Thursday, November 17, 2011

Caller Number Sexist

You know it's going to be a good day when you are already outraged before 8 a.m.

One of my favorite morning activities is listening to the radio talk program on the local Top 40 station. They always have such interesting topics, and the people that call in have great viewpoints on whatever the issue of the day is. This morning's show was of particular interest — the hosts had found an article on MSN stating that 50 percent of all people believe that a woman should be legally required to take her husband's surname upon marriage. Hyphenating would not be considered acceptable. (I searched, but couldn't actually find the article they were discussing, though this article has a similar theme.) 

A lot of the guys that called in proclaimed that their wives should take their names out of respect for their husband, desire to have a name that unifies the family and to show that the man is the head of the household. The women declared that the men were not showing them respect by forcing them to change their names in the first place, and that there are plenty of circumstances in which it would be undesirable to change their names. One went as far as to say that if this law were put into effect, she would never marry.

Seriously people? This is where we're at now? Are we all of a sudden not capable of making that decision for ourselves, and we need lawmakers to step in? Why on earth would it be okay to mandate this for women, but have no similar law requiring anything of men? Why wouldn't men be required to take the woman's last name, if it's all about family unity?

I took my husband's name, but that was my choice to do so. If someone had demanded or required me to do so, I probably would have fought it tooth and nail. The whole thing just reeks of disrespect and sexism to me, like it's flying in the face of all the women who have fought for decades for equal rights.

But I'm interested in what ya'll have to say, as most of you are married or engaged. Would you support a law requiring you to change your name? If this were a real law, do you think there should be a similar mandate for men? What should it be?


  1. If it's truly only about family unity then it shouldn't matter which partner changes their name...the law could just be that ONE partner changes to the OTHERS name. Why should it just be the wife changing? Maybe the couple decide that the husband changes to the wife's name. If the husband is so into family unity and all, then why shouldn't HE change? (I hope someone said that to one of the guys calling up and demanding all women change! lol)

    PFFT. That's just stupid. It's everyone's personal choice. Surely there would be too much outrage for such a law to ever pass...

  2. I do disagree with the premise that women should take their husband's name to solidify the husband as head of household...We live in an age where most women work and can be equally - if not more - successful in their careers as their male counterparts, and that train of thinking is a fossil from that era where that wasn't the case.

    I honestly don't think there needs to be a law about this. People can pick whatever works best for them and THEIR family and let the world say whatever they want.

  3. Pretty much like you, I took my husband's last name because I wanted to but if it were a law I probably would have had major issues with it.

    It's a personal decision and everyone should be able to do what they want (keep their own name, hyphenate, move their last name to their middle, pick a new last name for both of them).

  4. Things like this just make me so made, and not for the most obvious of reasons (i.e. I didn't take my husband's last name, and I am beyond thankful that I was allowed to make this choice for myself and wasn't required by law to take a name I didn't want to).

    Let's just think about all the problems we have in this country: education, health care, unemployment, the economy, etc. So considering all these major issues that radically affect many of our day-to-day lives that we still can't quite figure out/agree on how to handle, we still think it'd be a wise use of our time to create laws that force a very personal decision on individuals? I mean, who cares? The government can't even adequately fix the potholes on my street, so I don't want them wasting their time deciding what's best for my personal life. It's just silly in my mind!

    Discussions like these make me so thankful that my husband was option to any and all name changing (or lack thereof) options. It's crazy to think how backwards so many people are even in the twenty-first century!