Married or unmarried, young or old, tall or short, women can be guaranteed to be a ‘lesser’ form and to lower the tone. There was a time when (mainly English) upper class men had such prestigious names as Beverley, Francis, Evelyn and Shirley. Yet as soon as these ‘good’ names were chosen by parents for their daughters, they were quickly shunned as ‘bad’ names for their sons.
In my own case, my adventurous mother decided on ‘dale’ as a first name for her unborn child, regardless of sex. In the 1940s it was an uncommon name anyway, and had not really acquired gender connotations, but I have to say that this name – now more often associated with males, has served me well on more than one occasion.
I once flew interstate for a job interview that had been based on a written application (I sent no photo); I knew they were expecting a male when I was the only one left standing in the arrivals hall and had not attracted the attention of the agitated employer.
I got the job. But I bet I wouldn’t have even got the interview if they had known I was a female. And I was fortunate in that they had only sufficient funds to pay for one air-fare for one interview. I think they got themselves an excellent candidate – one they would not even had considered had they known I was female.
(My colleagues – all male – welcomed my arrival with the greeting that it would be good to have a ‘girl’ – someone to take the minutes and make the tea! Another classification based on being a service provider for men them rather than being an equal member of a team!)