Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Feminist Education

I went to a women's college. It is a very good women's college and consistently ranks very high in the US News & World Report listing of colleges. My education there framed how I interpret a lot of things in our culture.

Virtually every course had at least a section on women in that field, if not a specifically feminist bent (of course, this is probably less true for science, math, or business majors but as and English and Philosophy major, a LOT of my classes focused heavily on women writers and feminist works).

I'm very proud of my school and proud that I went there. After my wedding, I sent in my update about what alumnae were in and at the wedding. Last week, I got an email from someone at the Alumnae Relations office, saying that they had gotten a notice that I had married Jason, but their records said Mr. I corrected her.

Yesterday, I got a lovely little card from them congratulating us.

It was addressed to Mr & Mrs Husband Newlastname.

So, all that feminist education, all the messages that we are the leaders of tomorrow? You are still reduced to Mrs. Husband.

This seems off to me. It is really bothering me. I know that is the traditional way to do things, but we were taught that traditions are to be respected when they make sense, not just because they are traditions. Is it so hard to write Mr & Mrs Husband & Wife Newlastname?


niobe said...

Okay. That is strange. Most people under the age of, say 70, don't generally use that form and I'd bet that a reasonably large percentage of people would be put off by it. Since one of the main purposes of alumni relations is to rake in donations, I would think that they might well reconsider their policy if you raised it with them.

manogirl said...

I'm not terribly surprised, to be honest. I never saw our alma mater as a place for a feminist education, regardless of the fact that it was all women, and that we did receive a pretty damn good education. What made that education feminist for me was the way I approached it (as all of our friends did, really), and the certain classes with certain professors that I (we) took.

But to discover the administration of the school is still very traditional? Not surprised. Pretty horrifying, though. You'd think they'd even send out something like this: Congrats on your marriage, Wife First name Wife Maiden Name, Wife Married Name. Since you know, you're the one with the relationship to the school. It's nice that they want to acknowledge your hubby, but still.


Rita said...

At first, I thought it might be the administration, but it was the head of the Alumnae office, who signed her name and year - '89. I would have thought that someone who graduated in 1989 would think a little more progressively.

And you're right. Whenever they write about alumnae in the updates they always format it as First Name Maiden Name Married Name.

I think I probably will send her an email - I think it is the same women who emailed to check on Mr's first name.

Mavis said...

From here on out I am addressing all cards to your home as Mrs. & Mr. Rita Newlastname. Either that or I will address them to Hank.