TBT: Does This Last Name Make My Feminism Look Big?
This post originally aired via the intertubes on June 15, 2010. And it makes me smile, a lot. It was one of the first times I ever wrote about anything and technically labeled it as feminist. At the time, we had barely touched on such topics. We were a skeptic blog that focused on women’s issues but I for one hadn’t yet made the connection that we were often writing about feminist issues. I thought feminism was something my mother did. Something for angry women with their bras a-blaze! I had fallen victim to pervasive societal stereotypes. I was a tad bit uninformed.
The original post sparked a great discussion at the time and it had more comments than anything I had written up to that point. In retrospect, it was likely a popular topic because it is something that many of us can relate to and a decision that many people will make in their lifetime. And now that marriage equality is becoming a wonderful reality, it is a question that is even more relevant today.
As a side note, I’m still happy with the decision I personally made and I’m amused that this post was the very first topic that opened the door to a greater understanding of what feminism and gender equality was and is. I had no idea at the time that I had oh so much to learn. In good news, learning is one of the things we do best around here.
Does This Last Name Make My Feminism Look Big?
For those of you who don’t already know, I’m married. Sadly, I am taken. Yes, I know. Try to contain your tears.
The only slightly unusual thing about my marriage, other than the fact that I found an atheist with the patience of a saint (I’m a bit much to put up with at times) is the fact that I never changed my last name after I was married.
When I first got married I was totally going to change my name to his because I think he has a cool last name and I love him to pieces and because that is what you are supposed to do when you get married. But then when I stopped and really thought about it, I realized that it made more sense just to leave things as they were. I had spent a good long time with my name. I liked it just like it was. And it wasn’t so much that it was my “maiden” name as it was my artist name. I had signed a thousand or so pieces of art with that last name and I just didn’t want to say goodbye to that part of my creative history. My husband had no problem with me keeping my name and without children in the mix it made the decision relatively easy. I saw no legitimate reason to change it. So I didn’t.
Often times people assume that I didn’t change my last name in order to be some type of rebellious feminist, to stomp my boots and to prove a point to society. While I wholeheartedly thank the strong-willed women of the past who stood up and enabled me to make this choice and while I do like to stomp my boots, my personal decision was based more on nostalgia and convenience. I just really like my name. I like my name and I don’t like filling out paperwork. I like feminists too and I think it is important that all women be able to make these types of choices for whatever reason they feel is important to them.
If you are a woman and you get married will you change your last name? If you are a man would you expect your wife to take your name? If you are married did you change your name? Why?