“A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”
― Gloria Steinem
I'm not a traditional girl/lady/woman. Whether it's the way I dress or the way I think, and I like to think all you who read my blog are non-traditional as well. When you read this blog you hear me rant about things women are "not supposed to do" and this post is to be added to that list.
Changing my last name when I get married is not an option. I think it is quite ridiculous to change your last name merely because you have married someone. Hyphenating names are okay in my book as long as the guy does it as well. Equality is the only thought that runs through my head now, but didn't start thinking about changing my last name until recent. I was probably guilty of writing my name with the last name of crushes whether it was the last name of a celebrity or the boy I sat next to in my Symphony Orchestra class. When some friends began getting engaged and changing their names, that was when I started thinking about it. Of course, this feminist passion of mine has caused me to think about it almost every day.
A few months back I was talking to my at-the-time-boyfriend-now-fiance about when he was going to propose as well as some other things... like taking his last name. I flat out told him, in the nicest way possible, that I wasn't going to take his name. He said, "Well, that's the one tradition I believe in." "Why?" I asked. "It's like we are becoming a family." As cute as his words may sound, I'm not going to let his idea of tradition dictate my views, opinions, and last name. I know why a woman is supposed to take a man's last name, and it sure-as-hell didn't start out with two becoming one. So I nicely said, "Would you take my last name?" In a slight bout of disgust he said, "No." I said, "Then what makes you think I would want to take your name?" And that was that. He knows how passionate and strong-minded I am, so there wasn't much of a discussion after that. He cannot force me to take his name, plus I put him in my shoes to understand why I wouldn't take his name. My mom never raised me to think I had to take my husband's last name, she actually wanted to keep her last name but my dad wasn't too happy about that. She gave me her last name as my middle name and felt like she had spawned a future feminist. Which ended up being true.
It was a law quite recently in some states in the U.S. where a woman was required to change her last name when she got married. I try to be calm, collected, and mature about the feminist topics I talk about, but this one on changing your last name when you get married really pisses me off. I am putting a lot of effort into not writing in caps and not swearing constantly. But the issue of changing your last name can quickly show you that feminism is a much needed movement and that women are still seen as property. Your last name is supposedly so insignificant to a man, your identity is unimportant, who you have called yourself over the past 25 years (in my case) is something to be tossed aside and changed with the signing of a document. You have given away yourself. I am mine! Not anyone else's! Nobody owns me, NOBODY is allowed to tell me what to do, how to feel, or the way I should act. I supposedly live in a country where freedom and liberty is our way of life, but apparently when I get married I need to give up my freedom and liberty just because a man wants to feel like he has control over me. And do not tell me that I am wrong, that a man doesn't want to control me or call me his property. It doesn't matter if your sweetie brings you flowers every day, calls you to tell you he loves you at random times, or writes you poems professing his undying love for you. If he expects you to change your name to his when you two get married and then becomes pissed off when you tell him that you do not want to, then there is some sort of control issue that he has. Some part of his subconscious is telling him that a man is better than a woman. He was raised in a way or has rationalized events he has experienced that taught him that. He views you as his, but doesn't view himself as yours. What does he do to reciprocate you giving up your last name?
I want to stress the importance of not taking your husband's name when you get married. It is an old tradition that all of those out there who believe in equality of the genders need to toss aside. Nothing about you is unimportant or can be replaced. It can be quite easy to make your significant other understand why you do not want to take their last name. With my fiance, it is not because I do not like it, it is because I want to keep my own identity, plus I believe in feminism and equality. Not changing your name is NOT a big deal and should NOT be a deal breaker. This person should love you no matter what your last name is.