Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Who else forgot to get married?

177 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 4 5 6 7 8 Newer→ Last

  • Dave Kelly, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Paul said "you both give your daughters the part of your name you got from your mother and sons the part you got from your father - it in effect creates a matrilineal line for women and a patrilineal line for men."

    I like the Icelandic system. Daughters get as their surname their mother's first name with -dottir on the end. Sons get as their surname the father's first name with -son on the end. So a family with two parents and a child of each sex has four surnames. This shows links of descent, but not biased to one sex, and doesn't make surnames precious. Perhaps consequently, I'm told, the Icelandic phone book is sorted by first name.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2013 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • JessicaRose,

    Personally I got sick of waiting for a marriage to come along so that I could change my name and at the ripe age of 31 I changed it myself without the aid of a man. I'm not sure if that's super-feminist, anti-romantic, (or romantic?), or just plain whimsical.

    But I can assure you that changing your name is an expensive pain in the proverbial. Birth cert, drivers license, business cards, credit cards, visits to the JP all end up costing time and money. Having done all this work to get a name of ones own, one that doesn't belong to father or husband, I feel mightily attached to keeping it.

    Some questions arise however, if it's not sexist then how come an equal number of men don't take on the female partners name (in a heterosexual coupling), and will 'gay marriage' lead the way in this decision becoming an equal one between partners (alternatively for example, will lesbians have to take the name of a cherished male uncle?); I also stumble on the dilemma of what to call your partner if you are not married (after the age of 18), because I do not feel professional or mature calling him my 'boyfriend', I feel cold and lacking affection calling him my 'partner', he isn't my husband, and 'live in lover' is too descriptive.

    And as I've been writing I've been thinking on the naming of children of unmarried couples (or hyphenated marrieds) as this is one I hope to be facing myself one day, couldn't we just adopt a communal name like in Game of Thrones where the child is named for the borough they are born in? I suppose this would come with it's own host of social considerations...

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Mellopuffy,

    My problem was thus. I *did* change my surname to my husbands, in part to make things slightly easier/clearer when shifting to the UK on a spousal visa attached to his British Passport. Hyphenating our two surnames would result in something frankly ridiculous. Rather than issue me with a new passport, the passport office here endorsed my new surname on the second page of my passport. Which resulted in I don't know how many awkward questions from immigration officials wanting to know why the name on the *first* page of my passport didn't match the name on my air ticket. Cue sigh from me and 'please turn the page and look at the endorsement there'....

    Dunedin, NZ • Since Feb 2007 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Miche Campbell,

    But this is the thing. I don't want to. I don't particularly want to be anything, but if I absolutely must use an honorific, I will be Miss, thanks. I hate having Ms forced on me by forms.

    Having said that, I'm with Deborah. If Mrs meant "grown woman", not "married woman", I'd be much happier. But it doesn't.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • wendyf,

    We were married in the registry office - 1961 and back then couples tended not to live together without marriage. We wanted a non-religious marriage, but the only place to have that was in the registry office. Which wasn't too bad - my husband worked in the court and his boss did the honours.

    A couple of years later I became a Catholic (now recovering) - complicated reasons. One day I asked a dear old priest what the status of my marriage was, given that we'd had a civil marriage and husband was, as ever, a happy pagan. The dear old priest went away and consulted other priests and told me that my marriage was valid, but not licit.

    I giggled and said that an illicit relationship would explain why we were so happy. He didn't smile.

    My daughter's partner, paramour, lover, whatever, says I can refer to him as a son-in-law.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    It's probably a bit late to tell Tom all the things feminism is likely to outlast, but one of them might be "contemptuous dudes telling feminists what feminism is going to do".

    I would never change my name in a bazillion years, because it is rad, but I fight a passive-aggressive war over this with my in-laws: I sign everything with my birth name; they send all greetings or presents to the family using my supposed married name. YOU WILL NOT WIN THIS ONE, IN-LAWS. I will keep it up until I die if necessary.

    Also, here is a thing that happened to me, based on South American naming traditions: because I was born in Venezuela (my parents happened to be there at the time) and my New Zealand passport used the Venezuelan birth certificate, I have my mother's birth surname appended to my usual surname on my New Zealand passport. But on my US passport I just have the usual surname. So I have two passports from different countries with slightly different names. I am still working out some way to use this to my advantage. Could I become a glamorous international spy?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    If Mrs meant “grown woman”, not “married woman”, I’d be much happier. But it doesn’t.

    Yeah, uh, "Ms" does. That's why it was invented. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Miche Campbell, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    If you don't want to then don't, it's okay. It was a suggestion, not an order.

    Dunedin • Since Feb 2011 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Danielle,

    Yes. But before there was Ms, there was Mrs MarriedWoman and Miss SingleWoman. I'm completely comfortable being Miss SingleWoman. I don't want to be forced into being Ms AmbiguousRelationshipStatus.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    I just want to be "person who exists and is an adult autonomous female and apparently requires a title on forms", which is why Ms works for me.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Miche Campbell, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    That's interesting, because Ms came in so that women who didn't think their marital status was anybody else's business would have a marital-status-neutral title they could use.

    I like the way the Germans do things in that respect -- Fraulein ("Miss") is used until the girl leaves school, at which point she becomes Frau (technically "Mrs,"), whether she's married or not.

    I prefer no title at all, myself, but if forced to pick one will generally go for the silliest or least likely one on the list.

    Dunedin • Since Feb 2011 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Danielle,

    Yeah, this is why I'd prefer to be Person Who Requires No Honorific Because Why Can't My Letter Just Be Addressed To My Full Name?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to Dave Kelly,

    I like the Icelandic system. Daughters get as their surname their mother's first name with -dottir on the end. Sons get as their surname the father's first name with -son on the end. So a family with two parents and a child of each sex has four surnames. This shows links of descent, but not biased to one sex, and doesn't make surnames precious. Perhaps consequently, I'm told, the Icelandic phone book is sorted by first name

    We had a long conversation about that with a local when we were there in April. Yes, the phone book is sorted by first name, and the family we visited for dinner had 3 different surnames on the front doorbell. The father (Jon Siggimund <someone's> son) decided Jonson was a boring name for his children, so they were all named Siggimundarsson (don't trust me on the spelling))

    It's more traditional for the daughters to be <fathername>-dottir, but some newfangled types are occasionally trying for using the <mothername>-dottir formation. I get the impression it's not that common at the moment.

    Generally, the first son will get the father's father's first name, and the second son will get the mother's father's firstname, and after that it's a bit weird. (Yes, this does lead to family trees with Johan Gunnarsson having a son called Gunnar Johansson who has a son called Johan Gunnarsson.)

    Often a dead Uncle without children might be chosen to be named after, or a son getting a name that used the masculine version of a beloved grandmother or great aunt. The names are recycled so a family will traditionally have a small number of names used.

    They also have quite strict rules about giving names that are feminine to girls and masculine to boys. There was a court case in the last few years for a family who named their daughter after a (female) character in a book that used a name that was not a traditional female name, and the state refused to register the name on her birth certificate because it wasn't "proper". Apparently her documentation just called her "girl" (in Icelandic) until she was in her teens and the court case finally allowed her name.

    Iceland is a fascinating place...

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to wendyf,

    My daughter's partner, paramour, lover, whatever, says I can refer to him as a son-in-law.

    Until my brother-in-law got a civil union, we used to refer to his partner as the outlaw...

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Miche Campbell,

    Yeah, same with Madame and Mademoiselle. And I understand WHY Ms came in, totally. I'd just like to believe that we've moved past the point that a single thirty-something year old is a social pariah, and thus needs to hide it.

    And so, if you're going to give me a choice on a form, as in all things, make it a real choice. Not the choice of lesser evils.

    Which, to bring it back to the original point, if women have the choice whether or not to change their name, it has to be an actual choice. It shouldn't be harder for men to change their name post-marriage, which it seems to be. It shouldn't be something we read anything into, other than that a person wanted to change their name, for whatever reason. Their choice, providing it is actually a choice, is theirs.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to JessicaRose,

    JessicaRose, please contact the mothership! You won a prize in the Kitchen hacks thread.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Nat, in reply to Danielle,

    I just want to be “person who exists and is an adult autonomous female and apparently requires a title on forms”, which is why Ms works for me.

    Me too! I love Ms.

    I also like partner. To me, it connotes equality and working together, rather than the more possessive connotations I get from wife and husband.

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara,

    I like Ms, for Danielle's reasons.

    As for girls with mother's surnames, boys with fathers's, I am not keen on dividing my family up along gendered lines. It seems counterproductive if you want a feminist, non-patriarchal family. Plus, what if you get children of only one gender? Both mine are female.

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara, in reply to Nat,

    Absolutely! We use partner. It's nice.

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to ChrisW,

    vast majority of humanity (H.s.sapiens) and its genome that stayed home in Africa

    I think the vast majority of humanity did not stay in Africa. Vastly more humans left Africa and colonised the rest of the planet than stayed. All of Asia, the Americas and Europe were colonised by those that left Africa and blended with neanderthalensis along the way. So it's not a Euro-centric interpretation at all.

    But your point I presume is that only those that travelled north would have mixed their genes. As far as I know the studies haven't looked into whether any of the extant African populations retain evidence of blending. It is worth noting that those that left Africa probably also went back and mixed their genes back into the African populations. It's also worth noting that neanderthalensis probably raomed much further South and only moved North as H. sapiens sapiens displaced them.

    All that said *I am not an expert* in the field I just skim read the recent papers on the neanderthalensis' genome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Nat, in reply to Danielle,

    they send all greetings or presents to the family using my supposed married name. YOU WILL NOT WIN THIS ONE, IN-LAWS. I will keep it up until I die if necessary.

    Can you return to sender with "addressee unknown"? Seriously, that is bollocks.

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to Danielle,

    I just want to be “person who exists and is an adult autonomous female and apparently requires a title on forms”, which is why Ms works for me.

    I also like using Ms. I feel like I'm too _mature_ to use Miss (though Helen Clark was always Miss Helen Clark). To me, Ms feels like the French Madame - you don't use it when you get married, but when you are of a certain age. (I was chuffed when a waiter at Pastis called me Madame!)

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Yeah, this is why I'd prefer to be Person Who Requires No Honorific Because Why Can't My Letter Just Be Addressed To My Full Name?

    Reminds me of the late Rod Donald - not even 'Mr' for him, just the nine letters of his name, thank you.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to Danielle,

    I have my mother’s birth surname appended to my usual surname on my New Zealand passport. But on my US passport I just have the usual surname. So I have two passports from different countries with slightly different names. I am still working out some way to use this to my advantage.

    I can't think of an advantage. But it can be a disadvantage. When my wife travels to the US she can use her US passport for US immigration and her NZ passport for NZ immigration. It's quick at both ends. I don't think you could do that if the name in one of your passports did not match the name on your ticket.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    i always like Miss as opposed to Ms, possibly because at my college to be anything other than Ms was letting all women down. 90% of the teachers were Ms, except the head of the science department who was a Miss and she got really shirty when other teachers called her Ms.

    I really respected her for being what she wanted not what a 'right on' girls college expected of all women and of the students.

    Which is also why i get somewhat grumpy with the whole discussion around changing your last name. I have had very dear friends been asked why did they change their name, as it's all a bit old fashioned. But to them and me it should be none of anyone's business why or if you changed your name, just as it should not be anyones business why or if you didn't change your name.

    It all sits on the same continuum as some women thinking they have the right to decide if another woman is feminist enough.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 4 5 6 7 8 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.