TODAY I HATE…

Those dim-witted women who change their surname to that of their husband’s after marriage.

What business of mine? Why should I care? Ah, but I do care, Gentle Reader: in this world where harsh inequality and discrimination is a fact of life for the vast, vast, vast majority of women everywhere, where barely a generation ago, women did not have the vote or many other rights that we take for granted today in most countries around the world, yes, it irritates the fuck out of me when I see otherwise intelligent, professional young women eagerly change their name to that of their husband after marriage.

Why?? What is wrong with you all, hypnotized and maddened by weddings and white dresses and shopping as you are? Weren’t you complaining about how men magically seem to get promotions and preferment and bonuses in your office, while women are silently put the side? And when the women complain, there always seems to be a thousand perfectly logical and rational administrative reasons why they, the women, weren’t promoted, weren’t sent on training, weren’t advanced, so they look like the crazy jealous bitches? And how this is happening again, and again and again? Weren’t you telling me all this, during Martini Monday, in Fireside, just a few months ago? And you don’t see what is wrong with changing your name to that of your husband, after marrying him? Can’t you connect the dots? Can’t you see beyond the glitter and flounces of your white dress? What is more fundamental to your identity than your name? And yet, is becoming married such a huge deal that you are willing to change your name, and rename yourself with your husband’s name? If you want to see how bizarre and absurd your action is, imagine the reverse, would your husband be willing to change his name to yours? If not, why not? Then why are you?

It is not just these North American yuppies who do it. Iranian women, who traditionally keep their surnames upon marriage, are also known to change to that of their husband a couple of years after migration- there are at least two cases in my distant family who have done so. Why, god knows. “The paperwork is easier” one says. “If we don’t, they think we are not married” says another. Gah, the puke is rising in my mouth. Are you so afraid of being seen as single that you are willing to change your name, that you were granted at birth and spent your whole life with, for the sake of it?

A good relationship is a fantastic thing. Intimacy and companionship is wonderful, I know. But let us not pretend that marriage, as we know it, is anything other than an outdated contract of a deeply hierarchical and patriarchal society. Not so long ago women were forced into marriage. Not so far away, they still are. A marriage is a contract, like a lease. Just like a lease, the person who has their name on the contract assumes the responsibilities and rights, the control and the power associated with that contract. It has nothing to do with love, don’t kid yourself. When you change your name to that of your husband, you are giving up a piece of your identity to him, for no other reason than because he has penis and you don’t. That is sad and sickening.

embellished-lace-and-tulle-a-line-soft-sweetheart-wedding-dress

3 comments

  1. I love your take on marriage, I find it really interesting to see it from a more feminist point of view! You talk about changing your name as a form of power and control: that you’re giving up part of your identity – would you not agree that you are using your own power to choose what you want your identity to be?

    – Harry

  2. Not at all! It’s nice to read from other perspectives :)

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