Thursday, January 20, 2005

Patriarchal names

From an article in today's New York Times:

The gesture to the mothers of France seemed to shake the sacred pillar of patriarchy.

New Year's Day quietly ushered in a change in France's law on last names. It abolished the centuries-old obligation that parents give the patronymic, or name of the father, to their children.

That means that a couple will now be able to give its newborn baby either the mother's last name, the father's last name or both names in the order the parents choose.

A "societal disruption," another proof that fathers are being forced "to renounce one by one the attributes of what used to be called their familial power," complained an editorial in Le Figaro, the center-right daily.

"This reform--we decree it silliness without a name," said a right-wing Roman Catholic newspaper, La Croix, in an editorial, calling the change a boon for genealogists, a nightmare for notaries.

Names are serious indicators of status in a country like France.
3009 students: You (who are now reading a poem about Odysseus, son of Laertes, and Telelmachus, son of Odysseus) can read the whole article here.

[Scroll down this page to "Two Actresses" to learn how to access Times articles.]

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