Women: Property of their Husbands
As I understand the human customs: In olden days human women would take the last names of their husbands because the wife was considered the property of the husband. Does it apply now since married women still take the name of their husbands?
I believe that's a cultural thing, really. In Spanish culture, I believe it was traditional for the woman to retain her name.
Even in countries where traditionally the woman took her husband's name, if the wife's family happened to be wealthier or more powerful, that name would be passed on to the children instead.
In that case, I don't think it's so much "ownership" as passing on of the family name.
|Does it apply now since married women still take the name of their husbands?|
I think in these "modern" times, the woman's taking on of a man's last name is symbolic of the couple becoming united, one family.
It's more and more popular in weddings for the parents of both man and woman to "give" their sons and daughters to the person they are marrying. I think it's a wonderful new tradition.
You obviously haven't been around Korean women too much. I wouldn't dream of telling my wife she was my property. That would definitely make for a long, cold and very quiet weekend! The world now is predominantly patriachial. There were several matriachial societies even as late as the 1800's. For instance, Ireland has changed a few times from patriarchial to matriachial and back. This was very important in the handing down of land throughout the generations. Sometimes it wasn't the first son that got all the goodies, it was the first or favorite daughter.
In olden times women were most definitely the property of their husbands. Men often saw women as part of their belongings such as land, animals (stock), slaves, etc. Women were often bartered and traded because their position of wife often meant a task or job that made her in charge of the household, maids and so on, but still an underling to the chief - the man. You could almost say that taking a wife was like taking on a recruit at that time. Men often decided whom they would marry based on their ability to work and bare children - there was no love attached to it per se.
In another light some women were glad to marry certain men who had a name that could give them more 'worth' or take them out of a dishonored position to one that would make her honored. In some cultures this still exists today.
Of course now times has changed. This is largely due to women becoming educated and understanding their role in society. Women these days often keep their last name if it is considered of the same or greater value than the name of her husbands - you can see this a lot with celebrities who want to be identified by the name that has made them famous.
I think that attempts to change this idea - that one partner 'belongs' the the other have been made, noticeably in the seventies. But surely it's all about power and money. If a rich and powerful woman today marries a man who isn't rich or powerful she is the one who a) wants to keep her surname and B) wants a certain amount of control within the marriage itself - if only to protect her power and wealth. In the days when a secretary married her boss she carried on her role in their marital situation (one reason men married them in the first place). I can easily imagine a top executive female doing the same today. By marrying a person who already has the 'inferior' role it is easier to continue once married.
| Message Edited...|
Persephone: Please use spell checker.