Crucifixes in Schools and the Nudging Sway of Symbols

During my student days at MIT, one of my professors at the Faculty of Cognitive Sciences, Stephen Chorover, recommended I begin using gender-neutral language in my essays—not ‘he’ but ‘he or she’ or ‘s/he’. At the time, and as I had yet to discover feminism, I thought that unwarranted, as everyone knew, or so I thought, that ‘he’ included both genders (ha!). But then, I recalled that in Greek, my mother tongue, the term for ‘human’ is gendered in an irrevocable way and is male—and suddenly I felt that was not fair. Thus I began to pay attention to and gradually became a fan of gender-neutral language (and sometimes—exceptionally—I will go to the other extreme and write gendered female language, to make up, sort of, for the bias imbued through centuries).

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