Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Changing Money

There are some ideas so lowly that they deserve not even the slightest attention, and yet, when those ideas are taken seriously by persons in authority, it behoves us to pay them heed and due ridicule, lest without such they become emboldened and broadly embraced. I should not therefore like to sully these pages with mention of the embarrassing academic rash that is Gender Studies, but feel bound to do so, having strayed upon the following words:
What is the gender of money? Depending on the audience, such a question might elicit blank stares or furrowed brows. The tacit assumption of neoclassical economics, for example, is that money—just like the field of economics itself—is genderless. However, a growing number of feminist economists have challenged the field’s claims to scientific objectivity. Their work exposes the sexist and heterosexist assumptions of neoclassical economics and its foundational myths. [1]
I beg that you desist for a moment from staring blankly or furrowing your brows or rolling your eyes to the heavens in a silent plea for strength, and let instead your mind fall to the understanding that Professor Cady thinks that money is male; and insofar as an argument for this conclusion can be gleaned from amongst the blather, it runs as follows:
.....
Privileged things are male,
Money is privileged (as the measure of value or the medium of economic exchange),
Therefore,
Money is male.
.....
Here I shouldn’t think it unseemly if you permitted yourself a tut, though I ask that you remain attentive; for Professor Cady goes on to tell us that money has not always been male, since, for much of the Middle Ages, “it was not the general equivalent of economic exchange”; and since it was not male, she assumes that it was female, an assumption that some of her more exotic colleagues might find deplorable, since it assumes the social orthodoxy of only two genders, very much a faux pas in the purview of Gender Studies, and excludes the possibility, for instance, that money was — and still is — a transvestite. At which point, I think it only right that you should go on your way, muttering darkly, and find something more worthy of your attention.
.....
[1] Diane Cady, “The Gender of Money”, Genders, 44, 2006.

8 comments:

Devil's Kitchen said...

Or, I suppose, a true hermaphrodite...

DK

Tom Paine said...

Money is not merely female, it is Polly Toynbee, in that it is irresistably attracted to Gordon Brown.

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

Tom,

"in that it is irresistably attracted to Gordon Brown. "

...Who treats it like the whore that it is...

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

The money that is, not Polly Toynbee you understand.

[Hides]

dearieme said...

Jimmy O'Goblins - obviously male.

Muslihoon said...

Not to sully this most erudite thread, but if money is male, does this mean that money-hungry men are homosexual?

And since these feminists would undoubtedly posit that the main money-earners have always been, remains, will continue to be men, the counsel in Scripture that "the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:10) is actually a statement against homosexuality (men loving a male thing, therefore men loving men)?

Paul Davies said...

Seems to be a lot of blather over what is essentially a technical matter.

The word 'gender', of course, unless one is in circles where uttering the word 'sex' seems a tad inappropriate, relates to words.

As the word 'gender' comes from the French, (via the Latin most probably) it is to French we need look for an answer.

And the French for 'money' is masculine. Ergo money is masculine. Of course, we get into a bit of trouble when considering that the word for 'cash' is feminine.

One could opine that money becomes female when it is spent, as it is women who are so manifestly more experienced in spending previously male money, but one could get in trouble for saying such a thing, so one won't. :)

J.Cassian said...

The word for money in Old English (feoh) was neuter. On the other hand, the modern English word obviously comes from the French monnaie ("coin"), which is feminine. What are we to do to avoid transgressing the mighty laws of Gender Studies?