I feel quite foolish. That’s not a new feeling for me unfortunately. However unlike some of the occasions when it happens this one was totally avoidable. Not only was it avoidable but it arose because I was trying to be ‘clever’. A friend yesterday said that someone was a ‘thinking man’ and I said that that was an oxymoron. I said it for a quick laugh. Unfortunately I sometimes wonder if it’s actually true: particularly so far as I am concerned.
In this case Katherine (she of The Last Visible Dog) had posted some lovely photos which included an autumnal tree with a Monarch Butterfly on the tree. I made the comment “Your Monarch was out rather late wasn't she?” The actual gender of the beautiful creature was not in my thoughts. I was just avoiding the assumption that everything is automatically referred to in the masculine gender.
Years ago when a lot of my work involved legal issues and it became impossible always to say he and/or she I always use to add ‘the use of the male gender shall include the female gender – Interpretation Act 1889’. Of course one would look silly saying that in a non-legal context. In the same vein Andy always used to avoid any reference to specific genders to the extent that he refused to say person because of it’s male-specific connotation.
Anyway I digressed. Katherine made the point that the Monarch was, in fact a male and not a female. The markings of the two sexes are markedly different and I had, of course, to agree.
Motto: Don’t try to be ‘clever’ and, if you do, then think first.