"The new American poet thinks in many tongues, all of which flow into the English she uses: a language that blossoms for her."
What I dislike about this sentence, of course, is the pronouns "she" and "her" used in a general, impersonal fashion. To put it quite simply, that is just not how things are done, and it looks wrong. It feels wrong. My whole body jolts when I come across it in print. Now, I am a feminist. Let me make that clear. I do what I want. What infuriates me about such a usage is that language as a space is gendered in through the use of "she" or "her," and I adamantly argue that the use of the masculine pronoun is non-gendered in that context. Not only is it contrary to the forms and conventions of language to use the feminine pronoun in such as context, but I find it specifically sexist when one does so.
Because what lies implicitly in asserting the femininity of the non-gendered pronoun is that one agrees that language is a traditionally masculine space. I do not feel the need to claim a feminine space with language, but what I do feel the need to do is reclaim that space as gender neutral. Because it is.
Language isn't a masculine space and women don't need to make a space for themselves within it. The space is already there, because it is gender neutral. I suppose that a large part of my problem with such a usage of the feminine pronoun is that when women change the conventions of language to make it "woman's space" they look, to put it frankly, like fools. It represents a rebellion against conventional language in a way that signals nothing more than a perverse and onerous stubbornness. And I say that, not because it is stubborn for women to assert themselves, but because there is no reason to assert a feminine space in an already non-gendered one.And that is just...superfluous. And ignorant. And self-defeating, as well.
Let's assume, for a moment, that the general "he" also signifies a white person, in addition to a male, and that language is considered a white masculine space
Do we then say "The new American poet thinks in many tongues, all of which flow into the English she, the Black woman, uses: a language that blossoms for her, a Black woman" ?