In the days of my young adulthood women were identified in conjunction with their husbands. For example, a newspaper might mention “Mary Brown, wife of John Brown.” Times have changed and many women stand in their own right, without reference to husbands or partners, but I was surprised last Friday to hear the tables turned.
On the PBS Newshour, during the part of the program my husband and I refer to as “the pundits’ section,” Judy Woodruff, while talking with commentators Mark Shields and David Brooks, referred to a statement made by “Mark Kelly, wife of Gabby Giffords.” Not Mark Kelly, former astronaut. Not Mark Kelly, former Navy captain. Not Mark Kelly, brother of Scott Kelly, who is in space for a year, while Mark comprises the control group back on this planet. No, “Mark Kelly, wife of Gabby Giffords.”
Granted the topic was gun control and Mark Kelly, after his wife was almost assassinated, is now an advocate for some gun control measures. For that reason, it was a natural description, but it was so unusual it surprised me. Do you think Bill Clinton will become the “husband of Hillary Clinton?”