Mrs. John Doe

Hello, I’m Mrs. John Doe.  I have no identity of my own.  I can only be known by my husband’s name.  Who I am is meaningless and irrelevant.  I have no value as a person so must find my value through my husband.

This is the subtext I hear in my head when a woman calls in and identifies herself with her husband’s identity.  I know it is a generational thing.  It happens very rarely.  But there are older ladies that cling to that form of address.

It drives me bonkers. 

Completely bonkers. 

Utterly Bonkers.

I see no value in it and no point to it.  I start to feel this overwhelming urge to ask a series of questions that might get me in trouble at work.

“Don’t you have a name?” 

“Did your mother really name a daughter Thomas?”

“Don’t you have an identity?” 

“Don’t you have any self-respect?”

“Don’t you realize you are your own person?” 

“Do you really only find your self-worth through your husband?”

“Don’t you realize that when you identify yourself like that, you tell everyone that your own identity is meaningless?  That you are meaningless?”

A coworker who sits next to me says I’m silly.  That it is no big deal.  But it is.  It means this woman is stuck in a mentality that tells her she had no identity outside of her marriage.  When I come across women who have militantly held on to their husband’s identity rather than their own, I wonder if they were the women who tried to hold other women back.  The women who agreed with the idea that women didn’t need to continue school past age 16.  The women who believed that all girls should get married.   So there was no need for women to be able to get bank loans or hold property in their own names.  Women like that U.S. Senator that was quoted saying that women shouldn’t have needed the right to vote.  The fact that women have the right to vote is just proof that men were not doing their jobs properly.  She couldn’t support the 19th Amendment because it started the erosion of family values.  I can’t believe a female politician would say that.  (Senator Kay O’Connor if anyone wants to look it up)

So yes, I get offended when I hear someone say, “I am Mrs. John Doe.”  It tells me that she sided with the people who want to keep women tied to the kitchen sink, barefoot and pregnant, with no rights or identity of her own.

Maybe I am taking it too much to heart?  Maybe I am over reacting?  Or maybe I’m just really cranky today and it was that one little thing to push me over the edge?

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