Pronouns | ContraPoints

Pronouns | ContraPoints

(ominous music) Lenora: Death! Death, death, death, death! It’s the only thing everyone fears, and the only thing that gets me off. Hello, my devilish
darlings, I am Lenora LaVey, your hostess of horror, your rare and radiant maiden of mayhem. Tonight’s program is about
the death of meaning itself. The story is rather simple really, the hes become shes,
and the shes become hes, and those and the middle are them and xem. And then, my dreadful dears, the Western world shall surely
succumb to renewable energy, affordable healthcare, and
video games for lesbians. (maniacal laughter) But there’s one man who stands in the way, the villain of tonight’s thriller. A meddling little cipher of a man. A man who prefers light to
darkness, reason to madness, order to chaos. Can you imagine? His name is Ben Shapiro,
and his catchphrase “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” Ugh! Can our heroine put a stop to this? Well, I’m just the executioner. You, my vile viewers, must be the judge. (ominous organ music) Hi, girls. It’s me, Ms. Points. Mademoiselle Points. Words, words, words. What do they even fucking mean? Well I don’t know and I don’t care, but we have to talk about it anyway because of a boy named Ben Shapiro. So who is Ben Shapiro? Well, he’s a popular conservative pundit, the editor of The Daily Wire, and the auteur behind such
Criterion Collection classics as Ben Shapiro Destroys Yale Snowflakes, Ben Shapiro Destroys Every
College Snowflake Part Seven, Ben Shapiro Crushes Anti-Free
Speech College Snowflake, and Ben Shapiro Destroy Caitlyn Jenner. Ben’s especially notorious
for his provocative, controversial, politically incorrect, snowflake-smashing refusal to call transgender
people by their pronouns. Shapiro: I’m willing to call Caitlyn
Jenner Caitlyn Jenner. I’m not willing to call
Caitlyn Jenner a she. Points: Surprising, you might think, for a person so insistent on
the value of civil discussion. Maher: And let’s be civil, right? That’s the tone of the day. Shapiro: I’m a fan. Points: But Ben seems to abandon civility in his discussions of trans people, preferring to fall back
on his edgier mantra… Shapiro: Facts don’t care about your feelings. And you know, on this one point, I actually agree with Ben. It’s true. Facts don’t care about my feelings. I dislike this trend toward regarding as a conclusive argument the proposition, “This makes me feel invalidated.” Because sometimes things that
make you feel bad are true. It makes me feel bad that I used to be a sexy, sexy boy with rippling abs, but too fucking bad for
me because there I am, indelibly exhibited on YouTube for everyone to gawk at forever. Mmm, I was a yum yum tho. Build me a time machine doc. We call this autoandrophilia nurse. What can I say, I like younger men. I’m a cougar in tiger’s clothing. So look, I want to be
treated like an adult. I don’t want to be indulged. If I’m delusional, I
want to be disillusioned. I don’t want people lying to me just to protect whatever
deranged fantasy stories I need to tell myself to
make it through the night. VO: It’s probably just dry down there. They’re just ingrown hairs. I’m sure plenty of healthy
people have blood in their urine. I don’t want my gender to be tolerated in the way that liberal
Christians tolerate other of course false
and heathen religions. I am an evangelical transsexual. I don’t want toleration,
dammit, I want converts. Excuse me sir, do you have a moment to
talk about my womanhood? Sure, go ahead. Touch it. So look Shapiro. Benny. Baby. I invite you to disenchant
all my fairy tales, to melt away every
crystal of my snowflakery and henceforth dispense
only the most scalding tea. Alright, big boy? Let’s have it. Shapiro: I’m willing to call Caitlyn
Jenner Caitlyn Jenner, I’m not willing to call
Caitlyn Jenner a she. Because you can’t change your
sex, you can change your name. Caitlyn Jenner is a man, a biological man. And if he were born with high doses of estrogen in his bloodstream, he would also not be a woman. You’re determined by your chromosomes. So the argument is that
what it means to be a she is to have a normal female karyotype, that is, XX sex chromosomes. And if you don’t have that karyotype, then you’re not a she, and to call you she would
be tantamount to a lie. Student: I was wondering what you
see the detriment of society like why we can’t let a
transgender like woman be called she or something? Shapiro: Because it is a lie. – So since you think calling
a trans woman she is a lie, and you think that what
it means to be “a she” is to have a normal female karyotype, then you must think that when
we call a trans women she we are saying that she has
a normal female karyotype. But hold on, I’m a transgender woman, and I’ve never claimed to have
a normal female karyotype, and yet my friends, lovers,
and most strangers call me she, her, miss, ma’am, girlfriend, ladies. Good girl, good girl, just like that, don’t stop, don’t stop. Are all of us deluded about my biology? No. It is not I who misunderstands
biology, Ben Shapiro, it is you who misunderstands language. You have deceptively framed the debate as a debate about
biology, which it is not. We all agree on the biology. The actual subject of debate
is the proper use of words such as he, she, man and woman. But how do we decide on the
correct way to use a word? Well, there are two kinds
of arguments we could make, descriptive or prescriptive. If we take the descriptive approach then what we must do is
act like anthropologists and study the way a
word, for instance she, is used by a linguistic community. And whatever the social
convention is is what’s correct. But if we take the prescriptive approach, then we must make an argument about the way the word she should be used, meaning we either defer to an authority such as the dictionary, or my ruler on you wrist you naughty boy, or we must have some goal
that we want to accomplish by approving some uses of the
word, and prohibiting others. Now if we take the descriptive approach, you lose, Ben Shapiro, because
most people call me she, and that’s all there is to it. What’s more, your usage of “a she” and “a he” is ungrammatical. You don’t put an article before a pronoun, that’s not how pronouns
work you silly dumdum. Also, human sex chromosomes
were discovered in 1905, while the English pronouns he and she originate in the Proto-Germanic language spoken during the pre-Roman
Iron Age of Northern Europe beginning around 500 BCE. Therefore by insisting that the singular third-person pronouns of the English language refer
specifically to karyotype, it is you and not I who is breaking from linguistic
tradition, Ben Shapiro. However, as a trans woman, it’s not generally in my
interest to defer to traditions. So, let’s try out a prescriptive approach. Without simply appealing to
the way a word is already used, how do we decide how
a word should be used? Language is by nature ambiguous, and the way we attempt disambiguate it is often motivated by political goals. Ben Shapiro thinks we should
not call trans women she because his political goal is to enforce rigid
conservative gender roles. Whereas, I think we should
call trans women she because my political goal
is to live in a society where I can achieve the same level of sadness and dysfunction
as everyone else. It’s analogous to the debate about same-sex marriage from a decade ago. Opponents argued the dictionary and legal definition of marriage was union between a man and a woman, and the definition
shouldn’t be changed because it’s the definition, and… HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO EXPLAIN TO MY CHILD? And on the other hand, gay people argued that the
definition should be changed because they wanted to achieve the same level of sadness and
dysfunction as everyone else. And they succeeded. Because as it turns out, you can in fact change
the definitions of words. The dictionary is simply a
usage guide, it’s not the Bible. And for that matter, you
can even change the Bible. I mean have you read the
Contemporary English Version? The prose is atrocious, appalling. I won’t stand for this. But unlike the debate about gay marriage, the question about trans womanhood is more than just a
political and legal dispute. It seems to me that whatever church, state, and Merriam-Webster decide, trans women are already women
and will continue to be women. And to see why, I want to elaborate on an
argument posed to Ben Shapiro by my sometime rival Blaire White. Yes, even though she’s one of
the YouTubers whomst is bad. The debate begins with Ben Shapiro asserting his usual position that pronouns are used to designate so-called biological men
and biological women. Blaire responds by observing that Ben’s way of using pronouns is in her case completely impractical. White: Well, if you and I were
to go to a business dinner or any kind of dinner and you were meeting me at a restaurant and I was there first and
I was in an orange shirt. And you had to tell the host, I’m here to meet my friend
Blaire and is that okay? And you had to describe
to take me to the table, you wouldn’t say the
man in the orange shirt, you would say Blaire and you
would say her over there. Ben then responds saying. Shapiro: I think there’s some
truth to that, meaning that, I think that there is a
utility to the use of pronouns but that’s not quite the
same as suggesting that a transgender woman is a
she in the objective sense. And Blaire responds to that with what I think is a very good analogy. White: For instance, if someone
were to adopt children, there’s no biological
basis for calling them that kids parents because they’re not. Like they’re just literally not, there’s no link at all biologically. But there is a social reason to do it and there’s a legal reason to do it. Let’s expand on that analogy. Suppose you’re an adoptive parent, and you’re arguing with someone
who says your adopted child isn’t really your child and
you aren’t really a parent. As evidence, they point to the dictionary definition of parent, one that begets or brings forth offspring. You did not beget or bring
forth offspring, they argue, therefore, you are not a parent. Facts don’t care about your feelings. No matter how much you love
and care for this child, you’ll never be anything
but a glorified kidnapper. I think it’s clear, that the
person who makes this argument is being uncivil, yes, being provocative, controversial, politically incorrect. But they’re not just impolite. They’re also wrong. Because an adoptive parent
is, socially and functionally, just as real a parent
as a biological parent. And to say otherwise is
not just rude, it’s false. So, what do you have to
say to that Ben Shapiro? Shapiro: I would say that we actually do have different descriptions
for adoptive parents than biological parents. You’ll say in shorthand
that they’re parents because they’re all
different types of parents. But we do say adoptive parents. Right. Adoptive parents. An entirely valid type of parent. To call them parents is not a lie. Shapiro: And then the question becomes, okay, exactly is the context that you were suggesting matters. In what context are we
talking about the parents? Are we talking about a PTA meeting. Okay, this person is the legal guardian and therefore the parent. Because parenting has two aspects, there’s the biological parentage and then there’s the
actual role of parenting. So yes, there are some contexts where we do need to distinguish between biological and adoptive parents. For instance, if a doctor
is assessing a child’s risk of some hereditary disease, they need to know if the parents
are adoptive or biological. But at the PTA meeting and
in most other contexts, it doesn’t matter in the slightest. Shapiro: In the dinner conversation the same thing sort of holds true. Meaning, there is the
biological role of woman, which you are not and then there is the you look like a woman, which is I’m gonna describe
you as a woman to the waiter when he comes to direct me to the table. Just when Ben seems on the
cusp of having a breakthrough, he and Blaire pause their argument to congratulate themselves on
how civil their discussion is. White: From what I’ve seen a lot of your interactions
with trans people they always end up kind of ugly. You know what I mean? There was, I think the
person’s name was Zoey Tur There was that threat
of physical violence. – No, no, I… Tur: You cut that out now or
you’ll go home in an ambulance. Shapiro: And what’s hilarious
about this, Blaire is, literally the exact same thing that I’m saying to you right now is exactly what I said
to Zoey Tur on the air. But that’s not exactly true, is it, Ben? Zoey threatened you
after you called her sir. And you didn’t call Blaire sir did you? Why did you call Zoey sir? What kind of reaction
were you hoping to elicit, O distinguished destroyer of snowflakes? I suppose you were just
sticking to the facts. I suppose “sir” is a
strictly biological term. Queen Guinevere said in days of old, I knight thee Lancelot, thou
that art karyotypically male. Shapiro: And you’re exactly right. When people start yelling at
each other or tweeting out FU, that’s not a great way to change my mind, it turns out that’s not
particularly convincing. So what is a great way to
change your mind, Ben Shapiro? Did Blaire budge you an
inch with her rationality, her even-temper, her
civility, her aesthetic? It doesn’t seem like she did. At the end of this debate you regurgitate your
original position undigested. Shapiro: I’m the editor of a pretty major site and my basic rule is that when were discussing people who are trans we immediately say in the
first paragraph trans woman and then refers them by
their biological pronoun because biology is the
nature of the pronoun. “Biology is the nature of the pronouns?” Didn’t Blaire just demonstrate to you that in most contexts
that’s not true for her? Remember the analogy of adoptive parents. There are some contexts
where it makes sense to distinguish between adoptive parents and biological parents. Likewise, there are some
scientific and medical contexts where it makes sense to distinguish between transgender and cisgender, or as you say “biological” women, for instance when
discussing who needs access to certain reproductive healthcare you think should be illegal. But does this apply to pronouns? That is, are pronouns technical biological terms denoting karyotypes, or are they part of the
everyday language we use to describe each other socially? The answer is obvious. There are no geneticists
studying pronouns. In fact, there’s not a
single biology textbook with a chapter on the difference
between “a he” and “a she.” There is no such thing
as “biological pronouns.” This is a phrase invented
in the last decade to describe the misgendering
of trans people. So, as a trans woman, I’m reintegrating myself
into society as a woman. She pronouns are therefore
most appropriate for me regardless of my anatomy, which is none of your
business, Ben Shapiro, fascinating though it is. And just as it is incorrect
to tell an adoptive mother that her son is not her child, to call me “he” is not
just rude or insensitive. It is, in effect, false. But it is also rude and insensitive, so even if you don’t agree
with me, you could still not. What’s the harm, right? Shapiro: I teach my almost 4-year-old girl that she can become a boy. Then I think that is
not only lying to her, I think it’s confusing her and I think it’s damaging to her psyche. Oh yes, the classic argument, HOW DO I EXPLAIN TO MY CHILD? Kill your shitty child for all I care, that’s simply not my problem. I regret every night I
spent with you Ben Shapiro. I’m in a new relationship
now with a lesbian. You and I are through! I’m getting an abortion
and you can’t stop me! It’s disgusting what they
allow on TV these days. I won’t allow my children to watch movies unless there’s at least a
bloodbath, or maybe an orgy. But hey, I don’t choose this
schlock, I just present it. The second program of tonight’s science fiction double feature
is about a cult of chaos hellbent on destroying
Western civilization. I sure hope there’s more
sex and violence this time. Hi, boys. It’s Points again, same queen, new look. Try to keep up. In my previous video, nasty
T-babe likes it rough, I made an argument about why it’s correct to call trans women she. But I’d be bullshitting
you if I only discussed fully integrated binary trans people. Everyone basically calls them
by their pronouns already. Dingbats like Ben Shapiro
have to exert conscious effort to continue the charade
of misgendering them. Shapiro: The transgender woman from
Orange Is the New Black. – [Joe] I never watched that show. Shapiro: I’ve never watched that show either but she’s on a cover of Time magazine. – [Joe] Oh. Shapiro: Or he’s on the cover of Time magazine. [airhorns “Turn Down For What”] I limited my argument to trans women who look the way society
expects a woman to look, because cis people have an
easier time making sense of that. But the reality is that in a lot of cases it’s a little more complicated. Now, as far as early
transition trans people go, I am fairly integrated. Society basically gets that I’m a woman. Without me having to explain my gender, strangers usually default
to she, her, miss, ma’am. Hey, haven’t I seen your
videos on But the truth is, I don’t pass perfectly. I got called sir last week
by the cashier at H&M. Not that I usually deign to shop at H&M but needless to say it
was a desperate emergency, and by emergency, I mean I met a cute
busboy at P.F. Chang’s. And what happened next stays
between me and the Lord, but suffice to say that my blouse was irrevocably drenched in… Okay, I embellished the story a little. He wasn’t cute. So between being six foot one, the horrific transsexual squawking I try to pass off as my voice, and my tragic inability to conduct myself in a manner befitting a
lady of good breeding, your girl remains, despite my
desperate painstaking efforts, somewhat clockable. You look great, hon. In that debate between Ben and Blaire, Blaire says that pronoun usage boils down to what you look like. White: But it really does kind of boil down to what you look like. And it’s true that most strangers will choose a pronoun for you largely based on your appearance. So appearance definitely matters, but in my opinion passing, in the sense of looking like a cis woman, isn’t really the most important thing. What matters more to me is
the kind of vibe you give off, the way you speak, the gestures,
the conversational dynamic. That kind of stuff to me is what makes a person viscerally seem like a man or a woman. So my goal isn’t necessarily
to serve unclockable fish so much as to embody a certain kind of diaphanous archetypal femininity, in layman’s terms, girl dick energy. Also I am gonna have a lot of
plastic surgery, thank God. Last month I released a video called Sexy Furry Pounded by Skinny TBabe, and a lot of trans people got mad at me because they thought I was saying that performing your gender is
the only thing that matters, and that how you identify
counts for nothing. But that’s not what I think. I do prefer to argue that
trans women are women because we live the lives of women, because I think that’s a much
more compelling argument than I’m a woman because I
psychologically identify as a woman, which in my experience doesn’t
really persuade anyone, it’s just too easy to poke holes in it. But identity definitely does matter, especially when it comes to
pronouns, and I’ll explain why. Now first, I should acknowledge
that a lot of cis people are very sensitive about anyone telling them what pronouns to use. So I’m gonna try to be
respectful of your feelings, and what a difficult and personal issue this must be for you. After all, we live in a
repressive political era, despite the best efforts of hero professor Jordan B. Peterson. But alas, he was too late,
now we have has Bill C-16 which compels speech and
sends people to jail for… Oh, it’s been more than a
year since Bill C-16 passed. Let’s check in on how many people have gone to jail for pronoun misuse. (dramatic instrumental music) Oh. I guess that, I guess
that was a false alarm. Goddammit. Look, I’m not gonna tell you
what pronouns you have to use. I’m just going to tell
you how I use pronouns and my reasoning behind it, and you are welcome to use
your free speech to choose how much of an obstinate
hobgoblin you wanna be. Okay? So, back to identity. If I were a cashier at the
Emporium of Ethereal Trinkets and a customer were to
walk in looking like this, I might ordinarily default
to female pronouns. But that would be wrong, since I happen to know this
person is not only a man, he is the man. YouTube’s most regal makeup artist, his Lordship John Maclean,
and he uses he/him pronouns. Likewise, if I were
approached by this person, I’d fall in love and then
default to female pronouns, and this time I’d be correct, but not because she’s a
cis woman or a trans woman, but because she’s genderfluid
drag queen Courtney Act, who has the fucking audacity to be a more beautiful woman than I am, and who so far as I know uses
male pronouns in boy mode and female pronouns in girl
mode, as do most queens. A lot of the complexities of gender, language, identity, and expression get played out in the world of drag. Some queens, like RuPaul,
just identify as cis men who live as men and perform as women. Others, like Courtney,
Sasha Velour, Jinkx Monsoon, Shea Coulee and Violet Chachki
identify as non-binary. Others still are bio queens, cis women who perform as drag queens, like Lucy Garland or Creme Fatale. And then there are trans
women who are also drag queens like Peppermint, Imp Queen,
or for that matter, me. I mean, look at me. You think I dress like this
when I go to 7-Eleven at 2AM? Because I do. Look what I’ve become, a bisexual transsexual drag queen. Look, I didn’t intend to become
this much of a snowflake, I, just through pure coincidence happen to be the most interesting and unique person who ever lived, I’m so sorry, I can’t help it. So let’s recap, there are gender non-conforming men who present very femme
but use male pronouns, there are cis men who use female pronouns whenever they present female, there are genderfluid people
who use different pronouns depending on their current presentation, there are pre-transition trans people who identify as a gender other than the one they
present and live as and prefer other pronouns. So you really can’t just rely
on the way a person looks, because there’s a lot of situations where the way they look doesn’t
tell you the whole story. So as you can see, identity
is definitely important, but it’s also not the
only thing that matters. If psychological identity were
the only thing that mattered then there would be no need
for a trans person to come out or do anything to transition, including requesting different pronouns, because pronouns belong to
the social world of language, not to individual psychology. This is an idea I tried to
explore in my sexy furry video. You can identify however you like, but gender is also social,
structural and interpersonal. So if for example you’re a trans woman still living as a man,
then you are fully trans, your identity is fully valid, but until you begin living as a woman your womanhood remains
kind of hypothetical. And when I say living as a woman, I don’t mean passing. There’s too much emphasis
on physical appearance and not enough on social relationships. You know, you don’t become a woman the first time you put on a dress, you become a woman the first time an older female relative turns to you at a restaurant and says “Maybe you should order
the salad sweetie.” My point is not to
invalidate anyone’s identity. As far as I’m concerned if a trans person hasn’t transitioned yet they are fully trans. I’m trying to be realistic about the fact that a lot of a people’s
gendered experience isn’t entirely a product
of how they identify. Put it this way, I will always use female
pronouns for a trans woman, but my thought process behind
it isn’t always the same. Many trans women just
seem like to women to me, in literally the same way that
cis women seem like women, and I use female pronouns
for them effortlessly just as I was trained to do from birth. This I think is the goal for
most binary trans people. We want not necessarily to pass perfectly, but at least to seem like our genders to the people around us. As Laura Jane Grace put it, “You want them to see you like
they see every other girl.” I want people calling me
she not out of politeness or respect for my
identity as a trans woman but just because I seem
like a woman to them. Because the reality is
not all trans women seem like women to me in that visceral way, and I live with this
constant crushing anxiety that I don’t seem like
a woman to other people. I’m terrified of looking
like third-rate drag queen, and I cope with that fear by looking like a second-rate drag queen. But look, even if a person is giving my eyes and
ears zero percent woman, if she tells me she’s a trans woman, I’m gonna use female pronouns, no matter what she looks like. Not just to be polite, but also because I want to recognize the reality of her
psychological experience. And especially because I want to help her resocialize and reintegrate into the world as her true gender. And of course, cis people, you have legally the freedom
to refuse to do that, but if you refuse you
are being a shitgibbon. And I would prefer that
you not be a shitgibbon. Now, we need to address the genderqueer elephant in the room. An increasing number of people identify not as male or female, but as non-binary, an umbrella term encompassing a bunch of more specific
labels such as genderqueer, genderfluid, agender,
greygender, and so on. Many of these people use
a non-binary pronoun, in English usually they. Now if your first impulse is to argue that singular they is
ungrammatical nonsense, consider that having gendered singular third-person pronouns at all is a particular feature
of the English language that’s by no means shared
by all other languages, including Turkish, Korean and Finnish, which don’t have them at all. Language is just a bunch of fucking sounds coming out of your mouth
that humans make up to suit our purposes. If you’re new to using singular they, it’s a little confusing at first, but with some practice
it gets pretty easy. They poured milk on me. I poured milk on them. They did anoint themself in
their milk and it was good, thus saith the Lord. So the polite thing to do here is easy. If someone asks you to call
them they, you call them they. But, if you’re like me, you
don’t want to just do a thing because you dogmatically believe
it’s the woke thing to do. You want to understand
why you’re doing it. I don’t just want to
tolerate non-binary people. I want to be a convert, I want to believe about them what they believe about themselves, so long as those beliefs are reasonable. So what do all these words mean? What are these people talking about? Remember earlier we
distinguished gender expression from gender identity. John Maclean is feminine in expression but a man in identity. Whereas I am a woman in identity and in expression I am a mess. Let us meditate upon
one of lesbian culture’s great contributions to humanity,
art, science, spirituality, sexuality, metaphysics, the futch scale. The futch scale is a
diagram that looks like this and quantifies from 1 to 10,
or high femme to stone butch, the gender expression of a given domain, such as Mulan looks or
Steven Universe characters. It can also be used more
abstractly for weapons, fish Pokemon or wind instruments. Maybe what non-binary
people are trying to do with words like genderqueer,
agender, greygender, and so on, is to give to identity the
same kind of specificity the futch scale gives to expression. But my input on this isn’t
really worth that much, because I’m not non-binary. And to tell you the truth, I kind of feel for cis people here, because all this talk
about gender identity, a lot of the time I don’t
really get it either. I look inside myself and ask, “Do I feel like a man or a woman?” And after all these
years the answer is still that I feel like shit. And that’s how I experience gender, I live, I exist as a woman, which is the only way I can achieve the same level of sadness and
dysfunction as everyone else. And I identify as trash. I guess there are certain moments that makes me feel like a natural woman, oh, listening to Aretha Franklin, the pain and ecstasy of penetration, waiting in a long-ass
line for the restroom, a big strong arm around my waist, being asked if I have any tampons, having tampons in case someone asks, a dude explaining Philosophy
101 to me and me going, “Oh, really? Wow!” But you know, these experiences mean different things to different people, so all I can really tell you is that I prefer to express myself with diaphanous feminine gestures, that taking female hormones and having feminizing medical procedures makes me feel more at home in my body, and that I like when other
people treat me as a woman, socially, spiritually, sexually. So that’s the jargon-free explanation of my gender as I see it. Am I really, truly a woman, ontologically, neurologically, metaphysically? Well, honestly I don’t even
know what that would mean. But I do know that the
life I live as a woman is the only life I
have, and that, I think, is legitimate enough. So, I know what living
as a woman means to me, but what does it mean to
live a non-binary life? Well, just like what it
means to be a man or a woman, that’s something that’s going to vary between individuals and cultures. Some cultures have ancient
third-gender traditions, such as the hijra of South Asia, a legally recognized gender in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, or the various two-spirit traditions of indigenous North American tribes. Non-indigenous American culture doesn’t have a third-gender tradition, but we do have individual
non-binary people, some of whom are making content that has taught me a lot
about non-binary experience, non-binary bodies and non-binary life. We have a lot in common, binary
and non-binary trans people. Even as a binary trans person,
I used to live as one gender and now I live as another gender. That in itself is a
pretty serious challenge to the stability of the binary. But many of the people who
call themselves non-binary seem to be fighting for
something more radical than what I’m fighting for,
at least in my personal life. I’m just trying to assimilate into a preexisting female gender role. As you can see by the
normal way I’m dressed. The traditional female garb of my culture. No. Whereas, non-binary people
are trying to cast off these roles entirely, they’re effectively trying to create the society that includes them. And sometimes that puts
me at cross purposes with some non-binary
people, who, for example, promote the practice of always asking for someone’s pronouns. Whereas, I love it when
people assume my gender, provided they assume it correctly, otherwise I will throw you in imaginary Canadian pronoun jail. But what we all agree on is that many trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people find it easier to navigate
the world using pronouns other than the ones that Ben
Shapiro wants you to use. So if you want me to call you
they I’m gonna call you they. And though I cannot and
will not force you, viewer, to do or say anything, I do hope you use your
free will to freely choose to use your freedom of speech
to choose to do the same. Freely. Well, at least there was a
hideous monster this time. I’m talking about the female lead. Now the fun really
begins, the show’s over. I’m gonna go take my tits
out at a funeral parlor. So goodbye my satanic
subscribers and till next week, go to hell! (upbeat electronic music) “Hand in Hand” by Zoë Blade (static)

Posts created 26570

100 thoughts on “Pronouns | ContraPoints

  1. how about we ditch gendered pronouns entirely? maybe right-wing snowflakes would be more down for that so they dont have to strain their brains too much?

  2. i dont want to hate on you, but the makeup around your eyes kinda reminds me of windows-xp application windows glitching out and its making it really hard for me to focus

  3. "you cut that out now or you'll be going home in an ambulance" Ha that's where you're wrong snowflake, ambulances don't take people home they take people to hospitals

  4. Uuuugh, I'm sorry, but why does it have to be 'they' and 'them'. I got points marked off on essays for that shit and I don't like it now that people can just do it willy-nily, no pun intended.

  5. Shapiro is an obvious executive level troll. He has an agenda and socio-political stance to maintain and he's going to do that, come hell or high water. The only person that might have any real effect on his position is a close friend or family member who was trans or non-binary. Someone he cared enough about to actually feel bad about trolling. Otherwise, he's going to stick with his schtick.

  6. I love how right-wing transphobes call trans people "snowflakes" for (rightly) getting angry at transphobes, but the second they see the word "feminist" or "vegan" they are absoloutley fucking furious

  7. Even if C16 didn’t result in anyone going to prison due to misgendering so far, the issue is that the state now has the power to compel speech, which in principle, is wrong.

  8. I can't believe men can make a living trying to be edgy on TV, I mean did Ben Shapiro ever do anything to enrich anyone's life

  9. "Biology is the nature of pronouns" The German language calls washing mashines, bottles, pages in a book, even the air 'she'

  10. Ultimately transgender people should choose one of two genders to conform to. If they choose to live as a different gender to that assigned at birth, they should do all that is reasonably practicable to live as their chosen gender. This will allow for for a high percentage of correct pronoun use, in normal day to day encounters. Speech should NEVER be enforced by law and any attempt to use litigation to force people to change is morally wrong. Organic change will deliver true tolerance, it takes time but that's why patience is a virtue.

  11. If I like you I’ll treat you with respect. If I don’t like you, I won’t. It’s as simple as that and I expect the same treatment.

  12. I love Contra as a sign of respect I would certainly call her by her preferred pronouns. But to me Contra will always be a man.

  13. I admit, I stopped watching this video about 10 minutes in. Here's the part most of you folks don't get. The majority of us don't care what you want to be called. What we don't want is the ability to use this cause as a way to continue policing speech on other issues. Part of this "movement" is being highjacked by those who want to normalize pedos and if they can begin policing speech, they can then protect the pedos who want to openly love kids and fight for rights for those kids to be able to be sexualized. Do you like that part? Or could you grow up and realize that no one cares about my feelings and no one should care about yours. It's called the real world and you are being ignorant. I love many gay people, love drag shows, and have had relationships within my gender. However, it doesn't mean I am going to be ok with people telling others what they can or can not say, which leads to other bad people getting their way. You need to come out of your rainbow world and see what's really happening to our children on this issue. It's called ABUSE. I don't care who you are or how you identify. You SHOULD care about that.

  14. A couple of things miss the point. Laws going up like that are problems in general, and this doesn't respond to a number of moderate positions on pronouns.

    The bill for compelled speech is still a problem even if nobody has been jailed under it so far. I shouldn't have to give examples of the sorts of laws we could pass (or in some cases still have), that fall into this category. The video seems to excuse this because its generally in the spirit of what the audience wants.

    Also, for people like me the resistance to these new, sometimes enforced, pronouns is that it is just not practical and I am just not interested in another person's inner workings. It is not exactly that I am concerned about words themselves. I will typically default to whatever gender the person looks like out of reflex, but for them to be offended if I get it wrong is where I have to draw the line. I don't know or care what's going on in your personal life. That's for you to live on your own and I support that freedom.

    However, as you go down the continuum of complexity it becomes totally unrealistic. Should I be expected to know the pronouns of a person who chooses them every hour? sometimes using words they just created? Say this person also changes the way they dress twice a day? Do they need to wear a name tag with this on it? What if I'm across the room? I realize many cases are not this extreme, but this isn't a rhetorical question either. I don't know what someone would expect there. But I do think it is way too much work to accomplish the trivially simple task of referring to another human being. Its very difficult to see this as much more than the current social and political obsession with personal identity that can easily boil down to narcissism.

    This also seems to be a bizarre preoccupation around language. If someone like me protects and even celebrates your freedom to dress and behave how you want, and even to come up with your own language rules in your private life, what is the issue with a word that I (allegedly) misuse? Surely that is the least of your worries. Why is everyone so hung up on this? I'm a regular, vanilla, heterosexual man. If someone refers to me with "she" for some reason, I really don't see why it matters. It's a sound. It could be confusing, but it doesn't hurt me. Granted, there are parts of the life of say, a trans woman, where the use of "she" signifies the acceptance of her choices, but in any face-to-face interaction with me its going to be clear that I have nothing against your choices. I wouldn't refuse to bake you a cake, I wouldn't ask details about your genitals. Again, really few things that I could care less about in life than the private sexual or gender identity of a stranger.

    So I actually find a failure of empathy on the part of these people who in many cases seem to self describe as "SJWs". I just don't care about your life any more than you care about mine. If I "misgender" you, or if you find out I think you look unusual, those things aren't happening out of hate. They happen out of a mixture of confusion and apathy. For this, I am sometimes lumped in with "facists". I would hate to be barred from supporting your freedom because you refuse to believe you have much more in common with me than Hitler or Stalin.

  15. You’re only person who can keep me engaged in a 31 minute YouTube video, I usually bring up the speed for anything above 6 minutes but I love this channel so much I don’t have to

  16. "If you're like me, you don't want to just do a thing because you dogmatically believe it's the woke thing to do. You want to understand why you're doing it" YAAASSSSS KWEEEEN. This is exactly how I feel. Thank you for putting it into words.

  17. A response to
    How am I supposed to explain to my child?
    Look get over yourself it's a discussion that would take like 10 minutes oh boo hoo. Also all you would need to say is that people can transition into a different gender because they don't want to be the gender they used to be. Then explain reasons why they didn't like that gender. And as for if they might say they want to change gender unless they are of the age to have a real talk about it tell them we'll talk about when you're old like 12 or 13 jeez.

  18. 19:26 bad take, tantamount to saying "what, does it bother you that i'm pointing at you with a gun? but i haven't even shot you!"

  19. Very thought provoking video, as expected, so here's my 4 cents on the video:

    First of all, language is not merely limited to a prescriptive or descriptive approach. Those categories may be very fitting for an academic analysis, however, in your everyday life language has mostly a practical function. Lemme explain.
    When I walk through the streets of Marburg, engage in meaningless conversation with friends, family and strangers, the language I use has the purpose to get me through the day with as little effort as possible, while leaving the option for some lighthearted entertainment.
    That's why when confronted with a passing transgender person I will probably use the pronoun of their choice. Not because they ask me to, but because it requires the least amount of mental gymnastics to do so.
    Even when they don't completely pass, I would still probably do so as a sign of human respect. Which is, again, the way of least complication.

    On the other hand the bullshittery comes into place tho with the introduction of Non-Binary and other "fluid" unintuitive pronouns.
    When you think about it the use of the sentence "I use x/y pronouns." is already deeply flawed, because you don't use your pronouns in the first place, they are assigned to you by each and every person you talk to individually. And we all know from our own and personal experience that there is absolutely no intent at all behind the use of pronouns, except maybe to describe what we see, or help other navigate.
    And as a relatively self centered person I don't wanna constantly think about the psychological depth of every human being I encounter, their problems, their identities, or whatever. I got my own shit to deal with, which is why expecting me to break my working categories and change my use of language for something as irrelevant as a pronoun (that I don't even address you yourself directly with) and your personal insecurities, is what I call a dick move and also very invasively selfish.
    Thus, in case I encountered some NB person trying to force something as profoundly as different pronouns on me, or challenge my categories, would probably just disassociate from them and leave them to their own problems.
    That is if it is the easiest thing to do of course…

  20. What do you mean by living as a woman not just identifying as one? How are they different? Your identity impacts how you live your life. Why do you want people to confuse you for a woman? Are you that confused yourself? Why don't you feel at home in your own body? These were the points Ben was getting at

  21. I understand and I fully agree, and though I will try to say they/them, I worry that I may slip up if someone looks more like one than the other. I learned from a close friend changing their birth name too that I often DO slip up with names, so pronouns would be likely too.

  22. AHAHAHA I literally lost my mind on the wind instruments chart because not only would it be 100% accurate if all these instruments were lesbians, but I am the most hyper femme person and I play the trombone… guess the butch part of me comes out in strange ways.

  23. 8:44 no joke someone really should refine the language of the Bible to be easier to understand whilst still maintaining the meaning of the original text, it has proven a very difficult read.

  24. 7:13 these guys probably just check what bits you got, if were going by the rule of what the word originally mean't she means you have a vagina.

  25. i can understand a trans person being mad when miss gendered but non binary people that would feel offended if they are not called 'them' that kind of bothers me. it feels like giving to someone an innecesary special treatment somehow. i try to imagine in my head then the case of the persons whose gender isnt evident at first sight, i guess on those cases it would make kind of sense to call them in a neutral way but it makes me think that that could offend people who dont know or dont intend to look like a combination of the two genders. i know that if i was a kid i wouldnt have any problem with accepting that there is people that wants to add gender classifications but as an old person with some stablished worldview i cant help but feel annoyed that in the name of politeness i must be submissively asking people before anything else their gender. maybe im wrong and later ill change my mind, maybe they are not entitled. Part of me just understands it because since i dont like meat, people has judged me in the past, deniying to give me food in restaurants (well this just happened once) or putting a piece of meat on purpose on my plate, back then i didnt understand why they would be doing that or why people would need to start the conversation of why not eating meat is unhealthy, and it just must had been that they were viewing me as a person who demands a special treatment and they had also their ideas of how everything has to be. sometimes is hard to understand when others want different or care about what wouldnt matter to us, after all is an extra effort that others have to put in to please us when our preference is not the one of the majority

  26. The thing about the "facts don't care about your feelings" slogan. That would imply that appeals to emotion are illogical. Well, Ben often brings up his daughters and how he doesn't want to live in a world where he must tell his daughter trans people exist. Call it what you will, that is an EMOTIONAL appeal. Telling a child about transgender folks doesn't cause lasting trauma, his only reason for any of thia (besides profit) is that he likes old gender norms and hates any disruption. Not very logical is it

  27. lol what the fuck is a "pronoun"? Is it like a proverb? Because I've got a good proverb for you: clean your mother-bitching rooms you philistines. Yeah, that's right, this is a call-out, since I know how much you loony lefties love those. I happen to know that some of you have the worst rooms in the history of rooms, possibly ever. You know who you are, and you'll be getting the ransom demands for the safe keeping of this information in the snail mail any day now… But for the rest of you, here's what you need to know about he/him, she/her, and they/them, etc. It's all just words, like they literally can't even hurt you, what are you like 5? Hahahahaha. I'm actually laughing right now. Hahahahahaha. Oh dear, that was very funny, I am currently catching my breath because I was wheezing from laughing so hard at all of your liberal cuckoldry. Ok, now that I've mostly regained my composure, back to the matter at hand: Riverdale is a good fucking show, every time the main one who isn't hispanic or ginger scores and epic dunk I'm like "yaaaaassss kweeeeennnnn" and I actually shoot the thickest ropes this side of the Mississippi whenever Jughead talks about how weird he is, oh FUCK it's such a good show. But then you communists wouldn't know that because you don't watch compilations of Professor Jordan B Peterson PUTTING DOWN liberals (and their pets) on campus, which you really have to to fully understand the meta-contextual critique which the people playing teenagers in their mid-20s are making. In conclusion, I wet the bed sometimes.

    Yours truly,
    Michelle Obama

    P.S. Vote Lib Dem.

  28. Not arguing with your core points – and this video is the best explanation I've heard by far.
    up to a point people can only use the information that they have to hand. And in many circumstances that'll be visual, so a perceived gender/sex will be based on appearance and behaviour. And that'll last with regards to that individual – along with the pronouns used – until further information comes along via conversation or some other means. So until there are clear visual cues for people to use (coloured shirt pins or something), 'wrong' pronouns will unavoidably be used transiently.

  29. Ben sure does use his opinion instead of research a lot, and he sure does get butt-hurt when facts go against his feelings doesn't he?

  30. And yet, this video does nothing to disprove the whole point Ben was making, which is no matter what you feel like or what you prefer to be called, you are what you are when you are born.

  31. If you have multiple pronouns and have a group of friends with multiple pronouns and can keep them straight I'm impressed.

    I struggle not misnaming my friends and family. But it would help if i saw them sober. I call one hey and the other What.

  32. I like this pronoun stuff it's like your own personal title. I'd like to be called MASTER and ppl better get my pronoun right the first time. Thanks for this educational video.

  33. Jesus Christ .. totally hating that this gets million views and I don't. Fuck me. No I mean ContraPoints fuck me literally .. do you still have a dick ? .. I actually do care because of sucking it.
    I want the first dick I suck to be a female one alright. My father cut his one off, I'm always running around helpless and have to be my own man. I don't even know how to shave properly and I refuse to watch a tutorial so I'm still able to do that argument. Fuck this being a man bullshit, I'm master artist and philosopher.

  34. As a non-English speaker with a mother language without gender pronouns (we have one general pronoun for he/she/it which we also usually skip bc our verbs show it) its always funny to see some English to say gender pronouns=bioligical facts=forever unchanging.

  35. You know what? I personally don’t give a shit if you have a dick, a vagina, or whatever chromosomes and if you’re intersex or whatever the hell. If you look womanly enough, I’ll say she, if you look manly, I’ll say he and if you’re appearing androgynous to the point I can’t detect your gender, I’ll say “they.” You can politely correct me if I say your pronoun wrong, and I’ll try sticking to it, but I’ll then personally find it sort of off-putting to be around you for too long since you have that high of a level of expectations from me and I’ll probably avoid you because I don’t wanna go to jail for misgendering you.

  36. Hungarian (which is my native language) also doesn't have gendered pronouns. When I began learning English and German, I found this he-she er-sie thing kind of silly, and I mixed them up all the time 😀 Sometimes I still do, because it just isn't natural for me to think in a dichotomy like this, a person is a person.

  37. You know how sometimes when you watch something really embarrassing happening you have to get up and just move around because it's too much to bear? I got that feeling when Blair and benny paused to talk about how civil and forward thinking they are. How fucking arrogant and self congratulatory can you be over something so inconsequential? Especially when THIS ASSHOLE STILL HATES TRANS PEOPLE.

  38. I'm partially against all the new, custom pronouns, but for a reason nobody seems to expect…

    We have gendered pronouns are in language for the same reason we have the words "cow" and "bull", "mare" and "stud". It's useful to differentiate between the sexes of bovines and horses for purposes of breeding. It's useful to know whether a deer is a mare or a buck because killing the latter doesn't impact their population that much, but if we go around killing mares, their population will drop dramatically.

    On the other side of this coin, it's not useful to differentiate between male and female wolves, fish, worms, and most birds in language. Though since we raise and breed chickens, we have the words hen and rooster.

    Now, this might sound like I'm I'm setting up a defense of Ben Shapiro's position, but I'm not. English gendered pronouns are quickly becoming vestigial at this point. Up until recently, it was useful to differentiate between men and women, as men and women had different stations in life. Men were above women in life. So it was often useful to differentiate between men and women in language.

    I'm not saying that's the way things are supposed to be, I'm simply describing why we have those words in language, and what role they used to fill. Emphasis on past tense here.

    These days, men and women are socially equal… in theory… Whether you want to argue if that's true in practice or not isn't the point, and it's tangential. The fact is that women are expected to have a job and make money as well. Generally speaking, there's nothing besides personal interest in a line of work keeping women from just about any line of work (I'm sure a few exceptions exist). As an example, in the medical field, women were traditionally nurses at best, but these days there's plenty of female doctors as well.

    Likewise, there's very little besides personal interest preventing men from taking traditionally female jobs. There are male hair stylists, secretaries, nurses, etc.

    Now, remember, gender is a social construct. I'd expound upon that, but I'm sure no one reading this needs that to be recapped.

    What I'm getting at here is that gender, as a social construct, is being deconstructed and made irrelevant by society. Our society's gender roles are converging, and as such, we are quickly losing the need for gendered pronouns. Yet we have people who are insisting on special pronouns, some making up totally new pronouns just for themselves because they "don't feel that the typically suggested gender neutral pronouns fit them".

    What keeps the gendered pronouns useful in our language is the fact that men and women generally (though not always) look different and when discussing someone, it at least helps refine the criteria. Also, we aren't yet at a point where medical science can allow anyone to become pregnant.

    We also have gender neutral pronouns already: they/them/etc. When discussing someone whose gender is ambiguous, it's not uncommon to use they/them/etc. So special pronouns in that case are at least partially unnecessary. What could make new pronouns necessary is the fact that "they/them/etc" are ambiguous as to whether they're being used to refer to an individual or a group. "It" is just unacceptable as that pronoun has very negative implications.

    That said, "non-binary" people generally present unambiguously as one or the other gender. If non-binary people who presented in an androgynous fashion were frequent enough to make things awkward enough, then it would be time for society to insert new pronouns into language.

  39. As a Native American and member of the Cherokee Nation, raised in Cherokee culture before I left the reservation as an adult, I take umbrage to the video's use of the term "various indiginous American two-spirit" or however it was precisely worded… The Ojibwa tribe is not "various". There's only one Ojibwa tribe. My tribe, and most tribes do not have this "two-spirit" concept. What I am taking umbrage to here is misrepresentation of Native American cultures. Acting as if one tribe from the Pacific Northwest traditionally having a third gender is indicative of all, most, or even a large number of tribes have it is about as racist as walking up to a Cherokee, raising your right hand up as if to wave, and saying "hau red man".

    I have no issue with the Ojibwa. I have no issue with their third gender, the "two-spirit". I do not, however, appreciate it when certain non-binary people adopt it, act as if it's a part of MY culture and not the Ojibwa culture… And I also don't appreciate the fact that a white person with no native blood at all going around and misappropriating aspects of native cultures while misrepresenting the native cultures as some kind of monolith.

    It annoys me and turns me away from anything they have to say… What really irritates me though is when I get described by other trans folk as a two-spirit JUST because I'm native and trans…

    I am not a two-spirit because I am not Ojibwa. I do not live in a tee-pee. My people had a concept of land ownership prior to the colonists arriving. I am not a nomad who hunts buffalo. I do not "go on the war path". There's no such thing as a "peace pipe", there is however a sacred pipe used for far more than making peace, and marijuana is entirely the wrong herb to be smoking in a sacred pipe. I do not possess mystical powers to talk to animals or feel the pain of the forest. I am not a squaw. I do not live in a wigwam. I do not wear a feathered head dress. I do not pay for things with wampum beads.

    Wait, am did I just stray too far from the limits of most people's education into native American terminology? The point is this… there's hundreds of extant tribes, historically thousands. Each tribe has its own culture. Two-spirit is from Ojibwa, not from Cherokee, not from Sioux, not from Cree, Crow, Choctaw, Mohegan, Miami, Powhatan, Pequot, Algonquin, Pueblo, Inuit, Seminole, or any number of others. It's from Ojibwa.

    I'll add that the Samoans have a third gender called "fa'afafine" which, I could be wrong, but seems to be mostly drag queens and transsexuals these days, which isn't exactly what fa'fafine was about historically… But again, I could be wrong on that, I don't really know much about Samoan culture.

  40. "I look inside myself and ask if I feel like a man or a woman, and the answer throughout all these years is that I feel like shit "
    What a fucking mood lmao

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