Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Name of the Dame

One custom in our society that I've always found very strange is that of women changing their surnames when they get married. Especially now, when women do not have to be dependent upon men for their very survival, this custom seems especially odd and anachronistic.

The notion of a woman assuming my last name has always made me feel uncomfortable. It seems like a codependent thing to do and it's too much of an enmeshment for my taste, particularly when they use the "Mrs John Doe" form, which is just plain creepy in my book. "Mrs John Doe" seems to have no life or identity of her own, apart from that of her husband; the ultimate codependent.

I've heard women say that they are "proud" to take their husband's name; that it proves their love for him. Using this logic, then, married men apparently do not love their wives, because they don't take her name. At any rate, this symbolically gets the marriage off to a lopsided start.

Other women say they love the idea of everyone in the family having the same name; that this unites them all. Maybe so, but this shouldn't come at the expense of one person having to give up their own name. I know I surely wouldn't want to make that sacrifice. We must also consider that it's not an uncommon thing today for children to have a different last name from their mother when she remarries after a divorce or widowhood, and no one seems to have a problem with family members having different surnames then.

As for myself, the thought of giving up my surname is tantamount to saying that I don't matter, my life history doesn't matter, my family doesn't matter, and my heritage doesn't matter. I don't see why it should be any different for women.

If I were the marrying type, my love for the woman would make it so that I couldn't in all conscience expect her to do something that I would not do; that I'd find repugnant to do.


No comments: