Inclusive Language

I have a freelance business (and a day job) in which I write back of the book indexes. This isn’t a shameless plug for my business – and I doubt seriously that prospective authors and publishes will stumble across this blog anyway 🙂

 Currently I am working on an index for textbook on international political theory, and have noted something rather odd about the gender articles being used.

Some time ago political correctness hit the scene, and it was said to be a bad thing to use “him” or “his” or “man” or the like because it left women out. I always thought that was silly, but this isn’t about my perspective of PC language. It is about a change that seems to have happened – at least in this small part of academia from which this text hails.

While, apparently, it is bad to use the term “him” or “his”, it seems to be a good thing to go the oppposite way. For example:

 “. . . by stressing that an enlightened human being was capable of recognizing her own best interests and pursuing those interests. . .”

I’ve seen this elsewhere in the text – am I the only one that finds this an odd choice of terms? I guess that only women are capable of being enlightened human beings, eh?


The text is actually interesting, but every time I read a sentence constructed like this it trips me up.

 Ok, back to work.


3 thoughts on “Inclusive Language

  1. Kyrie says:


    I agree with you on that one…*sigh*…political correctness.

    I was rummaging around the net looking at things tonight, and came across your blog – and it’s wonderful to find it 🙂 I’m not Orthodox – yet, I’ll label myself an inquirer for now since I’ve still got so much to learn! But I cross stitch as well, and it was awesome to find your blog which has bits and pieces of both. I attended my first Divine Liturgy this morning (half in Arabic, which I don’t speak, but I didn’t mind) and the journey is definately interesting.

    Just thought I’d say hi!


  2. Mimi says:

    It seems to me you can be gender neutral without favoring either gender. Sigh.

  3. Catherine K. says:


    Welcome! I rarely cross-stitch, and sometimes I hardly post at all, but you are quite welcome here 🙂


    The interesting part is that EVERY place in this text where the author is forced to use a term related to gender, it is “always” female. If you didn’t know better you wouldn’t think there was a male scientist of any kind, ever.

    We can’t leave gender out of it – let’s face it – to be human is to either be a man or woman. St. John Chrys. – he of the Divine Litury – even discussed this in a homily lo those many years ago (if I find it I will mention it). If someone has a problem with it then switch between using masculine and feminine pronouns. . .

    Anyway, the text is quite interesting. It just makes me glad that I am no longer in academia full time 🙂

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