It is time that the ‘tradition/custom’ of calling women by their husband’s FIRST name stopped.
I do not think that it is acceptable in 2014 for people to be addressing Christmas cards to (for example) Mr & Mrs Gilbert Blythe. This is a literal erasing of a woman’s identity. Indeed this form of address dates back to a time when a woman & her possession’s belonged to her husband.
Even the http://www.debretts.com website admits that “it is becoming increasingly customary for married women and widows to use their own forenames and initials.“(!)
Having campaigned successfully for mothers’ names to be on marriage certificates in England & Wales (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/18/mothers-names-marriage-registers-david-cameron) I am turning my attention to another form of name inequality.
The modern way to address Christmas cards to a couple is as follows:
Think about who you knew first or who you know best and put that person first. There is no reason to put down the man first by default. So for example:
Anne & Gilbert Blythe
Gilbert & Anne Blythe
Gilbert Blythe & Anne Shirley
Anne Shirley & Gilbert Blythe
Anne Shirley & Diana Barry
Gilbert Blythe & Fred Wright
In order to make it easier to have conversations about this topic with people I know I have created the photocard below which I will be sending out with my Christmas cards this year. (Technically as I have changed my surname now by deed poll to OriginalSurname Husband’sSurname this should no longer be an issue for me but I don’t seem to have got round to telling all my friends & family this…).
I will be donating 20p to Women’s Aid via www.justgiving.com/nameequality/ for all the cards I receive (from people I know..) which are NOT addressed with an erasing of my identity.
If you are married and cross about this issue then why not make this the year that you talk to your friends & family about it. Alternatively by sending them the card below you are part of something bigger and this should make it easier to get the message across and would raise money for http://www.womensaid.org.uk.