Name Changing

February 27, 2009 at 2:49 pm (equal opportunity, feminism, male privilege, personal) ()

This is a hot topic amongst feminists, and usually causes problems. The opposing ideas on whether you should ‘take’ your husband’s name upon marriage are often personal to commenters and therefore more likely to cause arguments. Feminists who have changed their name feel vilified by opposition to the idea.

I, personally, will not change my name. Whilst there is certainly no love lost between my father and I, my last name has been mine for almost 22 years and it will remain mine for as long as I have a say in it. However, there would be problems for me if I did change my name down the path as I hope to get into the field of academia, and need as many things as possible published. It helps if all articles are published in the same name.

But none of this discussion is new, and none of it will be resolved any time soon.  Post patriarchy it may not even matter what you do with your name, but in the patriarchy no choice is free of oppression.  Bring on the revolution and we’ll discuss this at much greater length.  Or it will resolve itself naturally.  Who knows?

Beyond all this, a persistent thought has been nagging at me for a few weeks now.  My sister and I are currently quite close to each other.  We haven’t always been, and at other times we’ve actually been closer.  However, she took her husband’s name upon marriage.  We no longer share names and it sometimes feels to me like there’s a new distance there because of that.  I don’t have the same issues with friends because I never did share last names with them.  I feel a massive disconnect when I realise we’re no longer recognisable as connected through our names.  I know it seems like a trivial thing, but it’s how I feel.  We look very similar to each other, so the connection is obvious when seeing us, but not just through names.

And now she shares a name with a whole other family.  We have not only lost the connection between us, she’s gained it with other people.

It’s fairly trivial really, especially when compared to more pressing feminist issues, but it’s something that’s been on my mind recently

UPDATE:

I took this post down a few months ago to edit it, and forgot.  Since I posted it originally, the discussion has actually come up with my sister.  She was defending the choice to take a man’s name upon marriage (I wasn’t saying anything – I won’t have this argument with her) and mentioned a feminist friend of hers who did this.  Apparently the friend faced a lot of crap off HER friends for doing this and my sister’s response was ‘They just don’t get it, even if you’re a feminist you still want the same name as your kids’.  I’m thinking it’s not necessarily the friends who don’t get it after that comment…

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