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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"What's in a name?"... a conversation

Question time...
Today's question came from a discussion The Katie and I had over something that had come across the television. In a nutshell, the question that came of the conversation was as follows, which I posted to FaceBook, of course.

"Question of the day... At what point does a woman assume, not assume or hyphenate her last name to her husband's upon becoming married?"


Basically, she had asked me "what IS the point of hyphenating a last name?" and questioned the basic protocol. My explanation as I have understood and usually seen it happen will be in my response at the end.

I knew I would have at least some good conversation over this one...

First response came from Tiffany, with...
"I think this is one of those questions that could produce hundreds of answers, it really depends on the woman and her personal attachment to her last name. I have NO attachment to my last name, so I would have no problem ridding myself of it. I think for FB purposes, some people have all three, or even their maiden name only, simply to make it easier for old classmates/co-workers/friends to find them. "

Next was Ace, with...
"It's blasphemy for a woman to hyphenate her last name. The overwhelming response is just like the abortion debate: the woman has the right. Unfortunately, this is false logic. If (and it's a big if) the world were set in a proper balance, we'd understand that when I marry the broad, part of the package is us becoming one, not us being together, but you attached to your past still. She's no longer her maiden name, she Mrs. Whatever now. The hyphenation is a part of the misguided women's movement that has caused great imbalance in this world."

Then came Roger, with...
"Hyphenated last name plans = im not wedding u. Get past your past. I've heard of women not wanting a family name to die b/c of all female siblings......but fudge it, who cares. Know your history and pass it too your children. And last i checked, the vast majority (in a negro on negro union anyways) both last names are slave owner/generic/good samaritan in origin. Seems more like a forced power play. "

Then Amanda, with...
" I am the last Finegan left. There were no boys. I am holding on to my last name out of respect for my father (RIP). I only wish I could pass the family name to someone so it will live on."

Then was Ulrica, with...
"Wow! I hyphenated my last name because of my heritage it's not about holding onto my past.the name whether it's hypenated should not really be a big concern as long as they take the name. You have some women don't even go that far to change it. Lol @ "broad" wouldn't wanna be his girl with being called that. Lol!"

Ace returned with a response, in...
"A last name is not a legacy, but a legacy is a legacy! There are very few Rockefellers, (Sam) Walton descedents in existence but many different families of different last names still eat off their legacy. I feel @ Amanda, one of my ex's had the same hang up, but set up the Finegan legacy correctly and the name will by synonymous with success"

La'Donicca gives us...
"Well, as a single lady and someone who has very strong ideals about the origins of people's identities (and kinda sorta non-traditional and unique), I'm really not sure how my assessment would be at this point in my life since I'm not making any plans to be married. However, I think that there would be a discussion with my potential husband before marriage (but after proposal..don't wanna scare him off, lol) about last names and my views on it. I don't think I should give up part of my identity just because I'm inviting someone else to be my lifelong mate. He'd know before we jumped the broom, but not during our first date."


Looks like, as with most of my QOTD posts, the responses are divided along gender lines...
Funny how that happens, sometimes.

As for me?
My answer knows two ends, here...
It is actually quite fundamental and depends on the answer to one question:
"What was her position professionally before deciding to become married?"
If she was a PRACTICING doctor (Medical Doctor, not PHD), or a PRACTICING lawyer (not a paralegal working toward becoming one), then she has professional reasoning to maintain her name, as attached to a specific professional achievement requiring preservation of that name recognition that came before the marriage. Fine, hyphenate it.
BUT
If she was an otherwise-to-the-world (damn what anyone thinks, be real with yourself here) Jane Doe, then marriage is a union in which the husband's last name is to be assumed. This is the time to assess whether or not you are as great as you tell people you are on the internets. Sure, there comes banter from those who might call this sexist or promoting a "man's world" or some shit like that, and to them I would advise to simply not get married and refrain from bringing children into the world if you don't "need" a man.
Or at least not a man with any self-esteem, at which point he can probably be swayed to take HER last name, which would suggest that he probably doesn't mind carrying her purse for her as well.
Maybe it is just me, but there is this overriding feeling that any woman without the above-named or similar fundamental reasoning to do so is employing those controlling little tactics where they say shit like "I am willing to let him be a man... But only when I say so." which basically makes her the "man" in the relationship.

While my view may not be as extreme on this as my buddy Ace might be, it is still one of those things that I can PARTIALLY agree with him on. No, there is no correlation to abortion in my mind, nor will I call it blasphemy, as there comes some wiggle room in the world of my opinion. Where I sincerely agree with him, though, is that nothing about a name goes to make anyone great or cement a legacy, while being great or cementing a legacy does. Getting caught up in appearances helps very little, here.
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