Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Taking the man's surname

The "Dear Annie" advice columnists have written several columns on whether a wife should take her husband's name, and here is their latest:
Women used to take their husband's surname because they were considered their husband's property. Many women continue to do so because they respect tradition, prefer the husband's name, don't want to confuse the children, like to give the impression that they are subservient to their husbands, whatever. ... When men are expected to take their wife's surname upon marriage, we'll be happy to ask for their input.
No, that is not correct. The reason for that tradition is to induce the father to take responsibility for the kids. Before DNA tests and test-tube babies, kids could be sure about their mothers, but not about their fathers unless certain social structures were firmly in place. One of those is marriage, and paternal naming is another. And usually the mom wants to have the same surname as the kids.

Those social structures are being systematically destroyed for ideological reasons. In the brave new world, kids will have to rely on DNA tests.

A couple of days ago, these columnists gave this sick advice:
All young children masturbate. ... At school and at home, it should be explained to the [9-year-old] girl that this is something to be done in her bedroom or bathroom.
I am surprised that this even gets published in a family newspaper. These women give really terrible advice.

Update: A new Pew study says about 39 percent of Americans said marriage was becoming obsolete. Marriage depends on it being a social norm, so it will be obsolete when most people think so.

Update: The columnists got many letters offering much better advice.

Update: Dear Annie published another response:
Dear Annie: ... As a guy, I will never need advice from a couple of feminists with their noses in the air. — Content

Dear Content: ... That would be like letting a woman decide how a man should feel about his erectile dysfunction.
It is rare that any men even write to an advice columnist. Now we see why.

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