Well I have a corker of a subject to write about today in my 30 day 30 blog challenge… ‘Gender’ – good heavens, I really think I am stumped!
Gender… I hardly dare write in case I make an error, it’s so easy to misunderstand or inadvertently say the wrong thing when words are changing – not in their essential meaning but in their usage. So what is the definition of gender? I guess it has come to replace the way people used to be described/labelled/identified as men or women, or male or female. The word itself comes from Old French, which in turn came from Latin, and meant a way of classifying people by certain aspects such as class or family, as well the way it is understood today. The word’s roots are very old indeed, going right back to what is thought of the ancient ancestors of language, Proto-Indo-European. I’m not knowledgeable to comment more – my understanding is only the most superficial of grasp on it all! Those ancient roots of gender were to do with the family lines of early tribes, such as what we find in the Bible, with all the begetting which is listed in whichever of the early books. If I’ve totally misunderstood, then I hope someone will correct me, and forgive me for my poor grasp of it all! As far as I can find out, the sense we have of gender as a female or male thing is about six hundred years old but our recent understanding or use of the word is really twentieth century.
Loath as I am to give up, really I can’t think of any more to write – so having technically fulfilled the challenge to write about gender today, I may have to return to this and add more thoughts at a later date!