26 June 2007

Well that's just silly

I freely use "middle-aged white guy" to describe the sometimes unequal treatment that many women, non-whites, etc., receive at the hands of, well, the middle-aged white guy who has the power. "Who made that rule?." "I don't know. Probably some middle-aged white guy." I also use it to describe an out-of-touch or stupid action like trying to gain favor at an AA meeting by handing out liqueur-filled chocolates.

And sometimes, I don't have a lot of sympathy for men losing a bit of that power since, until fairly recently, they've had a lock on it. But in the story below, I really feel sorry for them. Apparently, a woman changing her name upon marrying isn't possibly dodging something like a criminal past by the name change. But men? You better check them out first. Trouble they are. Just nonsense (or in German, der Unsinn--I love that word).

Changing His Name
Why can’t a husband freely take his wife’s surname?

by Bailey Porter

When New Yorkers Elizabeth Batton and Garrett Sorenson married last August, they wanted to adopt each other’s last name as a second surname, making them the Batton Sorensons. But there was no option on their marriage license application to do so. Elizabeth could easily change her surname to Sorenson, or to Batton-Sorenson, but for a man to adopt his wife’s name is another story.

That’s because although New York is one of only six states in the U.S. that recognize a statutory right for men to take their wives’ last name, the couple married in Kentucky, where no such law exists. Under most states’ laws, if a man wants to take his wife’s name he must petition the court, advertise in a newspaper and pay hundreds of dollars in fees. A woman needs only to fill out a marriage license application. More.

Poor guys. Trying to be all equality minded and the man's after them. It would be interesting to find out if those changed-name couples' lives differ. Does there tend to be a more equal distribution of chores, child care, etc., when both change their names? How about typical roles? If both people change their names is there less, "You mow the lawn, fix the car, etc. You're the man," or "You wash the clothes, take care of the kids, etc. You're the woman." If I was a sociologist I would try to get grant money to study this.

1 comment:

rigtenzin said...

I think it's about time for everyone to keep their own names when they get married. Of course, it's their choice, but the whole concept of maiden names is bad. What name do the kids get? That's another issue altogether.

I'm glad I didn't have to take my wife's last name. It still makes me giggle when I say it out loud.