Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Quickies: The Neuters Are Revolting!

I have another difficult day before me, so I'll make do with a few observations about this rather strange story:

A person in Oregon named Valeria Jones is suing catering company Bon App├ętit Management for $518,682 because coworkers used female names in reference to Jones despite the fact that Jones had continually expressed the desire to be addressed only with gender neutral pronouns.

Some of the terms the coworkers called Jones included, for example, “little lady,” “lady” and “miss,” reports The Oregonian. The coworkers said Jones looked like a woman—possibly some unidentified female celebrity.

Jones was unhappy, explaining that pronouns which apply to everyone do not apply to Jones and are “unwelcome” because Jones is “not a female or a male.”

The article, whether intentionally or otherwise one of the most drily hilarious things I've read in many years, goes on to mention that "The genitalia Jones possesses, if any, is unclear."

But wait: there's more! The management of Bon Appetit has protested its good intentions:

“I can say we are an equal opportunity employer that embraces diversity of all kinds,” vice president Maisie Ganzler told The Oregonian.

As if that were likely to, ah, neutralize the lawsuit filed by this poor, distraught, deeply violated, genderless soul. But this is Oregon we're talking about, after all.

I'm told that there's a movement of sorts among young Japanese to conceal one's gender, such that others are incapable -- short of direct physical examination, at least -- of determining one's sex. The Japanese are known for absurd fads of that sort, but to insist that one is formally genderless is a new phenomenon on these shores. To me it sounds as if Mr. / Miss Jones is in serious need of psychiatric help, but I'm not a mental-health professional, nor do I play one on the World Wide Web.

There's so much more I could say about this strange case. Valeria Jones was born with some sexual configuration or other, as are we all. Had he / she been born female but desired to be male, or vice-versa, that would merely consign her to the bin of delusional souls who believe they were "born into the wrong body." Had he / she been one of the extremely small group born with both sets of genitals, a DNA test would indicate which set should be allowed to develop and which set should be removed. But neither of those is the case here. This...person has rejected the very concept of physical gender, and has demanded that others ratify his / her lunacy semiotically. Failing that, he / she will graciously accept a mere half million dollars in compensation.

Resistance to metaphysically given facts has been known to all places and times, but this is its furthest and silliest penetration on these shores to date. Yet there are still frontiers to be penetrated in the exploration of "alternative personal realities." Who will be the first to sue his / her employer on the grounds that his / her manager has continually insisted that he / she be at work by 8:30 AM? Surely this Patriarchal Dead White European Male time hegemonism must be jettisoned with the rest of the dross of "late capitalism." I mean, in this supremely enlightened and infinitely tolerant age, isn't each of us allowed to decide what numbers belong on the face of the clock, and in what order?

Hm. Maybe I shouldn't be giving "them" ideas.


Weetabix said...

Was it asking to be referred to as "it" and addressed, "Hey, Neuter!" or "Thing!"

I'm betting it would have counted that as a hostile work environment, too.

Russell said...

The neuters certainly are!


Thank you, I'll be here all night. Please try the veal.

Joseph said...

If it wants to be referred to using gender-neutral pronouns, we can humor it.