Names and “Doing Gender”: How Forenames and Surnames Contribute to Gender Identities, Difference, and Inequalities
journal contributionposted on 2017-07-12, 13:32 authored by Jane Pilcher
Names, as proper nouns, are clearly important for the identification of individuals in everyday life. In the present article, I argue that forenames and surnames need also to be recognized as “doing” words, important in the categorization of sex at birth and in the ongoing management of gender conduct appropriate to sex category. Using evidence on personal naming practices in the United States and United Kingdom, I examine what happens at crisis points of sexed and gendered naming in the life course (for example, at the birth of babies, at marriage, and during gender-identity transitions). I show how forenames and surnames help in the embodied doing of gender and, likewise, that bodies are key to gendered practices of forenaming and surnaming: we have “gendered embodied named identities.” Whether normative and compliant, pragmatic, or creative and resistant, forenaming and surnaming practices are revealed as core to the production and reproduction of binary sex categories and to gendered identities, difference, hierarchies, and inequalities.
Copyright © the authors, 2017. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
CitationSex Roles, 2017
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/Department of Sociology
- VoR (Version of Record)