Why I'm a Ms.

Sometime during undergrad I got really turned off to being identified as Miss and decided to go by Ms. Particularly when I started teaching Ms. was more amenable. Now I'm married and technically a Mrs., but I still go by Ms.


I've been thinking about this a lot lately, because I've been filling out tons of forms. They all request you to tick "Miss", "Ms." or "Mrs." as a female. Men tick "Mr." and are done with it. When I can, of course, I tick "Dr." I choose "Ms." but in some cases that still implies I am divorced, which is not the case.

So I could quote Gloria Steinem or give an etymology lesson (btw, "Mrs." comes from a word that denoted ownership of the woman by her husband... gross), but that's not really what this is about.

I'm married. I made the choice to take the legal step(s) involved (even though it is primarily a spiritual covenant). I don't have a reason to hide my marital status, nor do I ever want to. And I'll admit that when we first got married I was excited to be called "Mrs."

But my name is so important to me. That's why we both hyphenated. I didn't have to drop my name to show I was married, and neither did he. One brand new, awesome name, combining the two. So why wouldn't I obsess over my title?

There are so many things that reflect the inequity of the choices men and women have. So when I have this great choice to adopt a title simply identifying me as a woman (not a married vs. single woman) I'll take it. The world is not set up to openly assist women and men in declaring themselves as they sit fit, so in this instance it's really important to me.

As an aside, though my husband has been "Mr." the whole time (single and married), you know the trials we went through trying to change his name. And now, many forms ask for a maiden name, suggesting only women change theirs. He crosses it out and puts "former" or "other" names.

Being called Ms. doesn't make me less married. It simply reflects my desire for equality in the world, a desire to identify as a partner not as one belonging to someone else. It's not a statement of independence, but of interdependence.

So it all means something. Every little bit.

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Cory said...

I have loved "belonging" to my husband for the past 25 years, and still do! Thankfully he also enjoys "belonging" to me! I hear your reasoning, but don't totally understand your need for "independence". Do you not believe in Biblical headship in marriage?

EKH said...

Cory, thank you for your question.

We would be happy to share more about the Biblical basis for our beliefs, not that we are the final Biblical authorities. We are just like any Christians who seek to understand God's Biblical truth and apply it to our lives. We don't always get it right, but we trust in God's grace and guidance when we go astray.

We believe in Biblical equality and that the idea of hierarchy within a marriage, as common as it may be within the church, is contradictory to the liberating grace of Jesus. As Galatians 3:28 states, "There is no Jew, nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ." While Ephesians 5:22 says that wives should submit to their husbands, it follows Ephesians 5:21 which says that all believers should submit to one another. Therefore, we practice mutual submission to each other, and we believe that to be a Biblical practice.

Christ is the head of our lives. He loves both of us equally and gives us the opportunity to serve him equally based on our gifts, more than our gender.

As my wife stated, she is not making "a statement of independence, but of interdependence." We hyphenated our names as a reflection of unity and interdependence.

bliss said...

well hello new favorite blog! Thank you guys so much writing this (and writing it together at that!) My husband and I both hyphenated when we got married in 1/07, so we're familiar with ordeal of changing a man's name vs. a woman's. I don't at all think taking your husbands name is bad or shows submission, nor do I think hyphenating or not changing your name at all shows a need to be be independent from one another. We chose to combine our names because it was the beginning of us together and it just seemed most fitting. It's a pain sometimes picking up prescriptions of putting your name down for a reservation but we wouldn't have done it any different.

LKH said...

Thanks to you both for reading!

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