66: Surnames for Women14 January, 2009
Solution: Married women should retain their maiden names. Girl babies should be given the surnames of their mothers; boy babies, of their fathers.
Problem: Men (males) have family histories. “The Puddleducks have lived in Wessex since 1558” and so on. Women don’t have family histories; they’re part of men’s histories. When we say “The Puddleducks have lived in Wessex since 1558”, we mean the male line. The female line is ignored, submerged. Why? Less worthy? It would seem so. One way to get over this problem is <see “Solution”, above.>
Rather ludicrously, current practice favors the piling-up of surnames, with or without hyphens. “You’re invited to a party at the Smith-Joneses”, etc. This is unnecessary, confusing (especially to computers and HR departments), and comes off as stuffy and pretentious. Besides, what happens in the next generation? Better if a married woman would just keep her maiden name. We know that was her father’s name, not her mother’s; but we have to start somewhere.