Thursday, November 24, 2005

A double decker bus in HK.

Keeping your surname is a sin to some.

Also inspired by something from Carnival of Feminists which is currently being hosted by sour duck, Shrub has posted a quite a lengthy list of statements on why 'We Can't Be Equal While...'. I found i could relate to quite a few, but one that stroke a big chord with me at the moment is:

For different-sex couples, women are expected to take their husband's name, or at the very least hyphenate, but many men still balk at the idea of even considering adopting their wife's name.

I am not taking Mr T's name.

As a result I constantly have to explain or rather defend my actions. The biggest question is 'what about your kids?' to which i have started to reply with 'sorry you might have me confused with someone else, i don't think i ever mentioned plans to have children'. Yes there is a big assumption that marriage= kids. But that's another story. And anyway, they still want to know just in case I do have children somewhere far far away in the future. In case you are one of those non-creative people who can't imagine how a family could possibly cope if the mother and father actually had separate names, there are other options: that boys taking his name, girls mine, or hyphenated names.

I have been accused of being racist. Mr T Chinese and so I supposedly don't want to sound like I am Chinese when i'm not, my middle name could Chinese too, so my whole name would sound very Chinese. But NO that’s why!

But that’s not the worst part.

My brothers ex-girlfriend asked me 'why?' and i said 'why should i change it?' to which she replied 'because you love him'.

A prominent pro feminist blogger recently commented that he felt trusted as a result of his new wife taking his surname.

Many have said in quite a condescending way 'how does he feel about that?'.

What the fuck? Because I choose not to follow a pointless patriarchal tradition I'm accused of being racist and it is inadvertently suggested that I don't trust or love him. So i take vows in front of all of family and friends saying that I want to make a lifelong commitment to him. But I don't love or trust him?

Poor Mr T!

No women still don't have equal rights.

You might as well burn me at the stake now!


jlp said...

Another "good for you!" here. I didn't take my husband's name. And because he is, in fact, the Man I Love, he doesn't think I should take his name either. So far, the only person who has given me a hard time about it is my mother, but she's probably just mad that she didn't think of it herself.

kristy said...

jlp, well said!

Mr T finds the idea of another woman taking his name to be quite strange too, but that doesn't stop everyone from feeling sorry for him.

Btw, jlp whats your secret blog address?

tugboatcaptain said...

Good for u, JLP!

jlp said...

I'll e-mail it to you. And then you'll be sorry you asked!

Anonymous said...

Every woman has a right to choose if she wants to keep her name after marriage or not. Though I am curious about what you think of women who choose not to wear wedding rings. Someone told me that they're a symbol of our love, but I can't stand wearing jewelry. Do you think a woman has the right to choose not to wear a wedding or engagement ring?

K said...

I think if you are not into rings then exchange something else. A friend of mine has a wedding necklace and i've heard of people giving bikes and all sorts of things. You should check out indie bride and off beat bride if you haven't already.

Wendy said...

Neither of my parents changed their names when they got married. They briefly considered both changing their names to a combination name, but decided not to. My siblings and I all have my mother's name (and I have no idea how my parents decided if we'd get Mom's or Dad's...) and my dad's last name as a second middle name.

Personally, I plan to at least share a last name with my spouse. Growing up in a household where I didn't share a last name with my dad honestly has always felt weird just because it meant my whole family wasn't a complete unit without the same name. It doesn't matter what the name is, I just wish we all had the same name. People informally refer to us as the "Fishreys family" (Fishreys being the combo name my parents didn't wind up taking when they got married), but we also get some flak for our names. When I was in school, my friends (who were confused by the name thing) would just call my dad Mr. Humphreys (my mom's name). My grandparents (on both sides) have been known to address things to me as "Wendy Fisher" rather than Humphreys. Then there are some people who assume that a family with the mom and kids with one name and dad with another means the kids are from a previous marriage or were born before the parents got married or something.

But getting judged when people realized my father had a different last name isn't why I want the same last name as my husband and children. It's because I want to identify my family as a unit, a team. And part of that is the team name.

I don't resent my parents for having not changed their names. As far as I can tell, they think the responses tend to be funny. Sometimes I do wish they'd hyphenated our names instead, though. Most of my friends whose parents didn't change their name have hyphenated names. I know my parents considered that, but Fisher-Humphreys is a little bit long for a last name so they nixed it.

The thing I don't understand is the families where the wife and children have hyphenated last names and the husband has his birth name. I know some people think women changing their names are submitting to their husbands or something, but honestly I think the woman hyphenating her name and the man not is more of the woman changing identities to fit into the man's family. Hyphenating both their names is more like creating a new family.

I don't know if I'll change my name, convince my husband to change his, or if we'll both change our names. It depends on what his name is, how our names sound with each other's names, and what combinations of our names we can come up with. If I marry my current boyfriend, I'll change my name. I think Ryder fits my name pretty well, his name doesn't fit Humphreys, and "Rumphreys," "Rydeys," "Hyder," and "Humpher" don't sound good at all.

Anonymous said...

Neither of my parents changed their names when they married. Like Wendy, I have my father's surname as my middle name, and my mother's as my surname. Unlike Wendy, I never got any grief whatsoever over it. In fact, I've had women saying "hmm, that's not a bad idea" when I explain this to them.

My mother and I failed to convince my sister-in-law not to take our name when she married my brother (my brother didn't care one way or the other). But, quite frankly, I find it weird when my female friends change their names when they get married. Although when I complained about this to someone who had just done that, she explained that she was just taking the oppotunity to get rid of a surname she didn't like.

Thankfully, it seems to be becoming slightly more common to do things differently. I have friends my age who have married without changing either name, and ones where the man has taken the woman's name.

K said...

Wendy, Im surprised that you felt that it seperated your family. My parents are divorced and for as long as I can remember my mum had a different surname (we had dad's) yet I always felt closer to my mum.

Randomguy, great to hear how it different it was for you!

Anonymous said...

My mother never took my father's name (M). But whe she divorced him and married my stepfather, she took his name (W). Her maiden name is Y. And the assumptions fly. Our favorite is when telemarketers call asking for Mrs. M, when that's the one name she never had. Or when it's assumed that my sister and I are Y or W when we're actually M. It is a little confusing, but still. Assumption assumption assumption.