25 June 2017

A Perplexing Proposition: Feminism & Naming Patterns in 1914

Just thought I'd share:

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
28 March 1914 – pg. 4

perplexingpropositionA Perplexing Proposition

Mrs. George Middleton insists that she be known as Miss Fola LaFollette on the ground that every woman, whether married or single, should be called "Miss" just as every man is called "Mr." She objects to the public branding of married women as "Mrs." and contends that their right to retain their maiden names inherent.

Passing over the more serious features of this proposition, including the choice of a surname for the children and questions of legal inheritance, we come to the interesting inquiry as to whether this "progressive" lady has paused to reflect that there is really no such thing as a maiden surname.  Is it less of a humiliation to hear her father's surname than her husband's? Even if she took her mother's so-called "maiden" surname, she would really take it from her grandfather on her mother's side, for all the surnames have come down from the first males who were granted or assumed them.  The only "maiden" names in the true sense are found among those we call Christian of given names.

So it would appear that, in order to be quite consistent and fully independent, Mrs. George Middleton would need to print "Miss Fola" only on her visiting cards as long as present customs survive.