Riley Dennis, a contributor to Everyday Feminism, explained why she believes using the wrong gender pronoun, particularly when used to refer to a transgender or nonbinary individual, is violent. Riley begins by defining ‘misgendering’ as “the act of referring to someone by the wrong gender or implying that they are gender that they are not.” An example would be referring to a self-identified pansexual, genderfluid individual with he/she pronouns instead of using gender-neutral pronouns (e.g., they/them or xe/xir pronouns).
While Riley admits that most dictionaries define ‘violence’ as “the use of physical force,” she believes that definition is horribly outdated. She stresses that dictionaries are more prescriptive than descriptive and that definitions of words adapt over time as our language and usage changes. Despite this claim, many feminists use the dictionary definition of ‘feminism’, “the social, political, and economic equality between the sexes,” to promote their cause.
To further support her narrative, Riley cites the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of ‘violence’ as being “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.” To Riley’s credit, she admits that this definition is purposely broad to include differences in cultural influence, which she believes includes non-physical forms of violence.
Riley believes misgendering falls under the category of psychological violence. Riley stresses that it is important to not only use the correct gender pronoun in reference to transgender individuals that you like because “there are some not-so-great trans people in the world.” She is likely referring to a transgender conservative YouTuber named Blaire White who has made several response videos to Riley Dennis (I highly suggest you check them out).
If you enjoyed this article, check out some of Riley’s other ridiculous videos, including why she believes genital preferences are discriminatory, biological sex does not exist, violence against conservatives is justified, saying “it’s okay to be white” is racist, being fat is healthy, and the world map is racist.
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