Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm male - again!

Awhile ago I reviewed a paper, and just recently read the summary review an editor made of all the reviews. I was the third reviewer (mu ha ha!). The summary went something like this:
Reviewer 1 discussed blahblahblah. However, Reviewer 1 was also concerned about blahblahblah. (no gender)
Reviewer 2 noticed blahblah. And, later, Reviewer 2 also had some questions about blahblahblah. (no gender)
Reviewer 3 found the paper blahblahblah. However, he is concerned about blahblahblah." (it's a boy!)
I was at first really amused by this. As I said, I have a name that at least in Western culture is decidedly female. I have a picture on my website, and don't look particularly masculine as far as I am aware. Plus, the editor invited me to review this paper, so in theory I was at least somewhat a known entity.

But on reflection, I looked up the editor's native language, and the language actually don't really have gender pronouns. In fact, speakers of it frequently use 'she' to mean 'he' in lots of different contexts. (Kind of cool actually.) So even if the editor was thinking in English when writing the summary, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that actually some native-language pronounery was slipping in.

(I just made up that word. And wrote this whole post without ever revealing the gender of the editor. Do I get a gender-neutral, gluten-free* cookie?)

(*) In case any readers were considering sending me cookies in the future, please, for the love of god, do not make them gluten-free. 

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