rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
Same-sex marriages can take place in the UK from today, and the first ones have already happened! (Midnight weddings! Makes midnight cinema screenings look a bit boring.) Congratulations to all today's newlyweds :-)

On the topic of marriage, I was reminded this week of a recent blog post by Rebecca Taylor MEP about titles, names and marriage, and in particular how our European neighbours have already got over the Miss / Mrs distinction.

(Apologies - I had to recreate post this due to technical difficulties i.e. my inability to correctly drive the poll creator)

Poll #15154 Marriage, names, titles
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 36

Marking marital status by title?

View Answers

The status quo: Miss, Mrs and Ms if you must
5 (13.9%)

Mrs for all adult women
4 (11.1%)

Ms for all adult women
17 (47.2%)

Miss for adult women
1 (2.8%)

Mx for everyone (why mark gender either?)
18 (50.0%)

Something else which I will expand in comments
11 (30.6%)

11 (30.6%)

Arguments over titles ruined my grandparents' marriage, you heartless blockhead
3 (8.3%)

I am

View Answers

married and I changed my name
2 (5.9%)

married and I changed my title
3 (8.8%)

not married but would not change my name if I did
13 (38.2%)

not married but would not change my title if I did
13 (38.2%)

not married and fed up of smug marrieds going on about it
1 (2.9%)

2 (5.9%)

against the whole institution of marriage
1 (2.9%)

uninterested in the whole irrelevant discussion
1 (2.9%)

17 (50.0%)

9 (26.5%)

Date: 2014-03-29 11:11 (UTC)
mair_in_grenderich: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mair_in_grenderich
[x] Not married and can't stand Ms, either go straight to my first name (preferred) or use Miss (I have no rational grounding for disliking Ms though)

[x] I have another title which does not contain my marital status but I don't use that either

Date: 2014-03-29 11:14 (UTC)
mair_in_grenderich: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mair_in_grenderich
which does not contain my marital status (or my gender)

[x] not married and not sure whether I would change my name or title if I were to marry

(mostly irrelevantly, I installed some chrome add-on called Patriarchy which is supposed to toggle gender language, and which I mostly forget about until I see tweets about Father's Day or facebook referring to my female friends as "he", or the on top of your dw "Rachel Cole Finch"...)

Date: 2014-03-29 11:26 (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
I liked Rebecca's post, but still not sure on how English should go. I do recall after Jennie changed her mind and asked me to marry her that she said something like "I suppose you'll want me to change my name" and I looked at her slightly confused, the idea hadn't even occured to me, especially in this age where you have internet based accounts, email addresses and URLs that use your name, etc.

Definitely clueless on titles, why not just, well, dump them entirely?

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From: [personal profile] hollymath - Date: 2014-03-29 11:55 (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2014-03-29 13:26 (UTC)
jae: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jae
I'm very glad that I have an additional title that allows me to dodge the 'Mrs/Ms" question, because I don't think it's anyone's business whether my partner and I are legally married.


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From: [personal profile] khalinche - Date: 2014-04-03 13:49 (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] naath - Date: 2014-03-31 11:26 (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2014-03-29 12:35 (UTC)
aldabra: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aldabra
[x] Why use gendered titles anyway? Freda Blogs. Or Dr/Prof/Maestro Freda Blogs, if relevant.

[x] Divorced, ex-married, didn't change my name, although surprisingly many people changed it for me and I decided not to make a fuss and ran them both in parallel. I still get cheques in the other name, occasionally, and the bank still cashes them. And the schools assume I use the same name as Kathy; I hadn't realised how conspicuous that was going to be.

Date: 2014-03-31 12:17 (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
Is it very uncommon then for children to have parents with different surnames? I'd have thought it increasingly common.

Date: 2014-03-29 13:08 (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
"Married and changed neither"
"Whatever people choose to use"

Date: 2014-03-29 13:28 (UTC)
theora: (grand union)
From: [personal profile] theora
The above. I've contemplated changing my name and still might (8 years after the fact), but that's because I'm not terribly fond of my birth name and never have been.

Also not sure why titles are necessary. In the US, they're used on some occasions, but not as a general thing. For example, a typical form may or may not have a field to enter a title, and if it does it's almost always optional. I was bemused by the UK practice of requiring a title.

Date: 2014-03-29 13:21 (UTC)
jae: (queergecko)
From: [personal profile] jae
You don't have a tickybox for "I do think marriage rights are the very bare minimum that should be granted in terms of rights for queerfolk, but I have been legally married and I have been legally not-married and I don't think it's all that different so I don't really get why this is such a big deal for either side (unless you're in the U.S. where it's about getting on your partner's health care in which case shouldn't you just fix health care?). I also don't like the way the "LGBT rights" has become synonymous with "marriage rights" when there are so many more important and life-changing issues than this one or the way jurisdictions that are FINALLY getting around NOW to granting this BARE MINIMUM of rights are being all "yay us!" and expecting a cookie for what amounts to finally being dragged into the twenty-first century. so basically: good on you but seriously, why are we still even talking about this issue? it's like cheering on the places that finally gave women the right to vote in the 1980s or something."

Apparently I am opinionated about something I don't really think is all that important. ;)


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Date: 2014-03-29 13:50 (UTC)
jmathieson_fic: bird in a tree watercolour by sid (Default)
From: [personal profile] jmathieson_fic
[x] I am married and did not change my name. In the jurisdiction in which I got married, it became illegal for women to change their surnames upon marriage in 1981. This change in civil law was made to bring the law in line with the Charter of Rights which declared equality between men and women...

I have used Ms. since I was old enough for people to start asking me.

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From: [personal profile] jae - Date: 2014-04-05 13:57 (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2014-03-29 15:06 (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
"Other" because you didn't leave a space for "married but did not change my name or title."

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From: [personal profile] ailbhe - Date: 2014-03-30 20:04 (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2014-03-29 15:50 (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
[X] Prefer the use of earned titles, but otherwise no title use at all, and am trying to train myself away from the use of gendered pronouns when talking about others.


[X] Prefers that marriage be relegated to a religious ceremony with no civic or governmental rights or privileges accrued and that all functions currently held by marriage be performed by civil contracts instead, so as to rectify the codified discrimination that privileges marriage over other living situations.

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From: [personal profile] silveradept - Date: 2014-03-30 13:47 (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2014-03-29 15:55 (UTC)
fanf: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fanf
Titles should be abolished.

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Date: 2014-03-29 16:19 (UTC)
ephemera: celtic knotwork style sitting fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] ephemera
[x] have been married, and changed my name, but not my title (I go by Ms, have done so since I was 16, and wanted to continue to do so, which confused the ever living heck out of all sorts of people) and both my husband and I changed out last names, so we matched, but I wasn't taking his family name.

Date: 2014-03-29 17:47 (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
The most important thing is that whatever people choose for themselves is respected by other people, even though that's incompatible with "everyone should". If I had to choose a female title for myself, I would go with "Ms" married or not, but I'd be equally OK with "everyone go by Mrs" if that's what everyone else did.

If I wanted to maintain a Miss/Mrs distinction, I think I'd use Mrs if I had children, whether or not I married or took someone else's name. And I find the "Mrs only with his surname" rule ridiculous, even although other people I respect a lot don't think it's that bad, so if I were married with my own surname, I'd choose Mrs over Miss automatically.

I think it's totally fine to have different combinations acceptable in different contexts, it's just really offensive for someone else to impose their idea of what's correct on you when you disagree with it.

Date: 2014-03-30 04:01 (UTC)
megpie71: Denzel looking at Tifa with a sort of "Huh?" expression (Are you going to tell him?)
From: [personal profile] megpie71
Okay, perspective from Australia here. I'm not married to my partner of over fifteen years (our relationship is recognised as a de-facto marriage under Australian law, and has been since the seven year mark). I'm Ms $MYNAME; he is Mr $HISNAME; Mrs $HISNAME is my mother-in-law, who doesn't live with us; Mrs $MYNAME is either my mother or my aunt, and neither of them live with us either. The main advantage of the current arrangement is it provides a whole heap of very truthful ways of confounding telemarketers.

He and I recognise each other as our next-of-kin in paperwork, and as partners in all the various legal forms which come our way. One of the neat little quirks in Australian law is that de-facto marriages are recognised as having all the advantages and disadvantages of legal marriages anyway (certainly on a bureaucratic front there is nothing different between a de-facto marriage or marriage-like-arrangement, and an actual legal marriage aside from an additional piece of paperwork recognising it. Very much like the Stevenson definition of marriage as "a friendship recognised by the police").

True story: at least part of the reason de-facto relationships are recognised as being fully equivalent to legal relationships in Australia is due to the tabloid-generated fear that homosexual couples would be able to get away with higher rates of government benefits. After all, if two people who live together aren't in a relationship with each other (or if the relationship they're in can't be recognised by the government) then they're each eligible for the full single rate of various benefits, which is generally higher than the partnered rate. I can remember the newspaper articles which were flying around when this was first being recognised, talking about the potential for two lesbians to be living together and each claiming sole parent pension (which is higher than the dole) for their children, and thus doing better than some poor, innocent, married heterosexual woman who's reduced to parenting allowance (which isn't as high as sole parent pension)! Gasp! Foolish bigotry occasionally has its uses...

As far as titles and name changing and so on go, I stick with this: other people should be allowed to do whatever they want with regard to their surname/patronymic/matronymic/etc. I'm going to continue ticking the "Ms" box when asked for a title, and stick with the name which has followed me all my life since it first got registered on my birth certificate nearly forty-three years ago. About the only thing I'd like to see happening is a general recognition of Ms as the default social title for women where you don't know their marital status. I stopped being "Miss" back when I was in my late teens.

I'm not married, and I'm not planning to get married, because quite frankly, we don't legally need to be married for our relationship to be recognised. If it ever turns out he and I will need to be legally married to obtain some service or other well, firstly I'll be letting himself fire both barrels at whichever nincompoop is telling us that (and fully expecting the rules to alter quick smart), or alternatively we'll go and get a quick registry office service done, and come back with the appropriate paperwork.

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From: [personal profile] ceb - Date: 2014-03-30 12:21 (UTC) - Expand

de-facto relationships

Date: 2014-03-30 07:23 (UTC)
bens_dad: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bens_dad
I'm uneasy about official/legal recognition of de-facto marriage.

When Liberace died he was having an affair with his chauffeur (IIRC). The chauffeur claimed this was a marriage and that it made him Liberace's heir, overriding his will.
I don't know what Liberace wished but it is likely to be less messy if we go by deliberate actions rather than passive happenings.

Is the Australian law absolutely clear what starts, stops and resets the seven year clock ?
Possibilities for starting the clock could be: third date, first sleep over, buying an extra tooth brush, tenant moving into the flat one of you was living in.
More seriously, is someone secretly running two relationships a bigamist ? At least a mistress knows she has no legal rights.

Has does the 7 year rule work for a poly-amorous group ?

On the other hand, the UK has a phrase "common law [husband/wife/spouse]" which has NO legal force and hence is just as dangerous in the opposite direction.

Date: 2014-03-30 07:51 (UTC)
bens_dad: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bens_dad
x Married and didn't change either name or title.

There is a historical formal rule by which a married woman takes her husband's forenames as well as his surname, to distinguish her from her mother-in-law. That once got mixed up with using names and no title, and I ended up opening post with my name on it intended for my wife.

I understand that the full Spanish system involves four surnames: two inherited from each parent. I like that idea, but understand that the two everyday surnames, which are also those you pass on, come from your father; if you used one from each parent (I'm thinking mother's mother and father's father) I'd feel more comfortable.
I think this could be extended so that on marriage you drop one name and take one from your partner and your children would use this pair until they marry. I suppose that does make some grandparents feel included and others excluded...

Date: 2014-04-03 14:01 (UTC)
khalinche: (Default)
From: [personal profile] khalinche
I may be reading your explanation of surnames in Spanish-speaking countries wrong, but what you describe isn't how I understand it to work. Generally people have two surnames (and often two first names as well). The first and main surname is the father's surname and the second, secondary surname is inherited from the mother. Often, it is abbreviated to the initial. So Maria Elena whose father is Reynaldo Gonzalez Veracruz and whose mother is Miriam Aleyida Gutierrez Cruz will probably be Maria Elena Gonzalez Gutierrez on her birth certificate, but in everyday life will go by Maria Elena Gonzalez G. or just Maria Gonzalez.

Married women keep their full names but sometimes (and this is perceived as a bit toney) will add 'de $husbandname'. So if Maria gets married to Jorge Quiroga Aviles she will be Maria Elena Gonzalez de Quiroga. I know at least one person who goes by, let's say, Laura de Flores where Flores is her husband's last name, but she's in a minority and I suspect it's because her late husband was quite well known.

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Date: 2014-03-30 12:07 (UTC)
kalypso: (Aliases)
From: [personal profile] kalypso
I'd prefer to advance to a situation where titles weren't used. In the meantime, I could go with Citizen or Comrade or similar.

Date: 2014-03-30 20:09 (UTC)
ailbhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ailbhe
Yeah, I think Adult shortened to Ad could work too, as could Per for Person. We'd have Ad Leamy, Ch Leamy, Ad Collier, Ch Collier, etc. Or just all Per. I can see the point of using titles to create a formal distance; I've done it with salesmen.

Date: 2014-03-31 07:43 (UTC)
ewx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ewx
[x] whatever title each person wants, and for this to actually be honored reliably (the latter part being what distinguishes it from the status quo).

Date: 2014-03-31 11:53 (UTC)
sparrowsion: female house sparrow (female house sparrow)
From: [personal profile] sparrowsion
Another [x] married, kept title and name. Although we talked a lot about name changes at the time (and have brought up the topic of me changing surname recently).

I've written quite enough about what I think about titles, but the summary is: I don't agree with married/unmarried distinctions; I'm happy for people to have gendered distinctions, but I also want a recognised "prefer not to say" and ideally an "other" as well; I would rather strangers used a title with me than my first name, although I do have the useful side-step of a legal name which is not my everyday use name.

Date: 2014-03-31 12:04 (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
I told my bank I'm a Ms. My mother insists I'm a Miss. Personally I don't really use any title; very people people address me as Ms or Miss Cousins (pretty much just my bank...) and I'm always happy to be Helen or Naath (I guess actually I use *that* distinction to mark the formality of the interaction... it may say something that my parents use Helen...).

Of course I know many people (such as my mother) who just HATE to not be Title Surname in formal circumstances. So I don't think we can "just get rid of titles" really.

I guess I think we should default to Mx but allow people to provide a preferred title if they want one, and make sure to include "no title" for people who hate them.

I'm not married, I think I might change my name if I did marry *but only if my spouse did so too*. I like the idea of "sharing a name" (and getting a nice shiny new name that isn't my parents' name) but I don't like the default that women change and men don't.

I'm generally ambivalent towards the whole institution of marriage; my feelings towards it are improving with every step the law takes towards making it better (ways to go still I think). I think a legal "yes, this person and I are family now" thing is pretty useful in lots of ways; but a lot of the traditional associations of marriage are kinda yucky.

Date: 2014-05-01 11:48 (UTC)
beckyc: Me, wearing a gas mask (Default)
From: [personal profile] beckyc
I think I might change my name if I did marry *but only if my spouse did so too*

This was essentially my position. I was quite happy to change it if S did. I suggested of a fusion, double-barrelling of mysurname-S'ssurname, a different name from within one of our families (from e.g. a grandmother or great grandmother) or an entirely new name.

The only two names I vetoed were S's surname and S'ssurname-mysurname (the latter might sound a strange veto out of context, but S's surname is one letter different from my father's first name ).

Since S refused to change surname, we explained it to rellies that S doesn't want to change his bachelor name, and I'm of course fully supportive of this, so please refer to us as Ms Becky C and Dr S- W-

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Date: 2014-04-18 10:11 (UTC)
ext_66326: (Default)
From: [identity profile] lnr.livejournal.com
I hope you don't mind a very late comment. I too am married but changed neither name nor title, and am still Ms, which I've been using since around 11. I'll answer to Mrs Snape, and consider it to be one of my names, but is neither my formal nor preferred version. I'd love it if my bank were to recognise both names, but they refuse to do so.

I find any organisation which insists on a title infuriating these days, but the more restrictive they are the more so, I occasionally still come across ones which only offer Miss/Mrs/Mr but they are rare. In those cases I use Mr, out of stubbornness.

Gender neutral titles would be nice (for pronouns I tend to use they quite a lot anyway). But personally I'll probably stick with Ms even if Mx or Misc become common.

Date: 2014-04-18 10:18 (UTC)
ext_66326: (Default)
From: [identity profile] lnr.livejournal.com
Oh and I'd use Ms or no title by default if I don't know someone's title and can't ask, but reckon we should let people dictate which title they prefer, regardless of marital state. Trying to remember who prefers what is hard but in most situations you don't need title anyway, and where they are needed preferences can usually be recorded. Companies who take you title then just use Mrs anyway REALLY piss me off.

It would be nice if people do prefer to gradually let Miss and Mrs die out in my opinion, and perhaps later Ms and Mr too, but I don't see a need to impose it when many people do have strong preferences which don't always match my own. If we went to Miss or Mrs for everyone I'd be pretty cross.

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Re: hiding marital status

From: [personal profile] atreic - Date: 2014-04-30 08:23 (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2014-04-29 17:19 (UTC)
antisoppist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] antisoppist
Late comment as I am browsing network instead of going home to domestic chaos.

[X] married didn't change surname or title, have used Ms since I was about 17 I think but that's only on forms and I can't really see why anyone needs a title anyway. I am married because the father of my children is Finnish and it would all be much more complicated if we weren't. The kids have his surname because his grandfather Finnicised it in a patriotic spirit after independence and there aren't many of them, but they have my surname as an extra middle name, which they will hate me for when they get to the form-filling stage.

Date: 2014-05-21 22:53 (UTC)
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
From: [personal profile] karen2205
I wrote about this a while ago.

I think supporting people in their own choices about what they called is more important than dealing with the other problems at this point - I would prefer use of Miss/Mrs to be deprecated over time, because I don't think a woman's marital status is something that should be one of the first thing you learn about someone. But I think it's more important that a new regime of titles isn't imposed on people or change forced too fast.

I'm a Ms, I will answer to Miss and hate being called Mrs.

I am not married and very much doubt I will ever marry. Barring something exceptional, like changing my whole identity to hide from someone, I will never change my name.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

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