At this point, the New York Times opinion section is really just a repository of inane clickbait, though the NYT brand gives it a patina of sophistication. And on Thursday, when tech columnist Farhad Manjoo published his latest column which, incidentally, had nothing to do with technology, readers could be forgiven for scoffing.
Manjoo, who is by all accounts a straight man, asked his readers to refer to him by the gender-neutral pronoun ‘they’, and suggested that they ask the same for themselves. Because it’s time to rid the world of the arbitrary and oppressive gendering of the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’.
The columnist opens the column by declaring himself a humble cisgender suburban dad. But that doesn’t change the fact that people ‘should’ use ‘they’ when addressing him – though he ‘won’t be offended’ if you keep referring to him as ‘he’.
I am your stereotypical, cisgender, middle-aged suburban dad. I dabble in woodworking, I take out the garbage, and I covet my neighbor’s Porsche. Though I do think men should wear makeup (it looks nice!), my tepid masculinity apparently rings loudly enough online and in person that most people guess that I go by “he” and “him.” And that’s fine; I will not be offended if you refer to me by those traditional, uselessly gendered pronouns.
But “he” is not what you should call me. If we lived in a just, rational, inclusive universe — one in which we were not all so irredeemably obsessed by the