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.
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.
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.
Everything I had been holding back for years suddenly came bubbling up to the surface. All the years of silently putting up with the the heart-piercing, debasing verbal assaults from guys like this. I was done. Before I knew it I found myself across the street, face to face with the guy in the polo shirt.
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.