The question “If a 12 year old child uses his mother's car without her consent” contains unnecessary gender references for both the parent and child. At 2:06 pm, 27 March 2022 (UTC), I left a comment suggesting that these gender references be removed. At 8:12 pm, 27 March 2022 (UTC), the OP edited the question to remove one of the gender references:

A 12 year old child uses his mother'sparent's car without her consent.

This edit did not do its job very well. It left the word “her” in place, and left the word “mother” in the question. Still, it clearly implies that the OP agrees with my suggestion of removing gender references.

Subsequently, I suggested an edit to finish the job (and clean up the post a bit). I used this edit summary to indicate I was respecting OP’s wishes:

Complete previous edit by removing all gender references; copyedit.

Still, the suggestion was rejected for not respecting OP’s wishes. Why?

3 Answers 3


I rejected the edit. When a hypothetical has been made using gender specific terms such as "mother", it adds no value to change them to gender-neutral ones like "parent" instead. Another user should not generally make such edits, in my view. They do not respect the OP's wishes as expressed by the original post. Indeed I frown on even suggesting them. "Mother" is a perfectly valid term.

I will admit that I failed to notice that the "previous edit" was by the OP. The edit summery did not mention that.


I too rejected this edit. Not only for the reasons given by David, but also because the OP had said in a comment that this was for a work of fiction so I took it that the characters' sex was relevant to the wider narrative.

  • 3
    That was another good reason to reject, yes. Apr 1, 2022 at 13:06

While I have not rejected it, I would if it came over my desk.

Fact is, that ungendering does not add something. In fact, it might even remove a crucial bit for some jurisdictions. Especially, where the legal praxis is not exactly equal when it comes to custody.

For example, in Germany (but for extreme cases or death of the mother), it is nigh impossible to get sole custody as the father while the child is still nursed in the first months - in part because the court case would take longer than this time anyway and in part because the court would rule for the mother in that case for the father just biologically can't provide what is best in that time. Likewise, it is legal praxis, it was a longstanding fact that in default the mother often ended up having custody by default.

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