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Culture War Roundup for the week of February 20, 2023

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I agree with this advice.

From my own experience, you can mostly disregard the calls for woke signaling as long as you do not do it overtly at all. Do not explicitly disagree with anyone on woke-related issues (it can end REALLY badly if you do, keep your mouth shut and know when to pick your battles), just simply ignore their requests. If it comes to it, feign ignorance but never follow through with their requests. You can just ignore the email telling you to use pronouns and just don't put them in your email. Specifically in my case in Australia, I also avoid putting any 'Acknowledgement of Country' in any of my work as much as I can get away with.

You do have to be careful around true believers, who will notice your lack of participation and will try to ostracize you, and you might not even realize it. It probably heavily depends on your specific context, but just avoid them at all costs.

The plus side of this strategy is that fellow covert conscientious dissenters will likely notice your lack of participation and will hopefully network with you.

From my own experience, you can mostly disregard the calls for woke signaling as long as you do not do it overtly at all.

I agree. I am technically obligated by university policy to use "genderjust" language (think LatinX, but for every third word or so). I simply don't do it. Nobody has complained so far. Granted, I don't make a big fuss about it either. It does get a bit awkward though when colleagues helpfully "correct" my texts without consulting me.

I am technically obligated by university policy to use "genderjust" language (think LatinX, but for every third word or so).

Wait, what?

Sigh, I guess this merits an effortpost as it is rather complicated. But since you asked a lazy bastard with a chip on his shoulder, you will get a biased rant instead:

Die, Bart, die

German has three grammatical genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. Der Baum (the tree), die Pflanze (the plant), das Haus (the house). These loosely map to biological sex, but not always. For example, das Mädchen (the girl) is neuter. And die Person (the person) is feminine.

This gets complicated when it comes to professions. Most words for professions take the masculine grammatical gender. If you want to point out that a specific professional is female, there is a derivative form of that, mostly ending in -in (or -innen for the plural). For example, der Lehrer, die Lehrerin (the teacher, the female teacher).

It was long-standing convention to use the masculine plural when referring to groups of people of a certain profession, rather than the longer feminine form. Die Lehrer can refer to a group of male teachers or to a group of mixed-sex teachers. Die Lehrerinnen refers to a group of female teachers exclusively. The astute reader will have noticed that the nominative article for plurals of all genders, die, is identical to the nominative singular article for feminine nouns. This will be important for sneeding later.

Now, it has long irked German feminists that they would be referred to as Die Feministen rather than Die Feministinnen. Clearly this is a conspiracy to undermine the belief that women, too, can excel at any job they put their mind to! We are brainwashing little girls into wanting to become Hausfrauen rather than Raketenwissenschaftlerinnen! Mind you, there was never much evidence for any of that and the few studies I have seen are so comically bad I wonder how they ever passed peer review.

Anyhow, so the social engineering began. First we just said everything twice: Die Lehrerinnen und Lehrer. Then we started to get more efficient (we are Germans after all) and just put a capitalised "I" in the middle of words for professions: Die LehrerInnen. But this, too, was boring. And you can't really show how progressive you are when you are butchering the language in the same way even the most boring conservative Journalistin is. So we started referring to Lehrer_innen. Or just used the participle, even when it made no sense at all: Die Lehrenden (those who are currently in the process of teaching). Doesn't that look nice? But Halt! What about Die Transpersonen? Shouldn't they be included as well? So now we currently settled on Die Lehrer*innen until next week when some Professorin der Geschlechterforschung needs a new grant. How is that pronounced, you ask? Easy, with an audible pause in the middle of the word. Which suits German about as well as the click sound would Irish. So if you ever asked yourself why German academics sound as if they had a terminal case of the hiccups, you now know why.

Of course, all of this is entirely unprincipled. Nobody is complaining about a man being referred to as Die Person, or wondering why we use feminine articles in the plural. In the beginning, it was a way to show group allegiance. And no, nobody will force you to use that kind of language if you don't want to. Don't be silly, you paranoid right-winger. Now it has become a way to show the pesky peasants who's boss. So you better start on your hiccups if you don't want to be suspected of hating Die Frauen.

As always with German it’s the Mädchen I worry about. They must be very confused.

Certain suffixes and forms of derivation grammatically necessitate a certain gender for the noun. The dimunitive -chen is one example, it always results in a neutrum (das) noun. The non-diminutive, but today archaic, word for das Mädchen is die Magd, which is feminine as expected.

Many many German nouns are regular in this grammatically forced way, though of course not all.

There's also the Finnish-style Lehrer:innen. And I think the first iteration may have been Lehrer(innen), but AFAIK being enclosed in parentheses was seen as too marginalizing or something because parentheses often denote less important remarks in sentences.