7.10.2013

{anniversary wishlist + thoughts}

Robert and I will be celebrating our third anniversary in two weeks, and I'm more than a little excited to break out our bottle of wine from last year and make a trip to In N Out. Not only that, but our trip up to wine country this year includes one of the most adorable little inns. I'm dreaming of falling asleep next to the fire place and waking up to freshly made chocolate chip cookies on my pillow.

Anyway, I've already told Robert what I would really love for our anniversary, though I'm obviously happy about just getting to spend time together. A new necklace wouldn't hurt either...
blouse :: madwell // necklace :: kate spade // purse :: valentino

So, now onto my "thoughts." It's no secret that I struggle with the feminist vs. anti-feminist vs. I-just-want-to-be-a-woman-with-choice battle that's going on in 2013. In the wedding industry, there are a lot of people who like to debate things like, should you change your name when you get married? When is the best age to get married? How traditional marriage in the 21st century is detrimental to feminism and the progress of today's modern woman, yada yada yada. A publication that I respect (on occasion) recently declined to publish a post that I wrote on why it just doesn't matter. I fully believe that at the core of feminism is woman's right to make her own decisions in life, regardless of what that decision is. If a woman is fully informed of her choices, the consequence of her choices should only matter to her. Here is a little snippet of what I wrote regarding the name change debate:
I changed my last name when I got married. Not that I need to give an explanation for it, but I was twenty three at the time, so I had no true professional attachment to my maiden name, other than what it says on my college diploma. I’m not close to my father, though I am close to my father’s family and my younger brother shares my maiden name. I was raised by a single mother whom I’ve never shared a name with, and even she has changed her name now to my stepfather’s last name. 
My husband, on the other hand, got his last name from his mother, who has also now taken her husband’s last name. There is nobody else in his family that we know of who shares our last name. It’s as if we took his mother’s last name, and created an entirely new family name with it. But again, not that I owe any of you an explanation for why I chose to change my own last name. 
I’ve been seeing so many articles and posts around the internets lately with differing reasons as to why a woman should or shouldn’t, or did or didn’t, change her last name when she got married. The point of me writing this, at this time, is to say…does it matter? True, there are plenty of other things that should be discussed when it comes to changing your name after marriage. Why can’t your husband take your last name? If you do choose to keep your maiden name, why should your children have to take his last name? There are plenty of alternatives to taking on your husband’s last name as well. You can choose to hyphenate, or even come up with an entirely new name. 
But a nameless, faceless woman on the internet judging another woman for choosing to take a man’s last name is just as bad as a mother-in-law judging her new daughter-in-law for not taking her husband’s last name. Regardless of a woman’s decision, even if she’s trying to battle the patriarchy by keeping her maiden name, it’s still patriarchy that keeps the tradition of surnames going. What’s a woman’s choice? The name of her husband or her father? Let’s stop pretending that the decision is an easy one; that there is one right answer, and just support one another. 
So if I want to wear a Mrs. necklace because it's pretty and I like being called a Mrs., then I should have that right. Part of my identity is being linked to my husband; that's part of marriage, I think. I'm just tired of all these posts and articles arguing one way or the other. I'm happily married, and I don't need to prove myself or defend my choices to anyone, end of story. And end of rant. 

What are your thoughts on the name change debate? And do you think it's possible to "keep your identity" when becoming a Mrs.?

9 comments:

Joelle Duff said...

Amen! I don't get why it matters so much to anyone outside the two people determining their last name.

I don't have any sentimental attachment to my last name and will likely change my name when I marry. My business name comes from my initials, so if I marry someone with a different last initial, I may have to keep my maiden name publicly or just make sure it's displayed in parenthesis on my about page for context. Of course, if my future husband has a truly heinous last name, I can always use my business as an excuse to keep my maiden name! (Kidding! Mostly.) Point is, it's my choice, and I can cross that bridge when I get there. I don't think it will make me any less of a woman to change my name, nor do I think it will make me any less of a wife not to.

Joelle Duff said...

I think that through our lives we are always changing our identity to some extent, in little or big ways, and a marriage is just one of those ways, though one most tied to societal norms and expectations about how and what we are to change or not. I think the deeper into my marriage I go, the more I find out about my identity as an individual.

Ultimately, it's all about the right to choose, and I agree with you there!

Joelle Duff said...

I completely agree, the choice should be made between two people and two people only, the husband and wife. Only they know what is the best choice for them individually and as a couple, it shouldn't concern anyone else.

Joelle Duff said...

I agree with you 100%. I love reading opinions on the last name debate. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do when I get married. On one hand I'd love to keep my name since it's been my name for 25 years. However, I'd love to have the same last name as my husband. But ultimately it's my decision to make when the time comes.

Joelle Duff said...

I think the idea that a woman would "lose her identity" if she takes her husband's last name is just ridiculous, if nothing else. I'm engaged to be married, and when I get married I plan on taking my husband's last name because it is a part of him, and I want to be a part of him even if just in a small way. People thinking that makes me less independent or that I no longer have my own identity is just an excuse for an argument; an argument on the basis that we can't just let people live their own lives.
I don't know if that rant makes sense, but I whole-heartedly agree with you. If I want to change my name or if another person doesn't, I don't see how it matters to anyone else besides the woman/person involved.

Joelle Duff said...

I just recently got married and deciding if I would change my name was an internal struggle. A real one that I went back and forth on a bunch. No one told me not to change my name but for some reason this was a real toughie for me. I love the name I was given at birth and I also love my maiden name on it's own. There's so much history there that I was pretty attached. But I did it, I went forward with the name change, mainly for my fiance who really liked the idea of us having the same name. I knew it made him so happy.


Just ten days after our wedding I marched into the social security office excited to change it. Kinda like the bandaid approach :)

Joelle Duff said...

I'm in love of this bag!!!


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Joelle Duff said...

Thoughtful post. My preferred title is "Dr." since that is what I have earned the right to be called. The most insipid response when I got married was by my employer whom, upon learning that I had gotten married, was: Are you no longer a Dr.? I had to explain that I still retained the "privilege" of my title. That said, write on, write on. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone. Although sometimes, in fact, you do.

Joelle Duff said...

1) I love the necklace. 2) I teach elementary school, and so your name is obviously a huge part of the job. It is pretty much assumed that everyone changes their name!


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