Jeebus! According to a new study half of female respondents say that - wait for it - women should be mandated by the government to take their husband's name. We are...troubled by this:
Now, don't worry: this study, presented by the American Sociological Association, wasn't actually taking the lay of the land for a possible law. Rather, the researchers, from Indiana University and the University of Utah, used this question -less politically charged than many, but a good indication of general inclinations - to get the 815 respondents (an admittedly fairly small sample) to open up about a range of social issues. Said one researcher, according to USA Today, "Because it's not politicized, people just answer the question without really thinking about it...It sort of taps into people's views about all kinds of things."
Overall, 70% of those polled felt, according to USA Today, "either somewhat or strongly, that it's beneficial for women to take her husband's last name when they marry." And the divides did not appear to be generational. The same researcher called the enthusiasm for government-mandated name-change "interesting"; I'd probably use another word - especially if this is, indeed, an indicator of people's larger views. (Although I'm wondering what the results were "code" for: "no socialized socialist medicine socialists," paradoxically?) People feeling a single name encourages family unity, as many proponents stated, is one thing; taking away choice from something so wholly personal is quite another - and is one of those awful things that, like Michael Jackson's death, is initially shocking - and then, after a moment's depressed reflection, not at all.