When political correctness goes too far: Oxford University’s drive to abolish ‘she’ and ‘he’
Amrit Dhillon/India (Pahichan) December 20 – The Stalinist thought police are at it again, tyrannising us with their edicts. Not even Oxford University, alas, has stood up to their decrees. It has banned the pronouns he and she in favour of ‘ze’ because use of the incorrect pronoun might offend transgender students.
The order is part of the latest student guidelines. It is already an offence under Oxford’s code of behaviour to use, even accidentally, the wrong pronoun for a transgender person. Transgender students are demanding a ban on he and she in lectures too.
The correct response from Oxford should have been ‘bog off’. For some weird reason – perhaps because political correctness has already infiltrated gender, race, religion and gays, leaving only transgender people – transgender sensitivities have come to dominate public discourse. These days, everything is about this LGBT demand or that LGBT demand.
It’s time this pandering stopped. No one, apart from a few fogies, minded when gays appropriated the word ‘gay’. Who could be so churlish over losing one word in the language to a community that numbers millions? No one, except troglodytes, minded when feminists proffered ‘Ms’ instead of Miss or Mrs because the reasons were of profound importance for half the world.
Gay was just one word. It cost no effort to ditch its earlier meaning. A title like ‘Ms’ is only used occasionally. But to ban pronouns, that you use in every other sentence? If transgenders (who constitute an infinitesimal fraction of the population) are uncertain about their precise sexual orientation, why should that confusion disturb the language of the majority? Among themselves, such rules are fine. The problem is when you impose them on everyone.
At the very least, Oxford should have said ‘deal with it’. If transgender students happen to be addressed by the wrong pronoun, let them deal with this little mosquito bite of an irritant, the way we all deal with difficulties.
It’s one thing to demand, rightly, an end to discrimination but another to foist your every foible or wish onto others. Such demands militate against free speech and the expression of divergent views at the very places – universities – where ideas are meant to be freely exchanged.
The thought police tried to prevent Germaine Greer from speaking at Cardiff University last year after saying that there was a lot more to being a woman than having a penis surgically removed, a ‘transphobic’ observation for which she had to be silenced.
The culture in American and British universities of molly coddling everyone, tip-toeing around their sensitivities, and protecting them against the slightest offence has gone insane. Its most ludicrous manifestation is ‘safe spaces’. Earlier this used to mean a place where students could seek refuge from sexist or racist behaviour. But it has evolved into a place where they go bolt if they hear an upsetting comment or gesture.
Last April, a female student at Edinburgh University who waved her arms in exasperation over a claim made by another speaker inside a ‘safe space’ was almost expelled by the students union.
At Brown University, the safe space for women apparently looks like a nursery, with cookies, colouring books, bubbles, calming music, and a video of frolicking puppies.
The latest piece of political correctness is ‘trigger alarms’. Lecturers are meant to warn female students beforehand that they might use certain words lest these ‘trigger’ distress. The word ‘violate’ is one such word. Coddling young women in this way is a stupid thing to do when the world is a dangerous place. The sooner they learn to deal with it, the better, for the world will never be totally safe for anyone.
Moreover, feminism is about empowering women, not infantilising them. It is about giving them more freedom, not locking them in the nursery. What a sad, sad trajectory we are witnessing, from the sublime – those magnificent and strong suffragettes who braved jail and force-feeding – to the ridiculous, whiny, wimpy, effete people today who demand protection against the slightest whiff of offence like the white, entitled and privileged bourgeoises they are while elsewhere, in Asia and Africa, women fight with spirit and determination for real rights rather than frivolous indulgences.
Surely, if transgender persons are strong-minded enough to challenge society’s sexual categories, they can handle a wrong pronoun? Can’t they … dare i say it … here goes … man up?
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