Posted: Oct 02, 2014 2:41 pm
by babel
1. Language's purpose is to convey as much information as possible. This is untrue. Language's purpose is to provide as much control as possible over information output. If one wishes to conceal information, language should provide mechanisms for successful concealing of information or outright deception. A gay person who has not yet come out to their parents may wish to conceal their partner's gender from their parents in order to avoid revealing the same-sex status of their relationship, yet referring to their partner without using gendered pronouns would act as an immediate red-flag to the gay person's parents. But if we as a society used gender-neutral pronouns by default, the issue of gender would likely never be raised, and the gay person could talk to their parents about their partner without revealing their partner's gender or appearing suspicious. This situation is only one example in which default use of gender-neutral pronouns would actually increase language's function as a tool for controlling information output.
This, to me, sounds like you are attempting to solve one problem by camouflage. The issue in this lies with the social prejudice vis a vis homosexuality. People shouldn't feel the need to conceal their partner's gender (especially for their parents)
The gender neutral pronouns won't change a thing about the reluctance in the closet gay people experience to come out. I would actually argue the opposite. Hiding it by omitting the gender of their partner tries to hide that 'unpleasant fact' from those holding bigoted opinions on such relationships.

With regards to your examples: I find them poorly chosen, since none of the female examples is positive, unlike for the male examples. I wonder where these associations occur.

BTW: skinny is associated with little dogs, especially around these parts. ;)