Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

Need for neutral title

I was just typing in a list of names for a mail merge. Since this is a business letter, all salutations begin with a title - either Mr. or Ms, depending on gender of the first name. Which has worked fine for most of the names I found - most pretty common Western/Anglo-Saxon names. There were none of the odd names that seem to be popular today.

Until I hit Leonor. Now, I was pretty sure it was female, but not entirely - no "e" and no "a" at the end, which are the common markers for female. So I did a google search and the most common hit was for a woman. I went with "Ms."

We need a gender-neutral title, and I do NOT mean we should call everyone a masculine title. I seriously don't like it when I read or watch future militaries calling women "Sir" or "Mister". I'm also not fond of fantasies where female experts are called "Master" and female lieges are called "Lord." If the male term becomes the general term, it says that the female term (and the female) are lesser. However, a neutral term wouldn't do that. There's no need to know the gender of one's lawyer in general, just like, in general, there's no need to know the gender of one's physician.

What that title would be, I don't know. Mer? M pronounced "Em"? We're just not set up for this. Which is probably why so many "gender-neutral" fantasies and sf novels settle on the masculine, but it bugs me.

Yes, I loved it when Captain Janeway insisted on "ma'am."
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