Over at Feministe, we're engaged in a discussion about name-changing. It's actually a pretty good back and forth (much more civil than usually expected). Someone just commented about how men NEVER HAVE THIS CONVERSATION. I HATE THAT!

As I've mentioned before, I will be taking my guy's name. As I said over at Feministe, I fully admit that the number one reason is because I just don't care enough to fight this fight. To me, the engagement ring issue was much more important.

With the last name... 1) I've never much liked my last name, 2) if I'm really going to stick it to the patriarchy, I'd be better off changing my name entirely to "X" or "Genesis" or some other such symbolic name (b/c my name is my father's & my mother's name is her father's, etc.), and 3) I want to have the same name as my guy & my possible children. So coupled with the negative reaction from both families, I'll just go along on this one.

I actually had a chat about this with two friends of mine just last week. We were talking about changing our names, whether we liked our names, etc. But I got really ticked off and the next few lines of the chat went:

me: you see, this is my only real problem w/the whole name change thing
Friend 1: lmao
me: how many conversations do you think [my guy] and [friend 1's guy] are having about what their names should be?
and here we are trying to figure out how our initials work and what name to use
f that
Friend 2: THATS RIGHT!
Because it really does still upset the crap out of me that men NEVER HAVE THIS CONVERSATION. They don't have to wonder about what their name will be after getting married, or about all the hassle that comes with a name-change. They don't have to worry about the disapproving looks you'll get from whichever side you anger by changing or not changing your name. They just show up, sign a piece of a paper and move on.

Nobody should get an incredulous look on their face just because I mention the possibility of a man taking a woman's name or coming up with an alternative last name. Ugh. I'll be so happy if/when we get to the point where men ACTUALLY HAVE THIS CONVERSATION!


And P.S.- To people who say that women who change their names lose their identities, please do me a favor and stop saying that. Yes, there are women who completely lose themselves once they're in a relationship and become carbon copies of their boyfriends or spouses. But this is not most women, and it's certainly not most feminists. I'm pretty sure I'll still be just as intelligent, just as loud, just as inquisitive, just as humble, and just as fun and silly as I have always been with or without a new last name.

8 comments:

At Tue Jul 01, 07:33:00 PM hysperia said...

Hi. I haven't gone over to the Feministe site to see the conversation there, so just responding to your post. In some ways, it doesn't really matter, does it? Feminism won't come to us just because we do or don't change our names.
As a dinosaur feminist, let me share something with you though: on a personal level, I often try to look up old school friends and have tried to help my mother find some of hers. Almost impossible with women, because by ten years after high school, you know longer know their surnames if you haven't kept in touch. Not a tragedy, but it bugs me that I can find the men and not the women.
I have the same problem when doing family history. There are some ways around it, but not all of them are successful. And once again, it bugs me that it's the women whom I can't find because, frankly, they're who I'm most interested in.
When my youngest son and his partner hooked up in a permanent relationship, insofar as any relationship can be that, they both changed their last names. But that will be equally confusing for the purposes I am talking about.
My last name is different from the surnames of my children. It doesn't bother me and it never bothered them. I just don't care and I can't care because, as you say, the name belongs to somebody else anyway.
It's a tradition and I'm not into patriarchal traditions myself, not even marriage. But I would certainly not critisize someone who was making the choices you're making. Not publicly anyway. lol
I enjoy your blog.

 
At Wed Jul 02, 10:46:00 AM Sally said...

That's definitely true and something I never considered (probably b/c I'm somewhat anti-social and never care about looking people up or think I will be looked up). Maybe there's a way of leaving a clear paper trail.

And thanks for stopping by, I'm glad you enjoy it!

 
At Fri Jul 04, 03:10:00 PM Mr. J said...

Thanks for linking to my post!

 
At Fri Jul 04, 03:17:00 PM Sally said...

It was a great post and started an awesome discussion. So thanks to you too!

 
At Sat Jul 05, 12:32:00 PM hysperia said...

Hi again. I know what you mean about not being that social. It didn't matter to me when I was younger either. Some things change with age ...

 
At Wed Jul 23, 08:54:00 PM bleh said...

we made up a new last name and changed both of ours via court. parents on both sides complained, but tough.

it can change; it just doesn't change fast enough

 
At Thu Jul 24, 01:04:00 AM Elena said...

My husband and I cross-hyphenated, so I'm "myname-hisname" and he's "hisname-myname" and I decided to have our daughter as "hisname-myname" because it follows traditional Spanish naming conventions, and I want my little pale redhead to have some connection to her Latina heritage.

 
At Thu Jul 24, 01:49:00 PM frau sally benz said...

Good point Elena! I actually forget sometimes that I also have my mother's last name (just because we really don't use it in this country). I think my thing with it is that if it's not going to be used anyway then it's almost not even there.

 

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