Got your attention? Sorry to disappoint, but this really isn't gonna be about sex. Not in the way you might think. Julia made a comment on one of my earlier posts and it reminded me of something my dad said once when I was in high school. First of all, I have to explain the grammatical usage of the word gender:
Second of all I have to explain that I'm in no way complaining about Julia's use of the word gender, I totally get that it has become acceptable, in recent years, to use the word that way. It's just that it reminded me of this:
A. A grammatical category used in the classification of
nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and, in some languages, verbs
that may be arbitrary or based on characteristics such as sex
or animacy and that determines agreement with or selection of
modifiers, referents, or grammatical forms.
B. One category of such a set.
C. The classification of a word or grammatical form in such a
D. The distinguishing form or forms used.
Usage Note: Traditionally, gender
has been used primarily to refer to the grammatical
categories of “masculine,” “feminine,”
and “neuter,” but in recent years the word has
become well established in its use to refer to sex-based
categories, as in phrases such as gender gap
and the politics of gender. . .
My dad, the English teacher, was trying to boil down the principles of how and when to use the words sex and gender. He said to me, "Words have gender, people have sex." Then he got all flustered when he realized that he said something that he wasn't meaning to say. It was funny to see my usually unflappable dad flapping!