Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's a nice day for a white wedding




"Women are no longer owned by their father and then their husband"*

(Deveny on insecure, conservative, stupid women who change their names when they marry)

Well duh Fred. There’s just one problem. If a woman keeps her maiden name then it’s almost certain that it belonged to her father or, if she has adopted her mother’s maiden name, then it probably belonged to her mother’s father. And so on and so on right back to when she was some bloke’s rib

Obviously it would make more sense to have a matrilineal surname descent system because we all know who the **mother is. Take the case of Jesus. But we only think we know who the father is

To truly wipe the patriarchal slate clean, you’d have to start again and create a new name and until you do that, don’t claim that you’re way more feminist than everyone else because you hung onto to your daddy’s name. Or because you concocted some double barrelled husband-father eyesore in the belief that this makes you feminist. It doesn’t. It makes you someone with a patrilineal double whammy, you idiot.

Keep your maiden name because you like it or change it because you want to but don’t get all feminist-superior with me (unless you have made up your own surname and it's She-Ra, in which case you are way cool)


*except of course in charming countries like Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia

** except when nurse puts ID bracelet on wrong baby

47 comments:

WitchOne said...

Actually, I don't think she was trying to wipe the patrilineal slate clean, more telling women they DO have a choice. As if we didn't already know that.

Fact is, it's only a problem when you have children (like most things in life), what do you use as their surname? I know couples who have done the following and somehow justify it to themselves, the school system, government officials and anyone else who theoretically has a stake in this.

Family 1 (still arguing about it, took 3 months to name baby 2 and the father still has an issue with it 5 years later)
Fathers surname-mothers surname (child 1)
Mothers surname-Fathers surname (child 2)

Family 2
Fathers surname (mother kept her own, makes sense when see what father and child use. Spelled like the C word.

Family 3
Hyphenated the surnames when they got married and blessed the poor child with a double whammy most adults can't promounce singularly.

Personally, I used the kids fathers surname, I use my own surname and that comes with it's own wealth of issues when calling the school and/or child care centre. Due to the difference of name I cannot possibly be the childs mother and therefore must be some random child stealing imposter.

So there isn't a solution that suits everyone and "authority" and there never will be. Especially these days of families with 2 same gender parents, nuclear families and whatnot.

What on earth prompted THIS post Squib?? I haven't seen anything from Deveny that hasn't been sacking related in a week now.

WitchOne said...

Ooops, sorry for the stupidly long post.

squib said...

Alex posted a link to one of her articles in the sacking post below. Also, it pisses me off because I changed my name when I married. I consider myself to be a feminist but no, I must be some Stepford wife if I changed my name

Puss In Boots said...

I always said I was going to change my name when I married, because no one ever pronounces mine right. But the boy's name is only 3 letters long, and he still has to spell it, so I'm not sure. Also, I hate his parents and am not sure I want their name. I've already changed my last name once. I have my mother's last name, not my father's.

And yeah, this was one article of hers which really sent me over the edge. I just couldn't understand why anyone would care what anyone else did with their last name.

Perseus said...

I'm sticking with my own surname, and any wife or child I ever have can have whatever name they want. Mine, theirs, a new one. I don't care.

I met a guy the other day who changed his name to Lord Stompy. I kid you not. Like, he did it legally. Google him. You can buy his albums. Anyway, if and when he gets married, is there a woman on the planet who would change her surname to Stompy?

Actually, maybe one. I once pashed a girl (in the 80's) whose surname was Lillicrap. She might be up for it. I should introduce them.

squib said...

I met a woman called Coral Island. I was so envious

Mad Cat Lady said...

There's a few Dr Lillicraps in Townsville.

Met a lady once whose first name was Joy and she married a man whose surname was Friendship.

WitchOne said...

I just wanted my kids to have the same surname, as each other, as at least one of their parents and I plan on changing my surname when he and I get married. Not that it matters anyway, we've been together long enough now that most think we're married even though we only just moved in together this year (2 kids, a million years, meh).

As an aside, no wonder I had to quit Twitter, minimal characters? Can't be done!

patchouligirl said...

I'm a bit of a traditionalist there and took on my husband's surname. I like that we all have the same surname, we are a team. As a family historian it only muddles things 100 years down the track when people have changed their surnames unpredictably. Fortunately my ancestors had little imagination and not only do the surnames remain constant, but so do the Christian names. I see no reason to mess with this system.

Alex said...

Nice post, Squib. I've never been particularly fond of my last name, but I've had it for so long now, that I doubt I'd ever want to change it to something else. All the same, I'm not deluded enough to think that that makes me some sort of champion for sexual equality. I'm just lazy.

I can definitely see why some people would want to change their names. I've lived near a property that was owned by a family of Fucks and in the same town as a family of Wankers (both families had gotten creative with the pronunciation, though). The cruellest naming I think I've come across was a bloke named Kerr who reckoned his dad's name was Wayne. I thought he was having me on, but years later, I saw old Wayne Kerr on an episode of Landline. Jesus, that's like calling your kid Richard Head for pity's sake.

Also, I've always been wary of the idea of hyphenating names. It makes me think about how in two or three generations people could end up getting stuck with eight name monstrosities that don't fit on anything.

Ooops, sorry for the stupidly long post.

Is it bad form to post huge rambling comments? Bugger. I do it all the time and just assume people will skip over them if they get bored.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Puss, correct me if I'm wrong but I always understood that in Spanish speaking countries people have two surnames with the mother's maiden name also used - thus Federico García Lorca.

Is that the case?

Pepsi said...

Double barrels only work if they sound aristocratic.

I'd happily change my name if the new surname was spectular, mines pretty awesome from a - its celtic & there arent many of us here - sort of a way. So its got to be good.

I dont think its got anything to do with feminism anymore. Its got to do with looking & sound good. ie I'm expecting a 'whomever has the ace-est surname wins' sort of discussion prior to a wedding.

The practice in the family so far has been
- previous generations
* all the women changed it to the mens
- my generation
* all the men in the family married women who changed their name to ours (the womens choice, the guys didnt care).
* all the women in the family, bar one (and the new one was a Fijian one & pretty cool), kept their maiden name.

Alex said...

Somebody once told me that in Iceland, a lot of people don't even have second names. Does anyone know if that's true or not?

Puss In Boots said...

Ramon, that's true. Their first last name is their mother's, and their second is their father's.

So, I could be Jane Smith Doe, but my child would be John Smith Brown, and his child would be Jan Allen Brown, etc. It would make it pretty easy for family history buffs.

Melba said...

The name you are born with; you have no choice. You have a choice about changing your name after marriage, and not only that, you have to go to a lot of effort to do it.

I just don't get it.

I didn't change my name when I married, either time, and I was surprised that most of my contemporaries did.

Did I judge them?

Yeah kinda.

And all the supposed inconvenience of burdening children with double-barrelled surnames blah blah blah doesn't outweigh for me the indignity, the symbolic/real deference being paid to a man (not to mention the message sent to society) when you take his name.

And it's not an act against your beloved to not take his name.

I just don't get it.

Alex said...

Hmmm, I wonder how many men even care what their wives do with their names. What about their children. Would any of the the blokes here, apart from Perseus, care to share their feelings on the matter?

Boogeyman said...

Would any of the the blokes here care to share their feelings on the matter?

I'll be expecting all my wives to change their names to mine when we marry.

Otherwise the rosters become a nightmare.

Dr. Golf said...

I prefer my partners surname over mine. So Im happy for her to keep it.

Its irrelevant though, because she won't let me marry her.

Alex said...

Maybe a numbering system would be advantageous, Boogey.

homesick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
homesick said...

I liked his surname more than mine; simple and easier to spell and pronounce. Does that make me a shallow Stepford Devenevy*?


* Oh how the hell do you spell her surname? Devenvy... Devevenevy.. argh.

eat my shorts said...

I always assumed I'd change my last name when I got married. But, then, I always assumed I'd get married.

The older I get, the less likely I think that's going to happen. But that's a whole other story.

I think if I did get married, I'd keep my name. Less because of any feminist kind of argument, and more because it's such a shit process to go through. Every fricking time you fill in a form. Gah. I'm too lazy for that kind of hassle.

My sister got married a few years ago, went through the changing of the name rigmarole, and now she's getting divorced. It's only a recent development, so it's probably not the best time to ask but I wonder what she's going to have to go through to change it back. Urgh.

squib said...

the symbolic/real deference being paid to a man (not to mention the message sent to society) when you take his name.

Melba, so it's worse to have the name of the husband than of the father? I don't see why

What message did I send? My mother raised me pretty much on her own. My husband left his large family and all his friends in Europe to come here. By adopting his name, I hope I made him feel at home. Besides, my maiden name belongs to a bunch of shitty-livered Melburnians who mostly don't speak to each other so what does their name mean to me? I think I wanted to turn over a new leaf and also I wanted a name that said "Communist dictator"

I guess I am a bit Stepford wifey when it comes to children's parties. I was looking for a snowflake apron on Etsy to match the Narnia theme. That's insane, right?

But I'm still a feminist. My name and my snow deer cupcakes don't change that

patchouligirl said...

She can simply stick with her married name EMS, a lot of women do after a divorce.

I've had four surnames in my life. My birth surname was "Puck". My family changed it to "Parker" before I went to school. I then married and got a third surname. Then I divorced and changed back to my maiden name (not the Puck one of course). When I married my second husband I did give the idea of staying with my surname some thought but in the end decided to change to his. We've been married for 7 years and I got used to the new surname pretty quickly. It's a "J" surname so pretty cool.

The coolest surname I ever heard was one time I met this guy who said 'the lucky lady who marries me gets my surname'. His surname was Fox.

Melba said...

Hey squib. I didn't say it was worse to have the husband's name than the father's. Just that there's (generally) no choice with the first, and there is with the latter.

I also married a man from overseas but we never even had a conversation about me changing my name. My name is me, and to change it would have felt wrong, and old-fashioned and deferential to my husband, yes in a patriarchal way.

My points were that I'm annoyed it still seems to be the default position; it's a hassle to change one's name so to do it means you must have solid reasons?; also I am continually surprised (and again here on this thread) at the number of women who change their names when they get married.

And the message you have sent to me (aka society, but interpreted by myself, everyone will be different, sure) was that you had done the default thing.

BUT your last two reasons esp the commo dictator one make sense to me, even though you've said them in jest.

Really it does come down to personal choice, but I will make my assumptions/judgments, and most women who do change their names will get defensive. That seems to be the pattern.

Interestingly, no one admits that it was to keep a man's nose from getting out of joint. Or because he'd assumed they would change their name and they didn't want to rock the boat. It's all about double-barrelled names for children or wanting to lose a bad maiden surname.

Puss In Boots said...

I wish I had the option of a nice, easy to spell and pronounce surname. Unfortunately, I think I am going to be cursed with always having to spell it out.

I was born with a surname which had at least 2 spelling variations (and everyone always thought mine was the other one), then changed to a hyphenated name of that plus my mother's maiden name (which, although phoenetic, most people can't pronounce properly, or spell). Then I dropped my birth surname altogether. If I take the boy's name, I will have to spell it out too.

I always said I'd marry a man with the last name of Smith. Sadly, I have never met any Smiths.

Puss In Boots said...

I just can't see that it's a feminist issue. Who cares what another woman does in her private life? It's not hurting anyone.

Besides, I pity the men in this situation. What if they've got a crappy surname? What if they want to take their wife's name? I bet they'd get a lot of shit from their friends/family for that if they did. I think it should be more about personal identity than some feminist crap about not giving away your name. If a man wants to take his wife's name, he should be able to, and vice versa.

I just see the name change as an extension of the marriage. Like a show of loyalty or uniformity or something. I'm aware of its history, but I think it's a nice idea.

Melba said...

Puss, your first sentence and your last paragraph don't really hang together.

You're right, it is up to the individual and I never brought this issue up with any of my friends who changed their names. But it's been brought up in this forum so that's why I've felt free to express my opinions. I'm not bagging anyone here, really. I just don't get it.

squib said...

Puss, both my names are tricky. I've mentioned this before but I say my name is Jo when I order food because no one can spell my name or pronounce it and they might be calling me for ages and I wouldn't know

People keep mentioning what a hassle it is. I don't remember it being so although it was weird when we had to sign house ownership papers because I hadn't thought about a new signature so I made one up on the spot. It looks like the printout from a cardiograph when someone has just died

But you do save time when you fill out 40 x-mas cards. Love from the Squibs. Nice and easy!

Puss In Boots said...

Yeah, I know. I wrote it while I was on the phone and then accidentally hit publish before I had a chance to review it.

Essentially, I just can't see that it's a feminist issue. I don't see what business it is of anyone else's, and I can't see that changing your name to your husband's (or your wife's, if you were so inclined) is really a statement of ownership. I would do it as part of the marriage ritual, as a show of loyalty/togetherness. I think it's a nice tradition.

Is your name on the book you linked to? Because I didn't get the whole invisible e thing. It made me wonder how else I was supposed to pronounce it!

squib said...

Hi Puss, no that's a pen name. The invisible 'e' was me being a bit pretentious

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

The Boy has my surname because my surname ROCKS!!!

squib said...

That's the spirit!

GiggleWorthy said...

Question for Melba - You say 'my name is me'.

Does this mean that you feel that changing your name would make you less than yourself? Less 'you'? Is your sense of self really so strongly tied to your surname? A rose by any other, etc...

I'm not having a go, I'm just curious as I can't say I have ever looked at it that way, so I find your view interesting.

Melba said...

I've always been known as Melba Opinionated. So it just made sense to keep it, or indeed made absolutely no sense to change it. I am Melba. I am Ms Opinionated.

I have a strong sense of self, , but it's not tied up in my name as such, more that my name is attached to me (rather than the other way around.)

It's not like I love either name, but they have always been my names, they are mine, and I will die still with those names.

I've always been suspect of those people who change from Jane to Aswanee as well. Or from Kaye to Kate because they just like it better.

patchouligirl said...

Or because he'd assumed they would change their name and they didn't want to rock the boat

I think there was an element of that for me. Not that he would have said anything but it would have hurt his feelings. Plus I've had so many surnames anyway it wasn't a big deal for me. A change is like a holiday!

Alex said...

It's not like I love either name, but they have always been my names, they are mine, and I will die still with those names.

Not that I've ever considered getting married, but I can agree with that sentiment.

Puss, both my names are tricky.

Apparently, my name makes people think I'm a man.

Melba said...

It wasn't your name, Alex. It was your erudition, and your scientific intelligence.

Patch, I appreciate your honesty, but I would think if a man's going to have his feelings hurt or get snotty because I don't take his name, then he's not the man for me.

My men need to be resilient, tough and thick-skinned. To cope with me.

Boogeyman said...

It's a feminist issue only when there's a lack of choice in the matter.

Anyway, once upon a time, surnames denoted your occupation (ie. Baker baked bread, Miller made clothes, Collins built nuclear submarines), or if you were rich enough, the name of your lands (ie. York, Norfolk, Woodridge).

A surname bonds a family group together, so there's little compelling logic to maintaining a patrilineal, matrilineal or quasilineal surname over many generations, unless you're rich and you get land or a title and stuff.

Boogeyman said...

Maybe a numbering system would be advantageous, Boogey.

I like the idea of having my wives adopt a SPECTRE style numbering system - Number One, Number Two, Number Three - it would probably be better received than a proposal that they change their names to Bond women such as Pussy Galore, Honey Rider, Holly Goodhead, etc.

Alex said...

Anyway, once upon a time, surnames denoted your occupation (ie. Baker baked bread, Miller made clothes, Collins built nuclear submarines)

I wonder what the Fucks and the Wankers did?

Puss In Boots said...

And that is why I suspect my ancestors were depressed peasants, Boogey.

I think my stepfather's ancestors must have bred dogs.

Mr E Discharge said...

My ex was a hyphenator. I was to be Husband Number Three, which would have made her "Mrs E Nancy Catherine Nesbitt-Blalock-Harvey-Discharge".I argued that that would be impractical on the basis that she'd never get it all into that little signature square on the back of the credit card and that Europeans might mistake her for a Welsh Railway Station.

Then I took her to meet the relatives in England and France. A very old family of which I'm the 87th Generation.

After meeting the lord, the Marquis and a bunch of Complete Counts, all of whom I treat with a appropiately Australian level of distain, she wanted to know why I didn't have a title, and my cousin obliged by offering me a title that had been in the family but not used in 600 years, all I had to do was go to Brussels and fill out a "Form 27b - Application to be a Pompous Wanker". (My Australian Qualifications weren't recognised).

Now she could be "Le Comptess E Nancy Catherine Nesbitt-Blalock-Harvey-Discharge".

On returning to the states she decided that I should change my Anglicised Surname back to the ancient french spelling because "it sound more classy".

I understand how you girls feel.

patchouligirl said...

I wonder what the Fucks and the Wankers did?

Royalty and Politicians.

Alex said...

she decided that I should change my Anglicised Surname back to the ancient french spelling because "it sound more classy".

Décharge?

Nadine said...

A friend of mine has just married... and changed her last name to Cocks.

Melba said...

La Nads?