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Opinion: To she or not to she?

Abbi Pittman

Abbi PittmanLast week, I got a call from my sister.

“I think I’m gonna start going by ‘they’ instead of ‘she’,” she told me.

“Why, to defy the laws of grammar?” I asked her.

But no, that’s not her reason. Avery doesn’t want to identify as “she” or a “he” because she thinks such pronouns perpetuate gender binaries, which distinguish “clearly defined roles” between the sexes.

It’s a new, slowly growing strategy in the war against sexism.

And though I stand beside my sister on the feminist’s side, I do not support her decision or tactic.

For someone struggling with gender identity, the use of “they” is meaningful.

But Avery is a woman. She knows it – she’s proud of it. Very proud of it.

Yet she contradicts herself.

In choosing to identify by a neuter pronoun, my sister is, in a sense, abandoning her gender in the middle of a war for sexual equality.

An ineffective strategy, for the real hero would stand with her sex – fight for women’s rights as the proud woman she is.

And while Avery has chosen to veil her gender with “they,” she’s still physically and spiritually female. Deep-rooted sexist binaries wouldn’t vanish if we suddenly tossed out “he” and “she,” because words don’t define what’s male or female – anatomy does.

My sister is right about one thing: gender separates us by role to a troubling degree. Being a man or a woman shouldn’t mean what it does in today’s society.

But the real way to combat sexism isn’t to deny one’s sex in a symbolic act against gender identity.

To win this war, we must break the constraints of our genders and choose to reject our roles. We must prove the world wrong.

So, you want a real strategy? Rock that “he” or “she” like nobody has before.

Pittman, a sophomore undecided major from Raleigh, is the Opinion editor.

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