When I got married at 25, I struggled mightily with the question of whether to change my name. At the time, I was just out of grad school, had only written a handful of published articles and was not well-established in my writing career or life, but it still struck me as odd to discount all of that and move forward with a brand new name.
So, I compromised. I hyphenated (as evidenced from above) and as a result, I use both last names depending on who I am talking to at any given time. But you can also call me Mrs. Worsham and I won't flip my lid. I might feel a little old -- after all, that is my mother-in-law's name - but I won't be angry. I like being a Mrs. Even with my feminist leanings and 1970's era feminist mom who would be annoyed with me saying so, the title Mrs. has never really bothered me.
For some, however, it is a real problem.
Huffington Post blogger Barbara Hannah Grufferman wrote an essay last week discussing her feelings on the Mrs. She especially talked about the similar situation that Germany had with the word Fraulein:
In Germany, it used to be that Fraulei (the equivalent ofMiss in the U.S.) was used for any woman who was unmarried, regardless of age. Frau (Mrs.) was reserved for married women only. Therefore, a woman who was 80 and unmarried would still be referred to as Fraulein, which was viewed by many as insensitive and condescending. Not that long ago, though, Germany adopted a new standard for how women are to be addressed: All women, regardless of age or marital status are now referred to as Frau. It's not a written law, per se, but it has become part of the collective consciousness of the German people, and the standard. Why can't the United States figure this out?
But what is there to figure out? I can't be the only one who feels this is over thinking a bit. As American women we have three possibilities. We have Miss, which is usually for very young, unmarried women, Ms., which is for every woman regardless of marital status and Mrs., which is for married women only.
In the politically correct world of business and certainly in the Northeast where I live, Ms. is the most commonly used and I am OK with that. But there are occasions when I travel to the Midwest or the South where Mrs. is still used and I am OK with that, too. It feels sort of charming and old-fashioned.
I like being married. I like being tied to my husband and I like the formality and tradition of Mrs. I still think I can be a feminist with a hyphenated name AND enjoy being called Mrs. Brown-Worsham on occasion. Now, to be honest, I don't love when I am addressed as Mrs. Robert Worsham. Then I feel like my whole identity has been usurped, but it is not the "Mrs." part I take issue with.
Maybe it is because I got married on the young side at 25 or because I do tie a lot of my identity up in my marriage, but it does not bother me to be Mrs. Call me any of them, if you please.
But if you call me Miss, I will be especially pleased.
Does being called "Mrs." bother you?