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Not NaNoWriMo #4

Is it feminist tochange your name when you get married?

No, it isn’t but then I don’t think it is feminist to get married at all.

I was horrified when I rather belatedly realised that our marriage certificate asks about our fathers but doesn’t give a toss about our mothers. I got married primarily to make an explicit statement about my relationship to Andy and I got married in a registry office because I am an atheist but also because I thought a registry office ceremony would be devoid of sexism. I obviously didn’t think hard enough.

The list over at Shakesville is quite thought provoking but also has some poor excuses:

6. Because her maiden name was her father's name and keeping it did not feel like any more a rejection of the patriarchy than taking her husband's name did, and she liked her husband's name better.

My surname is my father's surname but more importantly to me it is also my surname: the moment my mum and dad decided to call me Hazel Alma Ruby Simpson it became my name and my name is extremely important to me even though I had no choice in the matter. I had a choice to stop the patriarchal tradition of taking a man's name when I got married*. [Also, I would find it almost impossible to think of a new name for me.] I also think that final comment is a bit of a non sequitur.

7. Because her maiden name was her father's name, and she likes her husband a lot more than her father.

This one makes me go "eh?". I love my dad a lot, I love my husband a lot but that that has bugger all to do with me keeping the name I have had for 45 years (or 33 years when we got married) and it assumes the two choices are of equal weight: there is no choice in having your father's name but taking your husband's name is a choice.

I am not criticising anybody who changes their name because I'm not them and even the reason because "I wanted to" is good enough but a little part of me cringes, sighs and deflates when a woman changes her name.

Finally, one commentator on another site made the observation that as a history student it saddened her that some women's history is lost because their name changes have rendered them invisible.

*Not that I really made that choice because if I had ever thought of getting married before I did, I had never had any intention of changing my name.

Let's Fold Scarves / last build: 2024-04-03 21:27