tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
Somehow, I suspect it's reason number 10 a hell of a lot of the time, and I just wish more people (other than the author of this article) would be honest about that.

And the comments. Oh, the comments. It's amazing how many women have ugly, aesthetically un-pleasing surnames and how many men have beautiful, mellifluous surnames. Also how many women have boring, common surnames and how many men have special unique surnames. Do all these people come from some subculture where families give different surnames to their sons than to their daughters? (No, I don't think any of them are Icelandic.) Or do surnames just become that much more alluring when they appear on a man's driver's license? Someone who just doesn't like their assigned-at-birth name or their family of origin can choose from thousands, perhaps millions of surnames that are not the surname of their intended spouse -- and yet, they rarely seem to, any more than very many straight men say "I just don't like my name!" or "I don't want to maintain a connection with my father."

Look, the problem with wanting to silence the whole name change debate is that if people would admit to reason number 10 being in effect, then there would be no debate. It's disingenuousness that's irritating, not what someone does with their name, because the latter is a private choice but the former is part of a larger pattern of denial of gender inequality.

But it's not really a private choice, anyway; the choice to be called a particular name only in the privacy of one's home by people intimate to oneself would never be called into question. What the article above barely addresses is that one person's choice to uphold patriarchal naming traditions now limits the choices of an unknown number of people later; traditions only survive when people like you and me choose to perpetuate them. We have agency. Making up a last name or picking one at random from the phone book would satisfy one's desire to rename oneself without foreclosing the choices of others.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-07 12:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anemone.livejournal.com
I kept my name, but now I sometimes wish I'd also given it to my children...

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-08 10:42 am (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
I know a couple who have given some of their children her name and some his, which seems reasonably fair.

Socially easier

Date: 2010-11-07 12:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://www.google.com/profiles/sean.leather
I've heard several married women in their 20s or 30s tell me that at first, they didn't change their name, but after time, they realized that it would just make their lives easier in many social settings. One interesting example was that the mother went to pick up her child from school, but the caretakers did not believe the child was hers, because the child had the father's name and not the mother's. I'm naturally in favor of a person choosing whatever name s/he wants, but I get the impression that some choices are more favorable in a practical sense. As with many things in American society, the freedom is there to follow your beliefs or ideals, but unfortunately, you can expect to face hurdles getting there.

BTW, like the goatee. :)

Re: Socially easier

Date: 2010-11-07 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://www.google.com/profiles/sean.leather
Maybe you should try the goatee. It seems like it would work. ;)

Of course, there are multiple solutions to every problem, and not everybody faces the same issues. It's also possible to be independent, non-patriarchal, and feminist and still take a spouse's surname. These things are not mutually exclusive.

My real point was that there are occasions in which individuals can choose to do something that goes against their desires or ideals, because it is simply easier in practice. One can choose the battles that one fights. This doesn't mean that changing or keeping one's name is an insignificant thing. Rather, there are some people who choose not to fight that battle.

Re: Socially easier

Date: 2010-11-07 09:11 pm (UTC)
etb: "80 Ave du Crap" bus headsign (avenue of crap)
From: [personal profile] etb
That example gets brought up a lot. It's hard to believe that, in a society where divorce and remarriage are common, there are people—people who deal with kids and their parents every day—who cannot cope with a child's name not matching their parent's. There must be plenty of step-parents who have the same problem, but I haven't heard anyone argue that the solution to this is for all the people involved to change their last names. After all, that would be crazy, unlike choosing a patriarchy-conformant choice.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-08 11:21 pm (UTC)
lileyo: A Red-headed Woodpecker, perched on a wooden stump and cocking its head. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lileyo
Just to be clear, Tim, do you feel like Liss (the author of the article) is trying to silence the debate? I didn't take that away. I took it as a simple plea not to miss the forest for the trees, and to work toward changing the policies that encourage women taking mens' names rather than shaming the ones that chose to. I'm pretty sure she agrees it's an important feminist issue.

Fun factoid for those interested! Oregon allows men and women to change their names when they get married. Either partner can take the other's name, hyphenate, or in rare cases, create a portmanteau of both names, without hassle. (Think Vanderwaal + Smith = Vandersmith) This applies to Domestic Partnerships, too. I'm not sure how we'd handle both people changing their name to something completely different than what either used to have, but I'd like to hope we could handle that should it arise. (I work in the office that does this stuff.) Unfortunately, I know this process isn't nearly as nice in other states.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-09 05:35 pm (UTC)
etb: Montreal métro sign (montreal)
From: [personal profile] etb
I didn't read McEwan's article that way. It's primarily an enumeration of justifications for acceding to one particular anti-feminist cultural practice. She ends with an exaltation of "choice", as if a "choice" to follow patriarchal tradition were above criticism. It's also a great way of overrepresenting the (presumably) small number of women, in unusual circumstances, who can justify their choice, and for those who made the choice for ridiculous reasons ("I really like his family") to escape criticism by hiding behind that small number who made it for reasons of personal safety.

If her reasons 1 through 9 had any real currency, why isn't anyone going up to Quebec to lobby against their terrible law that doesn't let anyone change their name when they get married? (And it's not easy to change your name in Quebec by other means.) Has feminism failed in Quebec by denying women this choice?

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-15 08:34 am (UTC)
ext_36143: (Default)
From: [identity profile] badasstronaut.livejournal.com
I get puzzled by the reason of liking the guy's name better than one's own, because there's nothing stopping you picking any name you want. You'd have to be pretty imagination impaired to just pick the one alternative you were offered by dint of some crap old tradition.

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