Of Married and Maiden Names

The wedding vows are complete - you may now ki...

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Via Feministing I came across a rant on Bitch PH.D’s blog about women who choose to change their names when they get married. I did not like the tone of the thing, that women who took their husband’s last name were giving up themselves and were generally unfeminist and encouraging inequality. When I got married I changed my last name.

Before I give you my response I later had another thought. If changing your name is so unfeminist, why get married at all? It’s pretty close. The tradition of marriage is as patriarchal as name-changing. If you read my comment below you’ll see where this fits in.

Our wedding vows written by the officiate were about making a partnership and being equal and honouring each other and ourselves. It was beautiful without being religious which is what we wanted. My dad walked me “down the aisle” and I changed my name.

Not really digging the whole “you give up your identity if you DARE change your name”. Like it’s an affront to the whole of feminism if you decide to follow tradition and change your name.My damn choice …
1. It’s my father’s name …
My “maiden: name was my name, but now this is my new one.i didn’t give up who i was, i shifted it. As my life changed when i got married, so did my name.
2. I’m not that attached to my name.
I’ve been using an online/pseudonym name for years and have had many nicknames. Those are a part of my identity as well as the two last names I’ve had. Who I am is to attached to one name.
3a. I want to have the same name as my children
I did and we decided to go with tradition and use my husbands. We could have one a million things but I took the easy way out. Others go with one of those other choices which is fine. I’m not going to go around shaming them.
I did not share a name with my daughter for years and it never caused any confusion, but _I_ like knowing.

i love this piece of stupidity tho “. But when you support the notion that biology is the most important factor in forming a family, you are supporting a harmful status quo that privileges heterosexual, married, biological families.”
err, can I support all types of families and have my husbands name? Or are the two mutually exclusive? Actually changing my name in a world where more women keep theirs is diversity.  (I so want to go back and edit my comment to say that getting married supports the status quo privileges since in most places non-heterosexuals cannot marry right now).
6. It reminds me of my commitment.
Again, personal preference here. “You judge me for my choice.It makes me feel like grade school taunting. You may not understand but I’m not asking you to. Just to give a little leeway for those of us who do.
7. It’s easier.
I give you this one. I still haven’t done it all the necessary places.
“It’s a sign of autonomy in a world where women are still regarded as inferior and are expected to defer to their husbands.”
And now you are making all the women who have chosen to chang their names feel inferior to you for doing so.
I was excited to change my name. the paperwork is a pain in the ass. I liked telling people I’d joined two families together. Any of my “old” friends have found me all ready. I don’t have any work under any of my real names.
I guess I’ll have to stand against patriarchy in other ways. If I’m allowed y’know bad feminist and all.

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Filed under Feminism, link, personal, power, rants, sex

2 responses to “Of Married and Maiden Names

  1. While the tone of the piece is a bit judgmental, it does hint at a legitimate general point, which is that whatever good or not-so-good reasons het women have for taking their husbands’ names when marrying, het men will almost never take their wives’ names for those reasons… or any reasons.

    While some men are willing to hyphenate, I know zero het men who have flat-out taken their wives’ surnames because they aren’t that attached to their birth surname or don’t like the way it sounds or want their kids to have the same last name as their parents, etc.

    What’s sexist isn’t women changing their last names. What’s sexist is women being pressured to change their last names when men face no such similar pressure.

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