The Music in Noise

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Proper Names and Pronouns - 2017-11-08

I find that in recent years people have been taking what they consider to be their personal identity extremely seriously, perhaps too seriously. Or perhaps not necessarily seriously, but rather they believe that their very existence is a certain ideology, religion, race, gender, etc. rather than simply being themselves. If you fail to accurately portray them as they see themselves through their personal identity (which in reality is nothing more than a fantasy they have of themselves which they wished they were) then they consider it to be an attack on them (after all, you attacked their identity).

I could talk about this phenomenon from many perspectives, but I believe that it's easier to just work on it from the area of language, primarily with proper names and pronouns. I believe that the task of these two linguistic elements have been vastly overcomplicated from their original linguistic goals/purposes, which is simply as a way of referring to a person. It's not supposed to be a statement of any kind of one's identity, it's supposed to be used in order to reference a person among many others.

First, let's talk about proper names. My name is Nicolás. I've been called all kinds of other names, my name has been pronounced a variety of different ways, it has been misspelt, but I have never actually cared for a very simple reason: I knew they were referring to me. That is, no matter how they said my name, no matter how they spelt it, no matter what nicknames were given to me, I knew they were referring to me (i.e. the function of a proper name). Am I no longer myself because someone wrote my name as "Nicholas" or "Nikolas"? No, I'm still myself alright. So why should I care? It's understandable if the name is something degrading, like if someone were calling me "retard" or "cretin", as these are adjectives describing people of low mental capabilities (exceptions to this are obviously given to friends who say it jokingly), but in many situations this is not the case. This also applies to people who believe they have to change their names because they believe they've turned into a new person. If it helps someone to go through a helpful transition (maybe pretending to be a new person helps someone out of an addiction) then I see no issue with it, but it shouldn't be something where the individual changing their name has to get pissy every time someone says the old name. Reality, is that this person had that name and is still the same person as before. They may have changed their behaviour or appearance, but they continue to be the same individual as before.

The next issue is with pronouns. I'm a guy, but due to my long hair I've often been mistaken for a girl (until I turn around and they see my beard). I don't see this as problematic, if I did I would cut my hair. What's more, it reminds me of some comedy sketches I used to watch when I was a kid. For example, when I was a kid there was this comic strip on the back of a cereal box where a guy dared his friend to go ask this person with long hair out on a date, when he went to go ask for the number he found out that it was a metal-head with long hair. I found this hysterical, and these kinds of awkward situation I still find to be quite funny. If you get upset over someone mistaking your gender then you're only making yourself unhappy and you have no one to blame but yourself.

At this point I must also address the issue of transsexuals who create all of these strange genders with stupid pronouns that make no sense and are hard to pronounce. Firstly, I'd like to state that if people really wanted to take out the binary state of pronouns based on people's sex (i.e. masculine/feminine) then instead of inventing new strange pronouns just create one that's considered the neutral one, give it a plural, and voilà, no more memorizing 20 people's specialized pronouns. The entire point of a pronoun linguistically is so that I can refer to someone without having to use a word that is just as unique as their proper name, because if pronouns were just as unique as proper names then what's the point of having a pronoun in the first place? I admit that it's kinda stupid to still have pronouns based on gender, when in our modern societies moving towards equality of genders (hopefully) differentiating between a man and a woman is not really all that important. We must also take into account that when this linguistic element was created in most of our languages the most distinguishing factor of our populations was gender, had there been more diversity in genetics within these populations it may have been based on eye or hair colour. However, regardless, in today's world I'd say that if you really think that this gender-based pronoun issue is important, then please just agree on one universal pronoun.

All in all, please stop being so sensitive over your proper names and pronouns and genders and such. You are you, and you will always be you. If you change your name, your pronoun, or whatever, you're still the same person and you always will be, that's just a fact of reality. So stop making yourself and others miserable by making a big deal about something that is really not that important. I respect you, I do not need to respect your insecurities.