People are used to the idea of the whole ‘Y/you’ thing when addressing groups in the D/s community. But it wasn’t until i started trying to write something that was consistently Gynarchic in its grammar that i realised just how much you could do to reflect a gender-based power structure in every sentence you wrote, if you wanted to. You have to be a real special sort of nerd to be interested in this, but what are blogs for if not niche interests?
It seemed to me that when the Gynarchy comes [?], we’re going to need some new grammatical rules. So here is the Gynarchic orthography i have found to work, at least in fiction.
In summary: the logic of Gynarchic orthography is to assert the supremacy of the Female in every detail, on the reasonable and psychologically verified basis that the language we use affects the form of our minds.
1) It is cumbersome and ugly to do the ‘Y/you’ thing all the time (eg in the sentence above: ‘the language W/we use’). So in cases of a mixed gender group, normal rules of grammar apply.
2) Pronouns should be capitalised appropriately for single-gender groups. i met Them on Tuesday means a male meeting a Female group.
3) Gendered nouns can also be capitalised appropriately. So, for example, Woman is always written with a capital, as is Female. (Stop giggling; it’s an appropriate mark of respect.) man is always written with a lower-case m, even at the start of a sentence, or in a title.
4) In fiction, this gives you the flexibility to indicate a Character’s psychology (capital, C, see, so i’m talking about a Female Character) through the capitalisation in Their (there She is again) speech. If a male character says i know Her rather than I know her, you immediately know something extra about him.
5) There are a lot of other words which are gendered, if not as clearly as Woman. Someone would need to come up with a list of what did and did not need to be treated according to this rule. For my own fiction, the list of Female words (ie those that are always capitalised) includes obvious things like Girl, She, Her, Mistress, Lady, Sister, Breast, Goddess, Gown; but also Beauty, Cruelty, Intellect, Comfort, Glory, Command, Victory, Whip, Gold, Power. Some professions or roles (Scholar, Ruler, Owner, Victor) are classified as Female words, because (in the world of those particular books at least) a male cannot be any of these things. male words include: man, boy, he, him, his, slave, servant, brother; but also: defeat, captive, kneel, chain, work, obey, pain. Again, some roles purely associated with the male gender (soldier, prisoner, idiot) are also male nouns. But the list would clearly depend on the kind of Gynarchy you were dealing with.
6) Gender in some other words can be flexibly indicated by capitalisation, like ‘Character’ above. So, write Runner or runner or Speaker or speaker and you know where you are. You could even distinguish Boot from boot if you wished; they are, after all, fairly different things.
7) Envious of the option in other languages to reflect respect in pronouns (Vous or Sie for a Woman; tu or du for a man), i did experiment with ‘thou’ for the men but it just compounded the usual problem of speech in fantasy novels sounding daft. It’s probably best to avoid public ridicule (herstory comes to mind).
i don’t think it would take so very long to get used to such rules. We could even ask Microsoft to give us a Gynarchic autocorrect button in Word. i wonder how that would go down.