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A Rose By Any Other Name

Michael to Janet Lea and Page, there are millions of Baby Name Books that guide parents in selecting the right name for their little bundle of joy. With names having both cultural and historical meanings, these books are intended to pick the best name for a child that describes the characteristics that the parents wish for their child to have. For example, A parent might decide to chose their soon to be baby girl to be called Adding meaning Noble, gentle, delicate (http:// www. Thanklessness. Com/search/O/gentle).

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Or perhaps Ethan, a Hebrew name for a baby boy that means firm, strong, impetuous (http:// bandoleer’s. Protectionist. Com/meaning_of_Ethan. HTML). While parents search for names that have pleasing characteristics, there is one huge aspect that goes into the name selecting process: Gender. Before the child is even born, parents begin defining gender norms for their child the second they find out the sex of the baby. Looking towards masculine names such as Michael, David and Adam, parents wouldn’t dare name consider one of these Ames for their baby girl.

Society clearly defines gender appropriate names; there is a set name for men and female. Even in Different languages, such as Spanish adding a n “a” to feminine and “o” to masculine words, a clear distinction between male and female attributes. Our society feels comfortable with these genders normative names. When we are introduced to a man named Josh and a woman named Sally, our views are not disturbed; there is no confusion in our mental process.

Now there are gender-neutral names such as Taylor and Cameron, that may take more inconsideration but once given a male or female face the confusion is solved. However once names that have already been socially defined as belonging to a certain sex are given to another group, a problem is presented. It is not acceptable to name your son Brittany, this challenges the characteristics that are assumed to be depicted and present for males by assigning a name that is traditionally feminine. I ran into this particular problem when I asked for my friends and family to call me John.

I did not change my physical appearance or convey the message that I wanted to e a boy or undergo a sex change; I Just asked to be called John (an abbreviation of my last name) since I considered it to be a good nickname. However every time I asked to be called this, I am quickly shut down under the Justification that “John is a boys name and I am not a boy’. Instead they rather try to suggest feminine nicknames such as Nina, Ann or Toni (spelled with an “l” of course that reinforces gender normative adjectives). Addis & Amelia (2003) stated, “Gender is a verb rather than a noun”.

Did calling me John, make me behave any less like a “girl” or deter me room wearing make up or negate the fact that I still identify as a female? Despite the fact that I was still the same girl I had been for the last 20 years, asking to be called a masculine name was the most confusing thing for people to understand. However gender is depicted through my actions. A child isn’t a boy because of his name. He is instead a boy once he is socialized into being a masculine Joshua or David by his parents and society pressures on him to be as they tell him not to cry like a sissy or punish him for showing an interest in dolls.

Gender is a social pressure that the culture considers appropriate for one’s sex” 0. It is not until that baby is socialized into believing being that he or she through the pressure and influence from their environment and the media to behave in a certain way. It is this “doing” of gender that makes a person what is consider to be a male or female, it doesn’t matter what their parents decide to call them. I look forward to seeing a world full of female Johns’, Spencer’ and Jeans’ and some boy Ashley and Alexis’.


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