[Found an old piece of writing I made whilst waiting to board my plane at Heathrow, 20th June 2016. It’s interesting to see how my tangent spiralled off entirely. This piece was scribbled on a tiny notebook I was carrying along with Harper Lee’s newly published Go Set a Watchman I had picked up in the WHSmith an hour ago. I have also now found out that Harper Lee is a pen name but nonetheless it was a middle name given to a woman that I would have assumed was a man. Many edits could’ve been done with the writing but it has mostly been kept the same.]


English names are gender-neutral to me, I associate names with people I know.

Alex had strictly been a name for boys until I met a girl named Alex. The same for Jamie. I still see the girl named Jamie as an exception to the rule, although I’ve known her for years.

Names in Chinese are less repeated, even if they sound the same the characters are often different. That said, my name – both Given and Family name, is bizarrely common.

Such oxymoron, make a sweeping claim yourself and then immediately finding the exception in yourself. I’d make a terrible scientist.

Names, returning to names. English names are gender-neutral to me in the sense that I have difficulty deducing from the name someone’s gender. And almost overwhelmingly I catch myself assuming a name is male somehow.

Harper Lee, author of  To Kill a Mocking Bird, I for a long time assumed was male. I wonder if she is an exception, or if I am culturally imprinted to assume authors are male unless told otherwise.


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