You can have my hand, Future Husband, and I shall have yours, but you will not have my name….unless we both hyphenate.
When I marry, I will not change my last name. Call me a feminist if you like; it won’t be the first time. I do not dream of becoming Mrs. Future Husband; it really doesn’t appeal to me. I do not take issue with a woman who does take her husband’s surname if that is her wish. That would be a smack in a face to the women who fought so hard for women’s rights. What I do take issue with is women blindly accepting the formality and approaching it as something they HAVE to do. This is also a slap in the face to those amazing women who fought for the following generations. I also take issue with people giving me ridiculous excuses on the matter for why a woman should take her husband’s surname upon marriage. Let’s take a look-see, shall we?
1. Well don’t you want to show him that you love him? Well, throw me a banana and call me a monkey. All this time I thought the act of marriage was how two people showed love for one another. Silly me. This begs the question, if taking a man’s last name shows him you love him, what in the Jumping Jim Carrey is marriage for? And how is he showing me that he loves me?
2. By allowing you to take his name, he is showing you that he loves you? Give me a frickin parrot and call me a frickin pirate. I must thank Future Husband for his very kind, thoughtful, generous and heartfelt gift, but, I already have a last name. As it turns out, you can’t re-gift a last name, so I’m going to pass. But again, I must thank Future Husband because I know how much he is giving up to let me take his last name, Future Husband.
3. Don’t you want to have the same name as your children? Let’s say I do want to have the same name as my future child why must I take the man’s last name. Future Husband could just as easily take my last name. Or an even better solution, why don’t we both hyphenate?
4. You will confuse people: Really? I’m not explaining the pathogenesis of Ebola; I’m just keeping my maiden name. A simple, “we’re married, we retained our own last names” solves this one. Clearly, proponents of this argument have a lot less faith in the human race than most.
5. You children will be confused: Again, I don’t believe that people or children are this simple-minded. If Future Husband and I are unable to get our future children to understand we didn’t take each other’s last name, I’m afraid we will have bigger fish to fry. Like all the money we will have to spend on private tutoring and private school so the future children can get the extra attention they will clearly need. We’ll also be spending a lot of money on couple’s therapy because Future Husband will definitely be blamed for our future simple -minded children.
6. Its tradition: Well since you put it that way…I have no choice, but to concede. We could get into the who-sits and what-sits of the tradition, or we can talk about the important issue. Tradition is not synonymous with must! Thank you, society, for telling me what you feel I should do, but I have a say in the matter and I choose to keep my name.
This list is not exhaustive, but it certainly hits the high points. Society expects women to take the man’s last name. When confronted with the idea that it isn’t something women HAVE to do, men and most women alike, look at me as if I have cursed their mother and their first-born child. I assure you, I have not. I’m just questioning a societal norm that I disagree with.