Stephen Measure

A Modest Proposal for the Replacement of Our Outdated Gender Binary Classification System with One More Suited for Our Progressive Age
March 10, 2016

(with a hat tip to Jonathan Swift)

As our society continues its progress into uncharted (and surely good!) territory, we continue to find ourselves stymied by outdated, unnecessary concepts left over from pretechnological ages. Left unchecked, this constant backward clinging to obsolete wisdom will do nothing but stall our growing (and surely good!) ability to mold reality into a shape that better fits our individual preferences.

And so, as others have done in times past, I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.

Of all the concepts blocking our absolute control over reality, none are more stubborn or more threatening than the continual, nonstop (and frankly quite aggravating) idea that gender should be based on biology. We have put earnest effort into eradicating this vile ideology, even employing anti-discrimination laws to criminalize wrong thinking. Yet, aided by natural forces and the obstinacy of so-called "common sense", the ideology remains, proving it isn't possible to simply redefine gender, we must completely remove and replace it instead.

And that is what I am proposing here today: gender must be stricken from our consciousness, the words man and woman, male and female, cut from the dictionary; every gynecologist and urologist jailed; all anatomy textbooks burned; and any instruction on reproduction, pregnancy, or childbirth absolutely and utterly banned.

Then, with that unpleasantness behind us, we will replace the ejected idea of gender with a more flexible (and open-minded) classification: supergender. As the prefix "super" makes clear, supergender is superior to gender. It is a label of self-expression we can choose (and replace) at will. No more will we be tied down by antiquated notions such as purpose or reason. Yes, my friends, it's a new age—a "super" age.

To escape Mother Nature's "tyranny of two", there will be three defined supergenders, each named after an extinct animal (demonstrating our triumph over nature): passen, dodird, and wooloth—named after the passenger pigeon, dodo bird, and woolly mammoth, respectively.

And let me restate the best part: supergender is based completely on personal preference, which means we are free to identity as whatever supergender we wish. Furthermore, if the three supergenders provided are insufficient to express one's individuality, then the following can be added as prefixes, suffixes, or both: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti. So, one could refer to their supergender as dodirdmi, or solwooloth, or fatisolpassenredo. The possibilities are endless! And if that doesn't prove flexible enough, the naming rules themselves can be customized as necessary, including the one described by this sentence. We must not block in any way the diversity of self-expression that supergender provides. (Say goodbye to the oppressive gender binary!)

I now turn to a few matters of housekeeping. The incredible diversity of supergender will require modifications to our current paper forms and data entry screens. The banned category of gender will, of course, be removed, and supergender put in its place; but I must stress how imperative it is that supergender never be presented as a fixed set of choices. It should instead always be an open text field, large enough to accommodate at least twenty letters; and a truly inclusive organization would provide even more space, perhaps enough for 100 letters, in case someone wishes to express themselves in prose or haiku. (Caution: Haikus are only permitted for those with Japanese ancestry. Anyone else would be guilty of cultural appropriation and publicly flogged.)

While it's true there are no physical characteristics that allow us to distinguish one supergender from another, the lack of any correlation with the material world shouldn't be taken as a negative, rather it should be celebrated. We are throwing off the shackles of what actually is and replacing it with what makes us feel better about ourselves!

However, it must be acknowledged that a lack of physical cues might cause confusion regarding someone's supergender, which could result in unintended (but severely punished) offenses; and for this reason, it would be best for all of us to start wearing name tags wherever we go, with the top half stating our chosen supergender and the bottom half listing our preferred pronouns.

This list of preferred pronouns should include at a minimum the nominative, possessive, and objective cases, but English majors may wish to include a custom intensive/reflexive pronoun as well. It is recommended each pronoun be no longer than ten letters; however, those who can only express themselves verbosely are allowed to use as many letters as they wish.

A forward slash should be used to separate each pronoun on your name tag, but if you are offended by forward slashes, a backward slash can be used instead, unless you think backward slashes are too suggestive of reactionary, conservative—and therefore undesirable—thinking, in which case a hyphen could be deployed; but if you use hyphens to separate your pronouns and one of your pronouns itself contains a hyphen, please surround that pronoun with parenthesis; however, if your pronoun is short and your parenthesis extra curly, this might unintentionally create the mental association of a ball; therefore, in that scenario it is highly recommended you tape a piece of paper over your pronoun list (with tape on the top, creating a flap that can be lifted as desired) and write the following on the outside of the paper flap: "Trigger Warning: This pronoun list contains parenthesis which might trigger disturbing childhood memories of dodgeball brutality."

Always remember that humans are fragile, delicate creatures. We must always be cautious. Nothing in life is worse then causing offense or discomfort.

Let's turn our attention now to a most pressing issue: restrooms. All buildings must, at a minimum, have separate restrooms for each of the three primary supergenders. Ideally, restrooms will be provided for many of the other options as well; however, given the infinite variety, it will be impossible to accommodate every supergender, so any extra restrooms beyond the primary three should be assigned to the most popular alternative supergenders (based on a semi-annual poll taken at your expense).

Although it is mandatory for society to accommodate everyone in every minute particular, there might still be times when your supergender will not have an available restroom. In the dark ages of gender this would have been a great inconvenience, but in the enlightened age of supergender, such situations need not be an issue at all. Remember that supergender is based entirely on one's selection and we are free to alter our selection at any time, even temporarily. It is therefore recommended you write your supergender on your name tag using pencil. Then, if your supergender lacks an assigned restroom (or your restroom is too crowded, or it's out of toilet paper, or the only free toilet is a urinal and, for some unexplainable reason, your evacuatory organs aren't physically compatible with that style of toilet), you can simply take out your pencil, erase your current supergender, write in the name of the supergender with the most optimal restroom, take care of your business in said restroom, and then return to your preferred supergender once you have exited the restroom (or choose a new one, whatever brings you bliss).

As social animals whose beliefs are furthered through effective traditions (which are totally fine as long as they aren't conservative), we will establish three annual holidays to celebrate the three primary supergenders. (Tear down the tyranny of two!) Activities will be decided on a regional basis, but some possible ideas include: burning Mother Nature in effigy, acting out the final death throes of your favorite extinct animals in wholesome family skits, or performing stack ranking of your neighbors based on their commitment to social justice and impaling the bottom 5%.

While I'm sure my proposal so far has excited you (Who doesn't love learning fun new holiday traditions?), before I conclude, we unfortunately must discuss the uncomfortable topic of safe space violations. This is a tender topic. In the wide spectrum of human depravity, the violation of someone's safe space (whether by microaggression or macro) is certainly one of the most grievous acts ever conceived in the dark heart of humankind. In rare occasions, you will be shocked to hear, this violation is done intentionally. But more often than not, it's done unintentionaguilty. (If someone says you are, then you are.)

Safe space violations are as varied as the sand of the sea, but this proposal will focus on those related specifically to supergender. A supergender safe space violation consists of two individuals: the offender and the offended. The offender is someone who has said, done, or thought, something that the offended takes as offensive toward their supergender. Whenever an offended claims offense by an offender regarding their supergender, the apology ritual must be invoked, which requires the offender to kneel before the offended and state: "I have defiled your supergender. Please slap me across the face three times."

If the offended agrees with the primacy of three supergenders, they shall slap the offender the required three times and the ritual is thereby ended. If, however, the offended has a more expansive view of supergender categories, they shall slap the offender three times three times three times. (Tear down the tyranny of two!) Then the offended will spit upon the offenders' head and call them a vile bigot. Finally, the apology ritual will conclude as the offender and offended embrace each other and rejoice together in the equality and diversity of supergender.

Having shared with you my proposal, I can conceive of no reasonable objections to anything discussed therein. Countless informal studies, done without the limitations of control groups, have repeatedly proven that people are happiest when we go along with whatever they want, and supergender does exactly that, without any concern for facts or other inconveniences. No longer will we be bound by reality or biology, those vestiges of a pretechnological age. Never again must we listen to that shrill harpy Mother Nature. Let lower animals heed her obsession with coupling. We humans have progressed beyond such banal matters and are masters of everything within our grasp. The sky is whatever color we say it is, and water is only wet if that makes us feel good about ourselves.

The End

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Available as eBook:


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Related essays:
Gender Identity Is a Self-Defeating Ideology
Divine Authority and "Gender Identity"
Opposition to "Gender Identity" Is Driven by Logic, Not Religion
Some Connected Thoughts about Gender

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