forms of address

I play FL as an ocelot of mysterious and indistinct gender because I liked the option when I signed up. I carried the non-specifying of gender over to the forum partly as an experiment, but I’m tired of people not noticing my old .sig and gendering me (and always and only male, which is interesting and more than a little depressing), so:

.sig changed, cis female here, use female pronouns and forms of address if absolutely necessary, thank you kindly.

Ah, the good ol’ “no girls on the internet” trope. I didn’t miss it at all.

I think you may be revealing more than just your gender, here, though–I haven’t seen “.sig” (with the dot) in probably a decade, at least!

I agree there’s somewhat a problem of gender assumption going on, but I do somewhat blame the English language for not having gender neutral pronouns.

My pronouns are Correspondence sigils.

I, too, chose the &quotother&quot option when selecting genders mostly because I liked that it existed. It is an unfortunate truth that people will default to male when gender is not known, even when anthropomorphizing otherwise genderless and sexless objects. I find it best just not to presume, particularly on the internet. Despite what many people believe, women do actually exist on the internet, and in significant quantities, at that

Personally, I do consider myself agendered, but use male pronouns for convenience’s sake. I am no man*, nor am I a woman; but that does not mean I am nothing.

I’m glad you posted this, m’lady ocelot. On that note… do you have any advice on what formal terms of address one may use for a woman that don’t sound patronizing, or are otherwise unacceptable? ‘Lady’ without the ‘m’ often sounds sarcastic, ‘Madam’ is slang for… well, Sinning Jenny, ‘Miss’ and associated things fall prey to the unfortunate ‘marriage-divide’ thing, and even ‘Ma’am’ is apparently received by some as a slight to their age.

…Really, it’s hard to find many words that are appropriate, since all the existing ones tend to acquire negative connotations by way of having been used by prejudiced people for hundreds of years. There is ‘Ms.’, of course, but I find it to be rather too clipped for a lot of situations, and it’s always good to have synonyms. ‘M’Lady’ barely scrapes by due to its hopelessly antiquated nature, and even then I can see it being taken as merely a sort of ironic obsequiousness.

*I do occasionally refer to myself as a man, but only when dramatically appropriate, or when the amount of linguistic contortions required to do otherwise are particularly egregious.
edited by Alexander Feld on 1/11/2014

Thank you kindly, all.

Ah, I mentioned being a parent on another thread! But yes, if my underscores for emphasis didn’t already date me to a particular formative era of the Internet, .sig definitely does . . .

As Flyte says below, I like singular-they (and use it for at least one friend at their request), but this was more than pronouns, it was &quotthanks man&quot or &quotMr. Ocelot.&quot

There’s a way to make people extra-careful about getting them right!

If there is no other professional or conventional context (apparently in some political contexts &quotMadam&quot is preferred, obviously if there is a professional title you should use that), then I would recommend sticking with Ms. unless the person has expressed another preference.

To avoid the problem, I hereby declare you all on a first-name basis with me (unless I’m mad at you, in which case I often jump several levels of formality, but in that case you’d know).
edited by an_ocelot on 1/11/2014

[quote=an_ocelot]
To avoid the problem, I hereby declare you all on a first-name basis with me (unless I’m mad at you, in which case I often jump several levels of formality, but in that case you’d know).[/quote]
Very well then, uh… an. :)

I’m not sure &quotthanks man&quot is always an assumption of gender. I have been told &quotThanks Man&quot in face-to-face conversation - the &quotMan&quot is just used as a placeholder, like &quotMate&quot.

The fact that &quotman&quot is considered appropriate for both genders is interesting, and an example of the men-as-default-women-as-alternate trope. Or just the fact that masculinity is lauded while markers of femininity are considered belittling.

I actually like to assume that everyone on the internet is female unless there are obvious clues that they prefer to be considered male. With 51% of the world’s population being female, I feel that statistically, I am more likely to be correct. (Not that I always manage it, of course - socially constructed norms continually reinforce the men-as-default narrative.)

ETA: Would &quotMy dear delicious ocelot&quot be considered an acceptable form of greeting?
edited by dragonridingsorceress on 1/11/2014

dragonridingsorceress, I tend to assume people on the Internet are female because that was overwhelmingly the case in my more recent significant Internet community.

And working on a rule of thumb of substituting “ocelot” for “friend” or “(name),” yes, in this context that would be acceptable though certainly not necessary.

Odd, ocelot, I always assumed (correctly it turns out) you were female. I definitely like there being a neutral option in game, I wish it were easier to use in the English language as well. I have several non-binarily-gendered friends that would benefit with widely used ones. One advocates the singular ‘they’ but the grammar of that one bothers me a bit.

One possibility for how that came about is the influence of late 18th century writings on modern American culture and the widespread misogyny of the time being revised in response to Womens’ Rights movements by the expedient of a linguistic change. Not the whole story to be sure, but it adds a bit of historiography for understanding and conveniently adds revisionist history to the hate pile.[li]