Poll finds attitude about Ms., what name follows

August 03, 1998|By Knight Ridder/Tribune

Even though more women are choosing to keep their birth names after marriage, the practice still tends to inspire furrowed eyebrows, shock and even horror among people they encounter every day, according to a 12-year study recently completed by Tom Murray, a professor of English at Kansas State University.

Murray, whose study also examined perception of women who use the courtesy title Ms. as opposed to Mrs. or Miss, polled 10,472 people in 12 Midwestern states.

In one of his scenarios, a man and woman had just married, and the woman had decided to keep her last name. In the second, the woman took her husband's last name.

Participants were asked to list attributes which best described each woman.

The majority of those surveyed tended to lean toward traditional stereotypes, assuming the woman who kept her own name was more likely to be independent, less attractive, less likely to make a good wife or mother, more feminist, better educated, more likely to work outside the home, more outspoken, more self-confident, less likely to go to church.

The responses were quite similar about women who used "Ms."

Pub Date: 8/03/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.