Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Why is it that women are called by their first names and men by their last? Hillary is running for president, but everyone I know has been caught by Obama-mania. You could say that it’s because there already was a president with her last name, but that doesn’t really work when you think about the current one. He was referred to by nicknames or his last name, never by his first, unless derisively. I think of it in a sports environment, how all the players are called by their last name. It’s been a while since I’ve seen A League of Their Own, but I’m sure there was some sort of scene, look or line where some of the players were called by their last names. It’s gotta be a bonding thing–from both sides. Hillary is Hillary because we know her; she’s one of us. A last name is more impartial, since it belongs to your family. You call your friends by their first name (hence Hillary), but the playground tykes nicknames or last names. A last name might be funny, or carry more weight, some authority. In jobs (not my current one), I’ve been called by my last name, always by a guy. Guys seem to give nicknames more easily, are comfortable calling each other by their last names, usually as a way of differentiating them. In school I was known by my first name and last initial, a mark I still hate today. I never really minded being called by my last name–probably because it made me feel like one of the guys.