Excerpts from a Blog in the Editorial Times of India newspaper
A French coronavirus that’s ‘female’, her-icanes, and other noms de guerre: An equal opportunity a-gender
Gender : either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female.
Gender is defined as a classification of a noun or pronoun as feminine, masculine or neuter. … Gender is defined as the socially constructed roles and behaviors that a society typically associates with males and females. An example of gender is referring to someone who wears a dress as a female.
masculine, feminine, common, and neuter are the four gender.
Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women and men, such as norms, roles, and relationships of and between groups of women and men. It varies from society to society and can be changed.
That august institution called the Academie Francaise which zealously guards the purity of the French language by deterring transgressions has apparently given its magisterial ‘Oui’ to the coronavirus being deemed female. In cases of crimes passionel the watchword of the gendarmerie is ‘Cherchez la femme’, or find the woman, based on the conviction that the motive behind every crime of passion is a femme all too fatale. However, the pathogen being treated as a female need not be cited as another example of the sheer gall of male chaurvinism being a non-partisan product of Gallic grammar which, unlike that of the English, has no neuter gender and must designate all nouns, proper or otherwise, as being either masculine or feminine.
After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, charges of misogyny were made by those who accused the World Meterological Department of naming such extreme weather events after females, thus turning them into her-icanes, a charge which was comprehensively disproved by Hurricanes Dean, Felix and Noel, all of which were recorded in 2007. The international weather-walas clarified that hurricanes were given male and female appellations every alternate year, thereby maintaining gender parity. In an unrelated instance of what might be called nominal equal opportunity, a story has it that an Indian family which gave its male offspring martial names such as Karnail, for Colonel, and Jarnail, for General, was perplexed as to what to call a newborn girl until a matriarch came up with Armoured Kaur.