What’s in a Name? or More reasons to hop on the feminist band wagon.

There is one thing I must admit before I continue with this blog post. I read wedding blogs. Lots of them. So many it is SHAMEFUL. Actually SHAMEFUL. Mainly because I’m not sure I even believe in marriage, and if I do I wouldn’t be getting married for like EVER.

I got hooked on crack…uh I mean wedding blogs just over a year ago when my boyfriend’s sister was getting married. It’s been downhill ever since. HOWEVER, today I found something remarkably interesting on one of the more excellent wedding blogs I frequent in the time I should be studying for my organic chemistry final, Offbeat Bride.

The lovely ladies at Offbeat have come across a Dutch study that investigated how married women who change their name (or don’t) are perceived. Women who take a partner’s name tend to be viewed as more caring BUT less intelligent and competent. Women who keep their name are perceived as LESS caring but more intelligent, ambitious, and competent. To sum up, Change name = lovable dimwit, keep name = cruel genius?

The most interesting finding of this study is that women who take their husband’s last name are actually less likely to be hired for jobs AND generally make less money. WELL BUMMER.

If you ask me, the lesson here is to not buy into the patriarchy with a name change. As far as I’m concerned, a name change signifies a change in ownership of property (that’s you, YOU’RE THE PROPERTY) from your parents (really your father) to your partner. That’s IT. That’s where is comes from.

I hear a lot of reasons for changing names:

  1. My last name is AWFUL (Menstruationberg), but my future husband’s is so COOL (McBadass)!
  2. What will the minister say when he announces us? “Presenting for the first time, Mr. and Mrs., wait…these are still the same people they were a few seconds ago…”
  3. MY POOR CHILDREN WILL BE SO CONFUSED! AND OH GOD! WHAT WILL WE NAME THEM

I have answers to all of these:

  1. I suppose if your last name really has been a burden all your life, then make that choice consciously. But it’s always important to remember that it’s the name your parents gave you. (I mean, Eileen jokes are annoying but really…I turned out fine)
  2. EXACTLY.
  3. You’re children will not be idiots (if you aren’t). So don’t worry. As the child of a woman who refused to take a slave name, I suffered no excess trauma or confusion because of it. It can be explained in one sentence, “My mom is a badass.” As for what you name them – who cares? My current policy is that if you give birth to it, it should have your last name. Not everyone agrees with me. Screw ’em.

So – want more cash? Apparently the key is keeping your name if and when you wed. That shouldn’t be the reason you do it. You should do it because it’s who you are.

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One thought on “What’s in a Name? or More reasons to hop on the feminist band wagon.

  1. Excellent post! Since we have to start somewhere my suggestion is (has been for years) that we hyphenate names, and then the progeny of these unions keep the half of the hyphenated name that corresponds with their gender when *they* get married.

    Thus: Joanie Jones marries Jeff Smith, and has a boy named Desmond and a girl named Prudence. Everybody in the family has the last name of Jones-Smith (Or visa-versa. Take your pick.) When little Prue Jones-Smith marries Sammy Davis-Young and Young is Sammy’s dad’s surname they become Prue and Sammy Jones-Young. When Desmond Jones-Smith marries Lionel Carter-Wright and Carter is Lionel’s dad’s surname they become Desmond and Lionel Carter-Smith. And so forth.

    Can issue a Diktat to this effect?

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