I was going to post this as a Facebook status.
Then I thought maybe people wouldn’t take it seriously. I can tend to be a bit sarcastic and sardonic, so maybe it isn’t the best forum. Blogging would let me be a bit more in depth with my thought process too.
I started thinking about this while I was cleaning up:
The trend in modern society is to tear down societal gender norms. There are numerous way this is done. With children, it’s most often in regards to toys, colours, clothes, and interests. It’s been a slow process, in fact, it’s still ongoing, but children have more opportunities to explore ways to express themselves. With adults, this type of thing tends to be a bit more of a moot point. You’re freed from the overbearing parental figures in your life that are trying to make you fit into pre-fabricated gender moulds. When we grow up it’s different concepts.
Typically we are talking about professions. We’re also looking at “acceptable ways to behave in public”. Women get it particularly rough, as there are jobs that they are constantly told are too “macho” for them. They’re also supposed to act “more refined and proper”…whatever that is supposed to mean. Men get a much longer leash. That’s not to say they aren’t saddled with gender norms. There’s the constant cloud of being called “weak” for their behaviour, or choice of profession.
There are many, many, many, more layers to these issues. A lot of people are able to work through them, sadly, there are those who can’t. As I said, we are improving, slowly, but some progress is always better than regressing. What sparked in my head today concerned names. Naming babies in particular.
Historically, male names have been re-appropriated as female names by adding a suffix of some sort.
Henry > Henrietta
Paul > Paula
George > Georgina
Charles > Charlotte
(Funny how the letter “A” seems to be so connected to “feminizing” names)
Of course, there are also a slew of names that have become generally accepted as being gender neutral.
Since we’re tearing down gender walls though, will it be long before we start seeing traditionally male names given to girls? Will we see the reverse ever happen? I know it’s not uncommon for a middle name to given in honour of a relative of the opposite gender. It’s interesting to think one day this might be the last remnant of traditional gender associations.