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On Feminism

October 17th, 2009 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Issues | Personal

I just pulled this off my old Livejournal after a discussion on Twitter about changing your name after marriage. ‘Twas a good rant.

Over the past few years I have grown, matured and come to realize that I am a feminist, though I used to be one of those women that considered it a scary word that meant I would have to stopped wearing skirts, shaving my legs or doing anything else for ‘the man.’

In less than two weeks I am getting married and I have decided to change my name. Enter the ridiculousness.
Articles like that make me want to change my name out of spite for women like that. The ‘it didn’t work for me so it’s a horrible idea’ personality type.

The basic argument here is that I shouldn’t change my name, because that is my identity. Well, I’ll tell you what, I think that’s a load of crap.

My last name has never been my identity because it has always been too closely associated with my father. It belongs to him and his achievements – it has never been mine but something that attaches me to him. For a girl who has spent a good deal of her life trying not to be like her father, there is no sort of identity attachment to my name. In fact, I’ve considered changing it in the past (like, when I was starting to have a byline), to my mother’s maiden name, so that people wouldn’t assume that I was using my father’s reputation to get ahead (which one of my classmates, who I thought was a friend, did – She once announced to the class that I didn’t deserve a great opportunity (that I would have kicked ass doing) because I “already had a foot in the door.”)

We didn’t speak much after that.

The other side of the argument is that Joe and Joe’s family were very touched and excited by my decision to change my name. In fact, it meant more to Joe that I change it than it meant to me to keep my old name. That was one of the main factors.

The idea is that I am changing my name to reflect the family that has welcomed me in and is happy for me to be there. It has nothing to do with making life easier for our kids – if anything they’ll be the odd ones out, it has nothing to do with a change in my ownership, it just fits.

Having said that, I am going with Ms. instead of Mrs. The latter just sounds a little strange and old fashioned to my ears. I also might go the initials route, sticking that old last name ‘S; in the middle with the ‘E’ I usually use. Classy.

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