Your name must make your gender clear

(58 Posts)
AmandaPayne Fri 01-Feb-13 14:49:40

I was interested in this news story from Iceland. Authorities decided that a girl had been given a 'male' named and denied her official use of it for her entire childhood.

It got me thinking. For all our increasing obsession in the UK with pink bumbos, blue nursing covers, do you think we are becoming more comfortable with unisex names? And is it a good thing for feminism that you can't always judge someone's gender from their name?

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird Wed 20-Feb-13 21:36:18

I know a reverse one. Ok it's a bit rare, but - Artemis. Definitely a girls name in origin (Greek goddess) but now often thought of as unisex or even a boys name.

The shortened version of DC1's name is gender-neutral.

DC2's name is usually used for boys in the UK but more commonly for girls in the US.

DC3 and DC4 have names that are only ever used for the gender that they are. I wonder if I used those names because they are b/g twins and I wanted them to be easily differentiated from Day 1 as I was keen for their individuality to be apparent.

I don't like the connotations when someone gives their baby girl a strongly-identified-as-male (so not conventionally unisex) name and says that it's because they want her to have a "strong" name -- seems like it's giving her the message that men are strong and you can only be strong insofar as you emulate men.

On the reverse name trivia, I believe Douglas was originally a female name but you'd never hear it used that way now.

EldritchCleavage Thu 21-Feb-13 11:35:14

The thing is that there are now so many people in the UK who are not of European origin and have names from their parents' culture that don't (to most of the majority population) identify their gender. And we manage with that just fine.

Where you need to add gender as part of the identification of the right person (e.g. some court documents and official registers), you can simply put the gender in brackets after the name. But mostly, people just don't need to know and do cope with not knowing.

kickassangel Mon 25-Feb-13 01:23:35

I was having a conversation about this with dh for the use of ms etc. I think we should just use first name last name, no prefix. If writing to someone for business then use both parts of the name, or just use first name if you know them better.

I am very much in favor of getting rid if titles/prefixes, and have a very liberal attitude to names. Who made up the rules about how to spell them and who's allowed them?

nailak Mon 25-Feb-13 01:31:27

Did you know the majority of Sikh first names are unisex, but traditionally gender is defined by surname?

like harpreet harjinder harjit
manjit manpreet manjinder

parmajit parminder

rushpal

and so on

nailak Mon 25-Feb-13 01:32:15

the surnames are singh and kaur meaning lion/lioness

The urban legends at least are that Big Daddy and John Wayne were given girls' names so they would learn to fight :/ Don't think that quite qualifies them as examples of feminist naming!

As Widowwoman says in Germany something in the name has to define gender, can be the middle name. I have never heard an explanation of why. Tbh I have a not often used but not really out-there gender neutral name and really hated it growing up. It has been mentioned on the thread in fact... Sometimes a gender neutral or other gender name will have the opposite effect and cause a child to feel they need to be more stereotypically masculine or feminine rather than less I think...

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