wanna know how does it hang?

7. The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson
Hey pretty baby with the high heels on
You give me fever like I've never, ever known
You're just a product of loveliness
I like the groove of your walk,
Your talk, your dress

8. She's So High by Tal Bachman
She's blood, flesh and bone
No tucks or silicone
She's touch, smell, sight, taste and sound

9. Peach by Prince
Her hot pants can't hide her cheeks
She's a Peach

10. The Girl Got Hot by Weezer
What used to mean a little now means a lot
Oh my goodness me, the girl got hot

11. She's Got a Way by Billy Joel
She's got a smile that heals me
I don't know why it is
But I have to laugh when she reveals me

12. Candyman by Christina Aguilera
He had tattoos up and down his arm
There's nothing more dangerous than a boy with charm

13. I Can Make You a Man from Rocky Horror Picture Show
But a deltoid and a bicep, a hot groin and a tricep,
makes me, oooh, shake.

Thank you for thinking!

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