Random thought.


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Java Man wrote:
I believe the OP has stumbled on Paizo's secret agenda to promote diversity and tolerance.

Oh no!


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J. A. wrote:
Looking at some of the supplements and AP chapters, there’s a slight but consistent majority of female pronouns and NPCs...

Interesting. Thank you for that information.

Is that more what you were referring to, Shinoskay?

J. A. wrote:
So it depends on the book and the authors, but as far as supplements go the OP’s basic observation isn’t inaccurate.

I mean, what defines an "excessive" use of something is entirely subjective. For one guy, 5% could be too much. For someone else, it's 51%. For me, it could be 100% and I don't think I'd care that much. It might strike me as an odd style choice, but that's about it.


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I haven't made any statements about what is or isn't excessive, and I didn't see that term in the OP's first post. I'm just offering some numbers based on several additional sources.


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There's been some research done about how men tend to perceive "1/3 of a group is women" as "there are more women than men". I suppose this is both reflected in, and explains how you get to a place where, Paizo's books using a roughly equal ratio of masculine and feminine pronouns seems unusual.

I mean, statistically the average group of people should be about 50/50 and groups with more women than men should be roughly as common as groups with more men than women.


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I started playing RPGs in the mid-1980s, and back then I had to routinely go through the whole ‘yes, I am a gamer, no I am not tagging along after my boyfriend, yes I can read and understand my own character sheet, no I did not come to this game just to have sex with you’ justification of my presence.

It has got a lot better over time, to the point that last month I was at a convention thinking ‘all of this safeguarding and asking people their pronouns stuff is a bit OTT, we’re all open-minded adults here...’

Then someone says something like the OP’s post and it reminds me that there are still male gamers who don’t want women in ‘their’ hobby, and resent us being there, who will be routinely sexist, and who will claim outrage the moment anyone points out what they are saying is in some way unacceptable.

And half of me wants to call them out because this is my hobby and I love it, but the other half just feels old and tired and wants to give up.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Losing your peanuts about female overrepresentation in a hobby that's still overwhelmingly male (white, American and hardly educated, to complete the picture) is kinda funny, tho.


I honestly don't care what pronouns an author chooses to use in their work. I do care that the rules of the English language are followed. Please use a proper pronoun. I'd appreciate it if you didn't arrange your sentences to avoid using pronouns as it might lead you to express your ideas in a way that is more difficult to understand.

I was taught that the default pronoun is to use the masculine. He isn't necessarily male. If the subject hasn't been identified in context it isn't a definitive article. Context is very important in any language, and English being the cobbled together, freely adopting, borrowing language it is certainly isn't an exception. Rather it is even more dependent on context that the majority of languages on the planet. Especially spoken English since native speakers tend to drop names very quickly and speak in broken sentences.

In today's society there is a conscious effort to avoid gender bias. Different people have different ideas on how to do that. I don't mind what they want to do as long as they continue to practice proper English. And when they don't I sigh a lot and grumble to myself, because it isn't important as long as what they want to say is clear enough to communicate what I believe is their actual intent.

But I want them to be technically correct, the best kind of correct. Is that really so wrong?


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Meirril wrote:

I was taught that the default pronoun is to use the masculine. He isn't necessarily male. If the subject hasn't been identified in context it isn't a definitive article. Context is very important in any language, and English being the cobbled together, freely adopting, borrowing language it is certainly isn't an exception. Rather it is even more dependent on context that the majority of languages on the planet. Especially spoken English since native speakers tend to drop names very quickly and speak in broken sentences.

In today's society there is a conscious effort to avoid gender bias. Different people have different ideas on how to do that. I don't mind what they want to do as long as they continue to practice proper English. And when they don't I sigh a lot and grumble to myself, because it isn't important as long as what they want to say is clear enough to communicate what I believe is their actual intent.

But I want them to be technically correct, the best kind of correct. Is that really so wrong?

Male-as-default-pronoun, eh?

Albert Bleumenthal wrote:
... everyone will be able to decide for himself whether or not to have an abortion.

Language changes. The definition of "technically correct" is whatever we as a society agree it is, and it'll be different tomorrow than it was today. There's nothing sacred about male-as-default-pronoun. It's simply what language influencers had, until that point, decided was worth codifying into the language. That is changing. Try to keep up.


I agree that whether you feel entitled to be mean to the OP, it won't accomplish anything more than entrenching their worldview.

I've read more pages of Paizo published material than I'd ever admit. And I've never thought there was a bias toward either towards either male or female pronouns. But if we really wanted gender neutral to go with a gender neutral pronoun, it would almost certainly be "they/them".

And while I don't intend to join in on bashing the OP, I do think there must be something more going on than the "excessive use of female pronouns". Maybe they're trolling, but hopefully they're genuinely asking and willing to hear other folks opinions.

For what it's worth, I appreciate the level of exclusivity Paizo promotes even in the small but important things. Pronouns aren't a hill I'd die on for myself, and personally I'd be fine with sole use of "she" as a the generic pronoun. But I know other people don't feel the same way, and I want to respect that. Or at least be understanding.


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I'm sure that once upon a time "male as default pronoun" was considered valid by at least one style guide. However, I do not think you will find one that was published in the last 10 years that will say that is acceptable.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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I'm closing this thread. Paizo.com does not need another thread debating how many times is acceptable to use she/her pronouns in game rules. If you'd like to have a thread about editing style guides, or writing conventions, or the development and evolution of language, you need to find a way to do so without framing it as "are there too many women?"

As a note: Paizo uses the Chicago Manual of Style. The 17th edition was updated to include the singular use of they, and use of they as a substitute for the generic he. Link: Chicago Style for the Singular They. April 3rd, 2017.

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