Thursday, June 26, 2008

In name only

Recently, it seems like a lot of people that I know are taking the plunge and deciding to get married (which is not surprising I guess, given that I am getting older) and the conversation inevitably turns towards the changing-of-the-name.

Having got engaged myself a few months ago, I've always made it clear that I would not be changing my name. I am myself - that's the way it's going to stay. What's odd though, is how unusual I seem to be in that respect. I'd thought that actually, I'd be in the majority - that most women nowadays wouldn't change their name. Obviously, I was wrong. The reasons for changing their name go like this:

(1) So our whole family has the same name
(2) I'm proud to be Mrs-so-and-so
(3) He was upset when I said I wouldn't change my name
(4) I haven't really thought about it, it's just what people do

I can see that (1) might have held more sway in the past - people I know who have older children with different names have told stories of trying to go to the doctors/school with different names and the fight they had to be recognised. (2) just seems bizarre - marrying someone is hardly an achievement but you know, whatever. Similarly (3) - my response would be "don't marry him then" but it's not as though I'm the most tolerant person around, nor would I marry someone likely to make that argument. (4) is lazy, but doesn't seem any worse than the others for all that. At least it's honest.

Still, there you go. My own mother suspects that I will cave in and change my name, but quite frankly, she's so glad my feminism hasn't turned me into a lesbian that she's not going to complain either way. She also pointed out that it would be quite rude to send post to friends who have changed their name in their maiden name, but given the amount of times I already get called by my partner's name (and we're not anywhere near married), I don't buy this argument. Sod it - as an act of rebellion it's quite lame, but I'm all for fighting false consciousness anyway I can.

So: congratulations guys, but be prepared...

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