LAURA CARTLEDGE: Female, writer in her mid-twenties, seeks a life with fewer labels...

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I don’t like being called ‘madam.’

There you go, I’ve said it.

Yes, I can see how some people think it is polite – after all, it usually happens when I am being given my change or offered help.

But it just makes me feel like I am being told off.

Or like I should have a whip and heels... but we won’t go there.

Maybe it is a generation thing? I don’t really feel old enough yet for the title.

While on the flip side, I know my grandad hates it when someone says ‘hi guys’.

Perhaps it is to do with our associations.

For instance I think being a lord sounds cooler than being a lady.

Lord conjures up images of noble steeds and big, throne-like, chairs.

Lady on the other hand sounds like she spends all her time swooning into her handkerchief.

Bachelor and spinster have the same meaning – so why does one have a swanky studio apartment full of gadgets and the other have a lot of cats?

A dame stars in pantomimes, a sir leads people into battle.

The list is endless and, it is fair to say, a little bit gender-biased.

I read a great article the other day about a letter from a young girl to Lego.

She pointed out that not only ‘there are more Lego boy people and barely any Lego girls’, but that ‘all the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop’, while the boys ‘went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks’.

All this has got me thinking – if you were to use five words to describe yourself, would ‘male’ or ‘female’ be

in there?

It wouldn’t for me. At least not above sarcastic, stubborn and opinionated.

Plus I would want to throw some nice ones in there, too.

Life comes with so many labels, but perhaps the most important ones are those we give ourselves.