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Do words matter: gendered identities and naming practices

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dc.contributor.author Small, Debbie
dc.date.accessioned 2011-09-27T01:59:13Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-10-30T23:45:46Z
dc.date.available 2011-09-27T01:59:13Z
dc.date.available 2022-10-30T23:45:46Z
dc.date.copyright 2001
dc.date.issued 2001
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/26498
dc.description.abstract In order to explore the relationship between naming practices (courtesy titles, 'Mrs.', 'Miss' and 'Ms.', and last name choices) and gendered identities, eleven women were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. The central focus of this thesis is: what is the significance of naming practice to the women themselves? Are naming practices used to construct, challenge and/or reinforce gender identities? And if so how? It is argued that published research on naming practices has largely focused on what naming practices are being used and by whom. There is therefore little research evident that focuses on: what naming practices mean in the everyday lives of those who use them; how and why they are being used, or accounts given in the words of those using the naming practices. This research addresses these issues. In terms of naming practices, 'Miss' was talked about in two ways. Firstly there were those who defined and used 'Miss' in the 'traditional' sense (a single woman), though this seemed to carry with it, for some of those interviewed the definition of a woman as immature, not quite grown up. Secondly, 'Miss' was talked about and used in non-traditional ways, one respondent talks about 'reclaiming' 'Miss' as a positive identity for women and another uses this title even though she is married. 'Mrs.' is an identity, which evoked more of an emotional response from those interviewed. It is talked about either as an identity that participants are proud of, or one which they never want to use, or have used on them. 'Ms.' was defined by those interviewed in the most diverse ways of all the titles. The way this title was defined and had meaning for the women interviewed ranges from 'a mark of independence' to a 'non-word'. Finally there were two participants who indicated that they (sometimes at least) did not use a title. Last names were talked about in terms of identities (personal, professional, and family), tradition, legitimacy, and in terms of more practical issues that arise in the everyday lives of those I interviewed. It was found that for the women interviewed naming practices were an important way they defined themselves. Many women are making conscious decisions about not only what naming practices they will use, but how they will define those naming practices. This is a site where gendered identities are being defined, represented, constructed, challenged, and accepted. This is not just about individual identities, but relationships between people, family identities, and a person's place in society. en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.title Do words matter: gendered identities and naming practices en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.discipline Social Science Research en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Masters en_NZ

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