Wednesday, September 03, 2014

What’s in a name? A lot, it looks like.

I read The Wrap for entertainment news, Hollywood movies and TV stuff. Read and forget – that’s my usual routine. But this Wrap rap did catch my eye instantly. There, we had Sharon Waxman, a former New York Times columnist, waxing eloquently and flinging a provocative challenge at The New York Times: “Hey, New York Times ‘Vows’ Section: Who Cares If ‘The Bride is Keeping Her Name'?”  (For a moment, it made me think of the good ol’ “Hark, who goes there?” routine.) Her bone of contention is the venerable newspaper making it a point to mention without fail in its Vows coverage that all the brides were keeping their respective maiden surnames.

At the height of the Feminist Movement, brides wore their maiden surnames as a badge of honour, you’ll recall. Later on, it became a matter of unstated routine, also a matter of convenience. Women started marrying later and later in life. By then they had kind of got accustomed to their original moniker. Also, career reasons as well as the long legal rigmarole involved in acquiring a new name may prompt the refusal to disturb the status quo.

Waxman’s target, though, seems to be the paper she worked for earlier. She points a finger at their boast about being the first to report same-sex nuptials. She would have preferred if her former employer had included significant details such as a Caucasian woman marrying an Afro-American or human interest tidbits such as the bride having lost 50 pounds of weight on her way to the church podium. And, so forth.

This is 2014. And, in the US of A, this issue is still being discussed. Will wonders never cease to pop up?