THE BLOG

2016: It's Time to Bring "Mx" to Offices

12/01/2016 15:21 GMT | Updated 11/01/2017 10:12 GMT

Jaden Smith, rocking a skirt for Louis Vuitton this week, brought the conversation on gender-normative behaviour, stereotyping and the mastery of identity empowerment to the forefront. He is the new face of Louis Vuitton's womenswear and the world has since expressed support for the move.

Jaden's sister said: "Males and females are put into boxes of expectation when we are born. As we grow we start to raise the damages that those expectations cause to our spiritual and emotional understanding of ourselves and life."

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We agree. And at OfficeCute we're asking, will 2016 be year for Mx to be integrated into our offices?

For those who don't know, "Mx" is the gender neutral honorific equivalent of Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms.

Honorifics are often used in applications for new roles. Applicants are ask asked to select a gender indicative "title" by which they will be referred to from that point onwards in formal communications.

We could debate whether or not we even need honorifics in 2016. In areas such as academia, terms like "Dr" and "Prof" act as important marks of achievement and hold prominence. Simultaneously, there is an increasing demand for individuals to become their own brand. Whether or not you believe honorifics are still a necessity, the point is they exist, so we need to look at addressing the problems and resolving them.

Honorifics are problematic for people outside of gender binary, those who self-define as neither woman or man, or both. Not fitting into these boxes can leave them feeling that they don't quite belong.

It's important to remember that honorific terms can be marks of respect and professional courtesy. So to not have gender neutral options, we are excluding people.

The English language adjusts in accordance with the world's development and understanding. Last year, the OxfordDictionaries.com added the pronoun. To many this marked a much overdue and welcome shift to the Western world's familiarity with gender fluidity.

It's surprising that we've only just reached this point. The word "androgyny" has been around since 1552. And those who identify with it, have been around since anyone else- man or woman. It's a human thing.

Universities in the UK are beginning to introduce Mx. Graduates going on to apply for jobs are looking for companies that truly understand people and are leading the development of the world around them. They will expect to see Mx and those without it will be noticed as being stuck the dark ages especially as more and more adopt the pronoun.

By not meeting the need for gender neutral pronouns, organisations are also at risk of falling behind and losing brilliant potential and talent. It is well known that the most successful companies, get the best people into the right jobs.

In wider circles, we are starting to get it. It's also worth remembering that it wasn't so long ago, perhaps in which women were titled only by their marital status and Ms was introduced.

Businesses do understand the need and benefits. If this wasn't the case, why has the language used advertising to clients shifted from the default use of generic male prefixes to be more androgynous?

It is slightly odd that in marketing styleguides gender neutrality exists yet we don't use it when making a formal address and conversing with people directly.

There is a need for gender neutral pronouns and 2016 could and should be the year for Mx. The argument is first a moral one. Secondly one of best-practice. Mx will happen. It's just a question of who will take the lead? Whichever industry you find yourself in, propose it.