In a recent thought that I published, I used the very non-gender-neutral words 'he' and 'his':
A man can lose everything, but if he still has his soul, his heart, his mind, and a quiet place of solitude in which to reflect on all three, he will have everything he needs to regain what he has lost.
In response to this thought, my friend Kit wrote the following:
"This gets to the heart of what’s important in life. Really like it. I find myself disappointed with the English language though. There seems to be no way to write this in a gender-inclusive way without it sounding awkward."
Kit's comment got me thinking about gender equality in writing and language.
I often make an effort to remove things like 'he' and 'his' from my writing so that it can be applicable to both genders. For some reason, in this particular case, the thought of making such an effort hadn't even occurred to me before publishing the writing. But why not?
It hadn't occurred to me because I was writing and publishing the thought straight from my heart, straight from the perspective of a man, as unedited and unfiltered as possible. It felt right to publish it using 'he' and 'his' because I was thinking, writing, and sharing from my perspective. It was something that was coming from me, not from some gender-neutral entity.
Yes, I am a man. My thoughts are coming from a brain situated inside a male body. Why should I discard that fact? Why should I throw away so much information about the very perspective that helped generate the thoughts that I'm sharing? Why should I be afraid to be me? So that I can be politically correct?
I am a man and that is politically correct enough.
Yes, there are probably occasions where writing in a gender-neutral tone makes sense, but if you're sharing something personal, if you're sharing something that came from your heart, don't be afraid to be yourself. You are who you are and that is politically correct enough.