Mr. HalfFull and I went to a show at the Kennedy Center. While we were sitting in the audience flipping through the playbill, Mr. HalfFull pointed out something interesting. The Kennedy Center lists all the First Ladies since Gerald Ford as Honorary Chairs of their Board of Trustees. But there is a difference between the most recent three and the first four.
It was a subtle contrast in the boring black and white pages unrelated to the show; I usually flip through those quickly. Kudos to Mr. HalfFull for pointing it out to me!
First Ladies Obama, Bush, and Clinton are all listed with their own first names (and Clinton with her current official title of Secretary). I wonder if this was something Hillary Clinton requested during her husband’s presidency. Perhaps she wanted Rodham as part of her printed name, so they had to use her first name instead of Bill’s. Or was this just part of the times and new protocol? I have no idea, but I like the new trend.
I’ve always thought of Laura Bush as very traditional, so I would think she would prefer Mrs. George Bush. But they already had Mrs. George Bush for her mother-in-law Barbara (a Smithie by the way…Gloria Steinem would not approve), so maybe that’s why Laura is used.
I don’t necessarily identify myself as a feminist, but I suppose I do have some feminist tendencies. [Head nod from Mr. HalfFull.] I don’t think a woman should give up her complete identity upon marriage. I know there are a lot of viewpoints for and against taking your husband’s surname after marriage. I did change my name, opting to use my maiden name as a middle name. That way when I write out my whole name, people who knew me personally and professionally before marriage would still recognize my name, while realizing that I’m now married and part of a new family unit.
But on this blog, we each get to keep our own name and identity. He can be HalfFull and I can stay HalfEmpty, despite his continued attempts to recruit me away from the dark side. I admit that I find it hilarious when junk mail arrives for his first name and my last name! Are they trying to tell him something??? Or are advertisers just changing with the times?
To change your last name and not even get to keep your first name, as in Mrs. HisFirst HisLast, is simply giving up too much. She has a name too. She’s not just the lady behind the man.
- Which naming convention do you prefer?
- Why do you think the Kennedy Center started changing the name format?
- Should women change their last name after marriage?