Friday, June 29, 2007

Oi, Missus - NO!

Or not, as the case may be. Recently, the guardian's gender section has been really rather good.

First, it featured the fabulous article by a woman who, to the horror of her relatives, decided that perhaps her children's identity should reflect their mother as well as their father. Yes, shockingly, she wanted to give her children her name. This is a very funny piece indeed, although desperately depressing in some ways. When women say "I just didn't care enough and he wanted it" - about the name change on marriage - it fills me (and others) with despair. How ill-defined a sense of one's own identity must a woman have to really not care about her name? My name is me; I am it. While some names might sound cooler, for better or worse, I am Grace Pickering and that's all there is to it.

The other one also pointed out, however, a flaw in this piece: Why do daughters "belong" to women, and sons to men? Why is it that perhaps men can accept this compromise to their masculinity as long as they get to keep their sons - the ones that matter? Our children will have both our names. That's all there is to it. If they choose to go by one or the other, that's the kids' choice. Obviously no pressure from us... both sets of genes, both names. That's it.

Second, today there was a piece about why we as women need to own the "Ms". It's a great piece, and hammers home exactly why it's important (albeit a tad bombastically):

Miss and Mrs are marks of the old world, reminders of women's second-class status as wives-to-be (Miss) or simply wives (Mrs). If you are a woman who doesn't use Ms - particularly a woman under 30 who has never even thought of it - then ponder this: how do you want to present yourself to the world? Are you an appendage or an appendage-in-waiting? . . . Choose Miss and you are condemned to childish maturity. Choose Mrs and be condemned as some guy's chattel. Choose Ms and you become an adult woman in charge of your whole life.

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