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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

Dear Daughters, You wouldn’t have seen this 50 years ago!

Dear Daughters,

Happy first birthday to your youngest cousin who recently turned 1! We enjoyed a nice birthday celebration at her house, complete with a panda birthday cake that did not have a camera dropped on it the night before. For those of you who do not understand that comment please read the earlier post about middle dear daughter’s birthday cake.

The cake was served on pink paper plates, despite the fact that there were male guests (progress), and we had our choice of pink or green [despite the fact that it was a girl’s birthday party (progress)] paper cups for our beverages. The male guests chose green. I was happy to see that the female guests did not automatically default to the pink cups (progress) and that all the guests ate the cake off the pink plates without anyone feeling the need to comment on their color (progress).

In order to keep track of our cups, we labeled them with our names in black permanent marker. I was intrigued and amused to see the label on my brother’s cup (the father of the birthday girl). On it he had written, “Husband of Denise”. There is a story behind his choice of cup ID and he is not viewed by anyone as Denise’s property on a regular basis. The point is that 50 years ago, there is NO WAY any man would have identified himself this way. He couldn’t have. It was all about the husband back then. In fact, a woman’s identification was so closely tied to her husband’s that her cup most likely would have had to have been labeled with some variation of her husband’s name – “Wife of John”, “Mrs. John Smith”, “John’s wife”. Some readers may think I am going a little overboard but don’t forget that the mail for the woman during these times was addressed to Mrs. John B. Smith. In introductions or conversation, women were referred to as John’s wife. Immediately after getting married, the newlywed couple was announced as Mr. and Mrs. John B. Smith”. The man’s name has always been his.

Fast fiorward 50 years to 2012. I smiled as I read my brother’s cup, satisfied that we have come far enough that party guests were simply amused by his choice of ID, just as they would have been amused if Denise had written, “Wife of Josh”. People were not outraged or uncomfortable with it and if not for my asking permission to post this on Dear Daughters, probably would not have given it a second thought. To me this is progress! This is how it should be! But I know we still have more progress to make. When I was married, Christmas cards used to come addressed to me in my husband’s name (this was just in 2010 people!). Women now legally have a choice to keep their maiden name when they marry, but most still choose to take their husband’s last name. Yes, we still have a way to go but for now, enjoy this picture of my brother’s cup that symbolizes the progress towards equality that has already been made.

Husband of Denise

My brother’s a.k.a. “Husband of Denise” cup

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