The Personal Pronouns Quagmire
I find this an odd topic to contemplate on a personal level. I can read articles from people who are very aware of their preferred pronouns and I’ve come to understand why this is an important issue to them. Having said that, as the combined entity of him and her I am starting to have a strange relationship with pronouns.
I would have said that I don’t really care about them. Then on second thoughts I realise that I do in different ways depending on the situation. It’s a personal thing and personal things always seem to have complications.
Taking the most negative potential usage first. If in my professional life, or with family I found myself addressed with anything other than male pronouns, something has gone seriously wrong. Yes, there are odd feminine hints but they are largely ambiguous and in these environments, if they are noticed at all they are regarded as an eccentricity within the male sphere. Right now I’d be mortified if these signals got crossed. The main concern would be my father. He can’t have too many years left in him and I’d rather not shorten those years with an attack of terminal apoplexy.
Outside of that space it is largely melody who is to the fore and she projects an increasingly substantial and confident female personality. Since this blog is about melody, readers are most likely to generally think of me in terms of female pronouns and I’m happy to engage in dialogue under that premise. Similarly with Twitter. If some people don’t see enough female and prefer to use male pronouns, I’m rarely going to be worked up enough to make an issue of it.
The really interesting case is when I interact with the few people who know melody as a physical person. I’ve never insisted on pronouns and yet I get quite an intense satisfaction when they use female pronouns in reference to the melody in front of them. When physically with these people the persona generally on display is the amalgam that is “us”, the mingled male and female. I’m aware that sometimes the signals given off can change between one and the other. I’ve made it clear that people can respond to the gender they perceive at the time with whatever pronouns they deem in context. Yet for some considerable time these people have consistently used female pronouns. Even if I think I’m giving off male signals, I don’t find it wrong or condescending to be addressed as female, I enjoy it as a sign that at times melody can be more visible than I realise.
Paradoxically, thinking about the alternate case in such a situation, if I felt that the signals were strongly from melody I’d be vaguely annoyed if male pronouns were used – yeah, inconsistent, but this isn’t subject to logical consistency.
Generally I have no preference or insistence on pronouns though interestingly enough with online shopping sites, if they are for melody I’ve taken to using ‘Mx’ with the male name, even for deliveries coming to the office.
I am detecting a slow progression in my view on pronoun usage. This shift seems to track the emotional episodes that punctuate melody’s development.
The one time so far that I did find the use of pronouns ludicrously important was during melody’s strongest ever emotional episode. BibulousOne had asked me to write the first of my guest articles for his blog, in the emotional state melody was in she insisted on claiming female pronouns in the short intro he wrote. He was exceedingly gracious about it.
I think that the quagmire of pronouns will become more important as melody moves forward. That point when she’s bold enough to meet strangers as melody, validation of who she is by use of unprompted female pronouns or the confidence crushing use of male pronouns.
I thought I was going to say that I don’t care about pronouns. That’s probably true historically, it doesn’t appear to be true any longer. The fact is that I think they will become of increasing importance in the future.