Tuesday, June 8, 2010

on gendered pronouns

I've been grading student exam essays. In a few questions I make them discuss the likely positions that would be taken by various people on particular subjects - people such as scientists, economists, etc.

Some of the students have been using feminine pronouns when discussing the scientist's point of view, in theory because I'm their professor. They do this even when all the other pronouns are masculine. So, hooray for providing some sort of role modeling, I guess.

I'm saddened by those few essays where, even when every other hypothetical figure has a feminine pronoun (generally these are essays written by females), the scientist persona is MALE. The economist is a she. The member of the general public is a she. But the scientist is a guy. Makes me want to go back in time and end this course with a completely off-topic discussion of gender roles in the sciences.

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