Friday, June 26, 2009


I can't remain mum on this one any longer. I've held back. I've attempted not to care. And finding myself caring, I've tried to keep quiet. But no more. For I'm awfully perturbed.

Today's bee in my bonnet: Women who don't have their own email addresses.

My husband has done a bang-up job of stifling the fiery feminism he found raging within me when we first met, but it's not dead altogether. Thus I start yelling at my computer when I receive emails from women who contact and communicate with me using their husband's account. Get your own address! Don't let 'im swallow you whole! I smack my desk and the dog runs from my office in fear. You have an identity! Let it have its own email address! Puh-leeze! So what if you took on his last name? You didn't take on his first too, now did you?

I think of those women as wusses. The kind of women who ask permission rather than consult. Women who allow their views, desires, ideas, ambitions and all other original sundries be consumed in those of their husbands. They aren't a partner. They're a subordinate.

All this I contrive from a mere email account.

And I find myself infuriated, for we are not the second sex (thank you Ms. de Beauvoir). (Sometimes we don't even need sex.)

Women Power has become a cliché but unnecessarily so. Women have power too much neglected, ignored, or unrecognized. Women have both a sublime and overt capacity to compel, theorize, act, and accomplish in ways that are grand. In ways that change. In ways that differ. In ways that ignite. In whatever arena they choose, women have the aptitude to stand out and up as able and worthwhile.

In the world we inhabit today we don't zero in on or often consider issues surrounding women's rights (unless it's To Choose) or a woman's place in society. We don't because we don't think of it as a modern subject. However, beneath a confidence in our fought-for and deserved equality lie problems. I see one of them as a self-imposed (hopefully [oh please, hopefully], not spouse-imposed) restraint born of women not seeing themselves as contributory or as adequate.

Far, far too often, perhaps even most of the time, these muddled woman are mothers who stay at home. They too frequently forget (or forgo) their grasp on power within their scope--even underestimating the spread of their scope. They resign themselves, whether it be intentionally or otherwise, to only operate within the trite and nonintellectual. This shouldn't be so. Ever.

I moan for more from these forgetting women because they have more to give. And to get.

And it can start with getting their own email address.

For those who don't are pitiful.


whitneyingram said...

All this from an e-mail address.

Megan said...

All of the fourth paragraph from an email address. The rest just sparked by my feelings about it.

The Fear Fam said...

Man, you weren't kidding when you said you had an opinion on everything!

Some people just aren't email people, hard as that is to believe in this day and age. For instance, my husband and I share an email account (with both our names listed), mainly because he is not an email person and I do most of the emailing for us as a family. Being married 8 years and having 4 kids means that much of our communication is shared communication, whether it be making announcements to family & friends, or communicating with our landlord. Having one email address is a matter of convenience, not weakness.

For the record, I'm not offended by your post. I have a feeling you're talking about receiving emails from "Jack Doe" when they're really from Jane (as opposed to addresses that list both names), but regardless, I think it is quite a leap to assume that women who use their husband's email address are pitiful, downtrodden wusses ... some people (dare I say, most people) just aren't as passionate as you are about email. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes an email address is just an email address.

Megan said...

My Fear friend, you are wonderful. You're right about the kind of email address I'm talking about. And though you make some excellent points, I still can't fathom a woman who doesn't maintain her own point of e-contact.

But let's talk about what really struck me about your comment; 8 years and 4 kids? Holy Wow. Yeah, wow. I've been married to my taller half for 7 years and we can't fathom even 1.

Jessica said...

i think this is especially interesting considering the religious culture I grew up in. the culture tends to lean toward defaulting to the husband, despite the fact that the actual religion teaches us to be interdependent and have our own identity. it is unfortunate if the shared email address DOES reflect some sort of subordination in the marriage.

rabidrunner said...

Oh ho ho ho ho! I haven't even read this yet, but I have the same bee in my bonnet! It's like sharing underwear. I'll read it then make a comment. Cheap of me yeah?

Shanicherie said...

What about older women who just aren't computer savvy though? My mother would much rather make a phone call and speak to someone personally rather than email.

I do, however, think it's strange when women under say...35 don't have one.

rabidrunner said...

I don't necessarily have an opinion on whether or not it's subordination. Prolly is - honestly haven't thought about it that way until you brought it to my attention - but it's just bad communication.

Case in point. When you write a letter to a friend, to you address it to:

John and Jane Doe
(Especially Jane)
8080 South Market Street

No. You address it to:
Jane Doe
8080 South Market Street

I feel that when I write someone with shared e-mail addresses, I have to say: Is Jane there? If so, may I converse with her? Have her reply to me when she's available.

I guess I could say: This message is for Jane. But I don't. I like to do things the hard way.

Misti said...

That's just odd. IMO. But, I've had my own email address since 1996, so meh.

And Rabid is completely right!

Anonymous said...

i'm with rabidrunner on this one. but i also think that your larger point has gone unresponded to. i've spent the last 4 years trying to teach 18-25 year olds that feminism isn't a dirty word, and that it's not all about lesbians and abortions. it's been interesting to see women respond when they realize, "hey, i'm the boss of me," and recognize their autonomy, which wasn't necessarily being stifled, but they were unwilling to use it because no one had made clear to them that they could.
it was always of particular interest to me when this issue became linked to political action. so many of my female students were deferring to the ideology of the male authority in their life, or ignoring their role as a political actor all together, not realizing that so many of the political decisions that are made in this country are "women's issues" like access to health care, education, child care, equal pay for equal work, etc.
i think this post highlights something really important, the fact that so many people don't realize that small things make a difference, both in the way you may be perceived (which doesn't necessarily matter, but come on, we all ultimately care how we present ourselves to the world or it would be all sweatpants and swearwords for the lot of us), and the way you feel about yourself. for someone who isn't a "techy" or "email-y" kind of person, think of the sense of accomplishment and pride one might gain from figuring out their own email/technological communications. and while i understand that people w/ busy lives may want to streamline communication by way of a shared email address, there's a magic little button known as "cc" or "carbon copy" wherein you can share all correspondence you deem necessary, without that unfortunate consequence of being (mrs)

whitneyingram said...

incrediblejulk was spot on. As was rabid. Bravah.

I have my own e-mail because I always have. And there a lot of e-mails from my current boyfriends that Ethan REALLY shouldn't see, just for the sake of his own sanity. I am protecting HIM by having my own e-mail address.

Megan said...

Wait, Errin (incrediblejulk to ya'll), you mean I had a larget point and just used the email thin as a lead-in to it? Taking something that irks me and using it to help make a point regarding something I'm a little fiery about?

That's just craziness. (Of the sane variety.)

You all should read Whit's emails from her old boyfriends. My, my, there's some juicy nonsense in there. She is saving Ethan.

And what's with all of you being in love with Rabid? She's mine.

Megan said...

I have seriously got to be more careful when doing my response comments on my phone. The typos and overall disjointedness of it are embarrassing.

Julie said...

I swear to you that we had this VERY discussion/debate last summer in my critical theory class. Not even kidding. And what was the spring board for such heated discussion? None other than The Second Sex. Brian Kubarycz (the teacher) would be so proud.

cat+tadd=sam said...

I certainly allow my husband read emails from my current and/or ex-boyfriends. Get's him all fired up.

Misti said...

Oh crap. Meg, I'm going to be anal and correct you. It's y'all. I am a Texan, so with our oil and big hair, I do think I should represent. ;) But, that doesn't mean my grammar is always correct either.

As for incrediblejulk's response, spot on again. It bothers me that my contemporaries are very apathetic about things like this. Then they demonize bra burning, but do they even realize what it all meant?

Megan said...

Good to know, Misti.

I'll have to correct you as well: Despite what it says by my profile it's Megan, not Meg. :o)

lindsey v said...

Shared email addresses have always bothered me too. And you have so eloquently explained why.

Another thing that bothers me (a little off the subject but...) is when a woman is out for the night (with friends or for some kind of churchy activity) and after she has been there for a couple of hours she says: Well, I guess I better get home and rescue [husband's name] from the baby!

Really? He can't take care of the baby for one night? He doesn't know how to put him/her to bed? He is drowning in own helplessness as we speak? Yeah, I guess you better leave. (I realize that if a person is nursing a baby then it is a different story. They might really need to leave. But I've heard the previous sentence used for non-nursed children.)

It bugs me. I hear it often.

Unknown said...

Both myself and my husband have this on our "What the what??!" list. A hearty "Here!HERE!" to your post!