It’s that time again — we’re updating your operating system.
And by “operating system,” I mean your language.
Try to operate accordingly.
As you’re well aware, since the advent of English, the planet’s employed “he” and “she” to differentiate sex.
Recently, it was determined those terms should instead denote identity.
From there, our binary system sprouted into a bountiful buffet.
See a sampling of the smorgasbord:
Co, co, cos, cos, coself
En, en, ens, ens, enself
Ey, em, eir, eirs, emself
Xie, hir, hir, hirs, hirself
Yo, yo, yos, yos, yoself
Ze, zir, zir, zirs, zirself
Ve, vis, ver, ver, verself
As I’ve previously made clear, I believe that last turn of events has no connection to sexual identity.
In a totally unrelated story, it seems to me, we’re witnessing the impact of a social media and video-gaming culture.
Combine language with such in the age of affirmation, and voilà — within the written and spoken word, guys and gals can choose their emojis.
The notion of only some of us being celebrities is so 10 minutes ago; at a time when Instagram influencers dwarf Hollywood heavyweights, everyone’s an icon.
Of the graphic display sort.
And in our new era of communication, there’s a whole sack of syllables waiting to symbolize your superselves.
If you didn’t know, sexless sounds such as “zir” and “ze” are called “neopronouns.”
Now get ready to upload NeoP 2.0.
As reported by The New York Times, progress has produced “noun-self” pronouns.
These new representations can reference animals or “fantasy characters.”
For instance, you’re welcome to shove-off “she” and become “bun/bunself.”
For you lads who lick your liquids and leak in a litter box, give “he” the heave-ho and purr to the possibilities of “kitten/kittenself.”
I feel certain someone in the Comments wouldn’t mind metamorphosing via “vamp/vampself.”
And if you’re royally rad in a Meghan Markle manner, “prin/cess/princesself” might just be the aristocratic elevation you deserve.
But what if you feel a common phrase more accurately indicates the inner you?
Get innit to winnit — “innit/innits/innitself” is on offer.
According to NYT, an awful lot of others are innit, too:
Many neopronoun users are dead serious… They are deeply versed in the style and mores of contemporary identity politics conversations.
[They] are also part of online communities that are quick to react swiftly to offenses.
A popular Twitch streamer who goes by AndiVMG recently apologized after jokingly tweeting that her pronouns were “bad/af,” which led many neopronoun users to accuse her of transphobic invalidation of their identities.
Fast-forward to a fix — AndiVMG apologized:
“It wasn’t meant to mock people who use neopronouns. However I have since educated myself on the matter and spoken to people who use neopronouns and I see why what I said was hurtful.”
As observed by the outlet, even among youngsters, not everyone’s on board with the latest Project Pronoun.
One TikToker proposed, “[Your] pronouns are valid, but please be reasonable. I’m not going to call [you] kitty/kittyself or doll/dollself just [because you] think it’s cool. Pronouns are a form of identity not an aesthetic.”
Could aesthetophobia become a thing?
Either way — in the words of the Times — “How do you know someone’s pronouns?”
Neopronoun users may publish strict boundaries and preferences around behaviors, enthusiasms and hatreds. Many of them have defined lists of behaviors they find unacceptable around privacy or cruelty — sometimes referred to as “DNI” lists, short for “do not interact” — which they often outline in posts on Carrd, a service that makes single-page websites.
Carrd grew in scope during the protest movements of 2020; these days, many of its more than two million pages are used primarily for expressions of fandom and personhood. So, a social media bio will often include a link to an identity résumé on Carrd, often with a pronoun usage guide. (One sample: “Bug likes bugs.” “Those things belong to Bug.” “Bug wants to work by Bugself.”)
And it’s growing more complex:
Many people who use neopronouns don’t just use one set. They select a handful and show off their collections on websites like Pronouny.xyz, a site that provides usage examples for neopronouns. Users make their own Pronouny pages, like this one, which includes xe/xem/xyr, moon/moonself, star/starself, bee/beeself, and bun/bunself. “Sorry if I have too many pronouns,” the page’s creator wrote. “You can use just one set or just they/them if they’re too many!!”
So goes society.
And as we head into our new normal, I have advice for aspiring investors: Put your money into name tags. When (if?) we return to a social style of life post-pandemic, something tells me that’s an industry bound to boom.
‘Til then, take care of ohsnapselves.
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