Abbeville vs. Chicago Part 4: Gender Bias

 

We couldn’t resist a little one-round bout with The Chicago Manual of Style after this passage caught our eye today:

Word Usage

5.204. Gender bias. Consider the use of gender-neutral language. On the one hand, it is unacceptable to a great many reasonable readers to use the generic masculine pronoun (he in reference to no one in particular). On the other hand, it is unacceptable to a great many readers either to resort to nontraditional gimmicks to avoid the generic masculine (by using he/she or s/he, for example) or use they as a kind of singular pronoun. Either way, credibility is lost with some readers. What is wanted, in short, is a kind of invisible gender neutrality. There are many ways to achieve such language, but it takes thought and often some hard work.

Oh please, Chicago Manual. “What is wanted” is a little backbone. When an editor wants to use language that’s both harmonious-sounding and appropriately gendered, she simply goes ahead and does so.

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