The Gender Conundrum: The Case for Id

Symbolism is a language of associations and language is a form of symbolism .

Meaning in language is derived through an association of word parts. Once in place, over time, the empirical tenets of language were finessed and refined ad nauseam, it would appear, to exalt in part the consultative role of its revered masters, the linguistic pundits who may have, at times, made irrelevant and complicated language rules for their own esoteric ends.

“Indeed. Yes indeed,” agrees the imp never at a loss to play critic.

There is nothing less logical and more ludicrous than gender associations with inanimate sexless objects. The gender conundrum is a case of linguistic associations gone amok. Did the ancients have nothing better to do?

“No they did not. They just sat idly in their plazas pontificating over whether a table should be a he or a she. They had nothing else to do!” concurs the imp. “That and to set themselves apart from the means-deprived ignorant masses.”

Wouldn’t it be far simpler to devise any word, any set of letters at all, to invent a way to address all inanimate objects rather than to painstakingly map out sexual affiliations to everything in existence?

“That’s why English is so popular and there are other languages such as Armenian that do just that!” flaunts the elf in an unusual bid to its knowledge base, and after a pose pregnant with annoyance adds,

“The Germanic root languages are the biggest offenders in this regard. Yes, bigger offenders than the French!”

“Bigger offenders than the French?” gasps the imp raising its eyebrows in disbelief. “But how is this even possible?”

Because Germans, like the Brits did appropriate a word for inanimate objects and yet they still felt a compelling urge to extend all three, the der, the die and the das, the he, the she and the it to inanimate objects nonetheless.

At that, the imp lets out a tiny squeal.

It gets even more convoluted. In some cases inanimate qualifiers are given in reference to human beings. Yes! Human beings! Notice die tafel and das madchen that make of the table a she and of the girl an it.

“Now that makes no sense at all,” cries out the bewildered imp as it topples over backwards in its stool and lands nose foremost on the floor.

Old habits die hard – if for different reasons. Even today we fuss with designations so as not to offend. Sometimes both he and she are used haphazardly in reference to the same subject, confusing the reader and detracting from the crux of a story. Sometimes the gender association with the he and she is traded for they which is of course grammatically incorrect. Isn’t it time we outgrew such pettiness?

Egad! Away with the posturing and linguistic idiosyncrasies. I have been and shall continue to use id to designate a generic human being just as we use an it in reference to a generic animal. We speak of animals with the it pronoun – that is, until we are speaking of a specific pet or animal. From that moment on, we usually refer to the animal with its associated gender. So too, logically, by extension, I propose to provide a useful resolution to the long-standing gender conundrum.

“Well, I’m glad you finally give us an explanation,” says the imp relieved. “I thought these were just typos.”