Especially now, when ambiguously gendered names are actually extremely common and names that were historically masculine are commonly used by women and girls, names and salutations are even more of a minefield than they were before.
My family fantasy centered around me, a feminist dude partner, and two adopted daughters that I could call Mary and Margot after my favorite lady monarchs. Our home would ooze estrogen and empowered ladyhood.
Writing under my initials for a very long time has allowed me to observe the way people relate to a writer on the basis of perceived gender, because people seem to have an urgent, desperate need to slot each other into gender categories.
Ann Romney’s remarks about “women out there who don’t have a choice” perfectly captures certain rich people’s deep-seated beliefs about class -- namely, that class inequity is a positive thing, and that there's something noble about poverty.
I don’t have to explain that it’s because makeup is marketed to women, the connotations it might have about his sexuality, gender roles, etc. etc. All topics for another article, one that would probably bore me to death.