“The naming of dogs” in language: a feminist guide

Illustration by Steffispirit (CC-BY-4.0)


A recent blog post by Linguist Deborah Cameron explores the naming of dogs and humankind’s tendency to project gender-stereotypes onto non-human beings. She writes:

“Do the kinds of gendered dog-names we favour suggest that we imagine male and female dogs differently? The answer seems to be ‘yes and no’. Both lists are dominated by the same type of name, one that could also be given to a male or female child, and that suggests that the gendered connotations of human names are also projected onto dogs. For instance, flower-names like Lily and Daisy are popular choices for girls, but more or less unthinkable for boys, because the qualities they connote (e.g. beauty, delicacy and freshness) are considered feminine/unmasculine. The same rule is applied when naming dogs, though among dogs the sexes are less different in appearance, and neither sex is famous for delicacy and freshness.”

Read more at language: a feminist guide.

Image courtesy of SpiritDog Training.