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View Diary: D'var Torah: Deborah, Jael, Miriam, and the problem with "Girl Power" (116 comments)

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  •  bookkeeping: fem must be wife of or daughter of (6+ / 0-)

    some man, mostly, for ident purposes, it appears.

    there is some scandanavian culture in which some surnames end "-dottir" instead of son, and i believe i've read that Navajo familial lines (and some other First Americans/Native Americans) are matrilineal.  'tho i always wondered if someone in Betty Friedan's past removed the "m".

    •  That's Iceland I think (5+ / 0-)

      Even then, I believe the daughter's name is appended from the father's name, not the mother's (but I could be wrong on that.)

      Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

      by EthrDemon on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 03:19:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Apparently it can be both, but it is most often (5+ / 0-)

        patronymic (taking the name from the father.)

        I can confirm that some Native American cultures are matrilineal, particularly Cree, as I have a friend who is partly Cree and who's told me about his background. Interestingly, even though he's only 1/8 Cree by heritage, that 1/8 falls on his mother's side though the female line and so he was raised as Cree.

        "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

        by Eowyn9 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:40:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Before surnames (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eowyn9, ladybug53, mettle fatigue

          men were known as ben (their fathers' names) and women as bat (their mothers' names). Thus a husband and wife would not have the same "last name," nor would a son and his father.

          Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

          by ramara on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 09:25:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Correct about Iceland. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eowyn9, ramara, mettle fatigue

          Most people here have patronymic names, and the "default", which as a general rule people follow unless they have some statement they're wanting to make, is to use the father's name plus "son" or "dóttir". But there are all kinds of reasons a person can switch - someone who wants to make a feminist statement, someone who hates their father, someone who never really knew their father, someone with a really famous mother, and on and on down the line. But it's not the usual case.

          Check out the hilarious "The Office"-ish Næturvaktin/Dagvaktin/Fangavaktin/Bjarnfreðarson series, for an example. One of the main characters is Georg Bjarnfreðarson (Bjarnfreður is a woman's name) - he's often the target of teasing like "Is your dad's name Bjarnfreður?"; his mother in the series was an feminism-activist extremist, to the point of dressing her son in women's clothes when he'd go to school as a child as a statement against patriarchy.

          The literal translation of the Icelandic word for patronymic is "father-name".

          It's important to note that patronymics are treated more like an adjective / additional description than like a "last name". You refer to people by their first names, even famous people and people that you don't know well. You'd never say "Mr. Sigurðsson" for example, that's like saying "Mister son of Sigurður". Even phone books are ordered by first name.

          When asking people about their patronymic, the question literally translates as "Whose son/daughter are you?"

          Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

          by Rei on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 05:34:28 AM PST

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          •  Wow. I never knew all this -- quite fascinating (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ramara, mettle fatigue

            especially the part about phone books being ordered by first name! It sounds confusing to people used to the North American system, but it probably works just as well when you've grown up with it...

            "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

            by Eowyn9 on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 09:53:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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