Thursday, October 26, 2006

Once again, I need to know what century we are in

Nancy Rapoport, posting at Feminist Law Professors (a blog you need to read), writes about comments that were made on Dallas Blog, as part of a discussion of a debate between Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and her opponent, Barbara Ann Radnofsky. Check this out:

Radnofsky has always seemed to be very full of herself; maybe that's why, though she is married [to someone, who is nameless and basically invisible in this campaign.....], she still appears to use her maiden name.

Where to start? How can someone "appear" to use her maiden name? And then there is the fact that the phrase "maiden name" is about as offensively sexist a term you could utter. But beyond these matters, it is stunning that the reasons this commenter comes up with for Radnofsky's use of her family name are that her husband's name is useless to her, and she is "full of herself." It couldn't possibly be that she uses her family name because it is her name, no? And using the commenter's own "reasoning," it follows that men, the vast majority of whom use their family names, are all "full of themselves."

I will never forget the time that a friend and I were discussing a colleague's marriage. I'm going to make these names up so as not to identify the actual people, but the conversation went something like this:

"Her name is Mary Ford Benson now."

"So is he now Richard Ford Benson?"

"Well, no. She just added his name to hers."

"Then why didn't he add her name to his?"

"But Diane, he has had that name his entire life!"

"And she hasn't had 'Ford' her entire life?!"

"Well, I just like tradition..."

This woman, by the way, was an identified "liberal" and "feminist." But she was absolutely clueless that the woman in question had just as much right to her name as the man had to his.

Hutchison, by the way, identifies with feminism, so it just goes to show you how that word gets bandied around. It is evil one moment, and the next moment, it is something that even a Texas Republican can claim.


Yeah, like tradition is always a good thing. Please.

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