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Thursday, November 29, 2007
Gender and Names
Okay another advice column post here. This was from the Ask Marilyn page from Sunday's Parade Magazine -
Why is it so much more likely that parents will give a son his father’s first name than give a daughter her mother’s first name?
—Kary Anne Tamblyn, Ellicott City, Md.

Daughters are not reared as independent individuals with lifelong surnames, so giving a girl only her mother’s first name is mostly pointless. It’s the combination of a first name and a surname that creates an identity.

Boys and girls both start life with their father’s last name. But girls usually drop their surname when they get married, changing to the name of their father-in-law. I believe both men and women should keep their premarital surnames throughout life. When they get married and have children, sons would take their father’s surname, and daughters would take their mother’s surname. The benefit to girls and women would be enormous while costing boys and men nothing—except the fun of claiming ownership of the opposite sex!

I found the perspective interesting and just thought I'd throw it out here for discussion.


posted by Julie at 11:32 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 11/29/2007 03:38:00 PM, Blogger Naomi

    Interesting, and something I mostly agree with... except I really don't like the way it swerved from 'naming children for their parents' to 'surnames and why we shouldn't change them' :-)

    I didn't change my surname upon marriage, neither did my husband (I tell people who question us on different surnames that my husband chose not to change his name, and I fully support him in his choice - I don't feel at all disrespected). Our child has both surnames, double-barrelled. Not sure about other countries, but over here that'll make it a tad easier for him to pick which he wants to use in later life.

  • At 12/30/2007 10:43:00 PM, Blogger Mother Laura

    Love your answer Naomi--we too kept our own names and I do get tired of the occasional harassment.

    I like the theory of hyphenation for all family members best but it works better with short names that sound good together. So we actually did what advice columnist suggested and split by gender--I figured why keep my name and all the kids have his, especially when I am the one going through pregnancy, labor and nursing.... Our kids find this so natural and we have gotten far fewer critical comments than we expected, perhaps because there are so many blended families and single parents now.

    Unlike the advice columnist I do think people should have the choice of either spouse to take the other's name of course but it should definitely be an equal and free choice and not default to the male name becoming the family name...


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