rohina at shaw.ca
Wed Dec 3 19:44:26 EST 2003
>I've mostly seen it in contemporaries of Nesbit (and earlier) but only in a
>general sense--I can't cite many examples. What I've seen most often is
>referring to an infant as "it," not so much older children. I don't know
>why that is.
It goes back to medieval conceptions of gender (as a part of a person's
identity, not the physiology) as something that only develops as children
move into adulthood. Shakespeare refers to children as "it" most of the
time, too. I think when the usage rolled back to infants it was following
an idea that infants don't really have gender in terms of social identity.
>who calls all her kids "you there"
>on the assumption that they know who they are
And they do, too.
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