Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Women in full

It's time for my yearly campaign to get people to use the full names of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Ross Tubman in the collect for their feast day, four weeks from today. Here's what I wrote about it last year.

The Facebook group I started to promote this now has 52 members, and you're welcome to join.

I also started a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #womeninfull.

I know it's not world peace, but it's about equality and respect, and it continues to rankle me that these women who were all for equality are referred to by a diminutive.

Here's a snippet from Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office (great book!) that explains better than I can why this is important to me.

Whenever I hear a woman answer the phone with only her first name, or leave a voice-mail message that says, "This is Sarah. Please leave your message...," it makes me wonder why she dropped her last name. It's comon among administrative staff--and entirely unnecessary. You will rarely hear a man answer the phone using only his first name*. It's a small but significant difference. Using only your first name relegates you, once again, to a childlike status. Ask a child his or her name and most often you get only the first name. The combination of your first and last name moves you to adulthood.

*The priestly equivalent of that is how often I hear male priests leave a voicemail as "Father X," while female priests often do not claim any title.

Equality occurs in the little things as well as the big ones. How can I believe that the church is interested in men and women being equal in the big things if it can't be equal in the small ones?

Please share the word.

1 comment:

MadPriest said...

People will refer to me as Jonathan or Mr (Rev) Hagger when speaking directly to me (on the phone for example). They never refer to me in such situations as Jonathan Hagger (Hello, Jonathan Hagger, just doesn't sound right and could be regarded as aggressive). Therefore, as I agree with your position on this, it annoys me that "Ms" or an equivalent title, never caught on. In fact so many women hate being called Ms that I am often guilty of referring to women by their first name only in situations where I would refer to a man as Mr and then his surname. It may be different in the States but this is definitely the situation in England.