Saturday, February 26, 2011

On changing my name when I get married.

Say my name, say my name...

Or don't.

Because what is is now, is not what it'll be in two weeks.

I wasn't planning to change my name when JD and i went to the town hall to file for our marriage license, but I wasn't planning to keep it, either.  I'd thought a medium amount about the concept of changing my name, and had started multiple blog posts dissecting the many good and bad reasons to change my name, and the many good and bad reasons to keep my name-- because there are a lot of both, for each-- but I hadn't actually come to a decision yet,  I wanted my decision to be well thought out, in line with all my beliefs and desires, and consistent with all my other political and personal opinions.

In the end?  It turns out in my town, when you register for marriage, each spouse has to put down what hir post-marriage name will be on the form.

And I did not know that until I was there, filling out the form.

And I didn't have time to think.

And I ended up putting down JD's last name.

Would I have done so if I had thought about it?  I don't know.  Would I have done it if we hadn't argued about something small the night before?  Would I have done so if it had been a different time of day, and I was more awake?  Again, I really don't know.

So I made the decision, and I made it on the moment instead of in a reasoned manner.

Honestly?  I think it's good that I didn't consider it too much.  Whatever I had decided, I'd have questioned it-- because there are good and bad points to both decisions, and I could see them both, and i find it a very close decision.  I know Jessica Valenti, in her (not very well done) book about double binds goes off on women who change their name... but why is it so much worse than heels or makeup or short skits, all of which I (and Valenti!) do too?  I am a feminist, my politics are feminist, but I live in a world that is not fully feminist, and I want to have the same last name as my husband-- and JD, I knew,was and  is not about to change his name.

So, as it turns out, having the same last name is more important to me than keeping my name.

So, in two weeks time I'll be Amanda Y instead of Amanda X.  And you know what?  I'll still be me.


yohami said...

"I want to have the same last name as my husband"

since feminism is about allowing you to get what you want, this shouldnt be an issue

if you didnt want your husband´s name, you are not forced to have it. and you dont need to be married either.

so you are choosing to follow the convention, freely, and that choice is what feminism should be about, regardless of what you end up deciding, even if you decide to be a stay home mom

Palaverer said...

I guess what bothers me most about the name-changing thing is that it is so ubiquitous. I know many women who choose (for a variety of reasons) to not wear make-up or high heels. I don't know any women who chose not to take their husband's last name. I absolutely respect your choice. I just find it unfortunate that so many women continue to make that choice. It's amazing how ingrained that is in our culture.

Quercki said...

I didn't take my husband's last name. We both took our (hypothetical at that point) children's last name.

Anonymous said...

Different cultures, different "feminisms" and "choices", then. In my culture, women keep their names. It isn't a "choice": it's how it is - and that was our feminist fight. You should try to think about how your "choice", or acceptance of the statu quo, was conditioned by the fact you're American, by what your American norms are, and that your institutions are forcing you to face the facts (and consequences) before you can decide it in a "reasoned manner".