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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Gendered language and pro-choice

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Author Topic: Gendered language and pro-choice
astrocyte
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Member # 29128

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Hey everyone,

I recently saw this thread, where the OP had received a telling-off for using "male-bodied person" rather than "man" in a discussion about pregnancy - the objection was along the lines of "that's objectifying to men!".

I'm glad that question was resolved and that everyone agreed that the teller-offer was a massive bigot! I didn't want to take over that thread, but if anyone has time I would like some further suggestions/discussion around language to use when you're talking about things like pregnancy.

For some context, I'm part of a pro-choice activist group and we're creating some written materials to distribute. The thing being worked on right now is a pamphlet outlining the problems with this country's current abortion access and regulation. It's pretty brief. We are struggling a bit with using gender-inclusive language. particularly in something of this length.

We can all agree that we won't say stuff that is clearly alienating, like "men can't get pregnant". But when making general statements, sometimes it sounds really clumsy to replace "women" with "pregnant people" every single time. I'm working on other ways to do this, and I should get over it - I just wanna make sure that whatever we write is easily comprehensible. But others are a bit worried about making it so open that the systemic issues are erased, and I see their point. Like, this particular issue of reproductive freedom IS something that primarily affects women, and the crappy mainstream perception is that womens' bodies are bodies to be controlled, and this is not a coincidence.

Someone also raised the point that we shouldn't put out anything that could be construed as giving others the same rights as the person carrying a pregnancy - often couples say "we're pregnant! OMG!". It would totally suck if some pro-lifers interpreted phrases like "the pregnant person is in the best position to make choices about the outcome of the pregnancy and must have autonomy" to mean "the father counts as part of the pregnancy too and should have the same power to make decisions".

Anyways, ideas/critiques would be welcomed. I don't mean to present this like it is a zero-sum game. I'm quite sure it is possible to be both inclusive AND analytical. I'm just not sure how much to push either goal in a short-ish piece.

Posts: 79 | From: the southern hemisphere | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
astrocyte
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Member # 29128

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Woops. I think I broke the link to the thread I was talking about. This one, if you're interested:

http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/25/t/000444/p/1.html#000014

Posts: 79 | From: the southern hemisphere | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Moviegeek
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Interesting discussion!

Could you replace "women" with "females"? It's more specific, even though people who've gone through sex reassignment surgery would still be grouped under that. But it would exclude males who identify their genders as female.

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astrocyte
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Hmm - I'm not sure. I imagine that some trans men would probably resent being grouped under the category of "females" just as much as they would "women". And I'm not actually sure that "female" refers explicitly to sex characterstics/chromosomes and not gender, so I don't even know that it would exclude trans women. Ugh, maybe I should just say "people with uteruses"!
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Jill2000Plus
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quote:
Originally posted by rosegeranium:
Ugh, maybe I should just say "people with uteruses"!

That may be your best bet, at least until and unless they find a way that someone without a uterus can gestate a fetus inside their own body.

--------------------
Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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