Inclusive, egalitarian, non-sexist… There are many ways to describe this practice of writing in the French language, but they all share the same goal: to promote a better representation of all people in writing. POSITIVR is committed to this path and we explain why.
Five years after the controversy over a Hatier textbook that first uses the centerpiece in its pages, inclusive writing continues to make headlines. Banned in several French regions, under the spell of Jean-Michel Blanquer, Minister of National Education, as well as by several candidates for the 2022 presidential election, inclusive writing continues to advance in higher education. , as well as in the Parisian public space. as in many French-language media.
to chat† The Inrocks† Weather or Slate and Neon practice it openly. POSITIVR.fr has decided to swell the ranks of press titles working for more egalitarian writinga reflection of our daily struggle for a society that defends the rights of women and LGBTQ+ people.
What is inclusive writing?
But before we go any further, it’s helpful to recall what is supposedly inclusive writing, in concrete terms. The one often reduced by its opponents to a complicated, illegible and ridiculous spelling can be summarized as follows: it is “all graphic and syntactic attention to ensure equal representation between women and men”can we read in the Includes Writing Handbookpublished by the communication agency Mots-Clés, specialized in the subject.
In particular, with its rule of “masculine taking precedence over feminine,” the French language seems unequal, sexist, and uninclusive to many people. By prioritizing the masculine (men) in the French language, we make the feminine (women) invisible. This observation can be transposed into society where men are the majority in the media, representations in the public space or are still overrepresented in certain high positions and professions. From there to say that everything is connected…
How do you write more inclusive?
In order to give women back their place in the language and in society, inclusive writing has resurfaced in recent years. “Revised” yes, because this way of writing is in fact not new, it is based on old rules of grammar and spelling of our language, Latin, while we offer new solutions reported by the agency Mots-Clés or the Supreme Council for the equality of women and men in its guide to non-sexist communication.
Here are some principles:
- Similarity in gender and number names of professions and functions: author, chef, deputy, etc.
- The use of the feminine and the masculine according tolist in alphabetical orderuse of double bend (the French men and women), using the terms known as epicenes (students, journalists, scientists, artists, volunteers), i.e. who do not vary by gender or by broader expressions (persons of French nationality, the French population).
- The use of center to include both men and women in sentences that concern a group of people: the French.
- The use ofproximity match, an old rule, now gone in favor of the “masculine prevailing over the feminine” which consists in matching in gender and number to the closest word. Corneille or Racine, for example, practiced it.
“Above all, I thought I owed tears, prayers,
To dedicate these three days and these three nights whole† †
What used on POSITIVR.fr †
in ‘s house POSITIVR.fr, we believe that every gesture made can bring us closer to a more egalitarian and inclusive society. This struggle also includes language, the visibility of women and the inclusion of all genders in our way of writing.
These are the new rules we are experimenting with on our site, in keeping with everyone’s customs and sensitivities:
- Feminization of the names of professions and functions systematic (except when a person himself decides to use a masculine noun to define himself): author, chef, prefect, teacher, etc.
- Grant titles in gender and number.
- Privilegewhen it comes to a group of people, epicene common names as population, students, artists, scientists, academics, customers, patients…
- When an epicene name is not necessarily possible, use double bend : the French men and women, the participants.
- List a group of people in alphabetical order : altogether.
- Use proximity rule (for agreements on gender and number) instead of the “male trumps female” rule.
We have also decided to put aside the focal point, a major source of tension, for several reasons and mainly because it is currently not very accessible to the visually impaired or dyslexic audience.
Because language is constantly evolving and the possibilities are endless, we advocate the use of a living language, far from the shackles currently imposed by an Academy that refuses any question. Our wish: to expand our practices, always trying to do the best.
And finally, we remain attentive to our readership on this topic. POSITIVR.fr wants to be open to proposals, discussions and reflections on issues related to all inequalities.
- Inclusive writing: linguist Julie Abbou laments “the fantasized vision of pure French”