Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sexism in Language

In this blog I will point out a an examples of sexism in language.

As I pointed out in an earlier post I adapted my wife's name after we married. Although this is legally possible since the year 1998, not everybody adapted accordingly.

There are a lot of forms in which you have to fill out your name. It is often the case that the name should be the same name as found in your passport i.e. your birth name. But the forms ask to fill in your maiden name. Well the last time I checked, I never was a maiden. Furthermore, I have no intention of ever becoming one. So I regard this as a strange question.

The origins of the use of this language are clear to me. A long time ago only women could take on an other name. So if someone wanted to know your birth name she could reason as follows:

  1. Males can be asked for their name, regardless of their marital status.
  2. Females can be asked for their name, unless they are married. Then they should be asked for their maiden name.

But since the 1998 this rule does not apply any more. And if you want to know my birth name ask for it. It is been twelve years, everybody had enough time change their forms. I regard this as a very sexist use of language.

1 comment:

  1. I have a friend in the UK who took his wife's surname upon marrying her. He is now Mr Doubtfire. :-)