Following a pleasant morning, I decide to trawl through the Mail Online, because I need a downer. I skip the sidebar of shame as I don't want to ruin my whole day, I just need to induce a state of mild irritation so it's not too much of a shock to the system when the kids get home from school. It doesn't take long. 'Sorry sisters, but I was wrong not to take my husband's name' says a journalist in the Daily Mail in an article about how she kept her own name when she got married, and everything was fine, but now, many years later, she has decided to change her name to Mrs 'I'm trying to get an article in the Mail'.
As this isn't a real story given that nothing happened and no one cares, I assume that the point of the article is to show up all that silly feminist nonsense. The headline 'Sorry Sisters' made me wonder for a moment what Nuns had got to do with it, before I realised, of course she's mocking the feminist movement, I see, how clever. However, it's not as if she has disproved any feminist principles here. If anything she is exercising her right as a woman to decide for herself what her name is. I say You Go Girl, and that's from me and the nuns.
I am a feminist and I kept my own name when I got married, but I don't see the two as being especially linked. Maybe I'm a terrible feminist, but I didn't really have a deep ideological battle over it. It didn't really come to that for me. I just like my name and didn't want to change it. If I had a rubbish name I'm not sure I wouldn't have jumped at the chance to offload it (I'm looking at you Ms Cheryl Tweedy), but then if I was changing my name anyway I'd probably take the opportunity to pick a really cool one like Jenny Firebird.
I don't think any less of my friends who did change their name; I certainly didn't use it as a basis for assessing their feminist-ness. We've moved on from keeping your name as a political statement. Now it's just a wedding tradition which some have chosen to drop, like dowries and veils.
The only time that the name thing hits my feminist buttons, is when people refuse to use it. I don't mean assume I have the same name as my husband- that's entirely understandable. Nor if they have been told my name but have forgotten it, which we all do sometimes, but when I have bothered to correct them more than once but they have decided, No! They know best, they shall decide what I'm called. This surpasses my Sexist alert and triggers the Plain Bloody Rude siren, giving me the excuse to ignore them entirely until they refer to me by my name.
The weirdest argument I've heard against keeping your own name at marriage is the idea that it somehow shows less commitment to the relationship. I have no idea how that works. It's not as if people are less likely to split up because of the faff involved in getting their driving licence updated. Gone with the Wind could have had an entirely different ending if the last line had been, 'But Rhett, you can't leave me, I've had the towels monogrammed'. Sorry but changing your name offers no extra security and multiple marriage celebrities can start to look a bit daft when they keep flipping between names (Cheryl, you again I'm afraid).
The other stupid thing you sometimes hear is that it is somehow demeaning for your husband if you don't take his name. This brings to mind a pathetic quivering insecure wreck of a man whose masculinity is so fragile that it is dependent on such a small token gesture.
When we decided to get married I said to my husband 'I'm keeping my own name though'. And he said, 'Yeah, course'. Hiding the shame of this cruel emasculation then, and ever since, under a mask of total indifference.
Now that's a real man, a man who, till death do us part, will have a slightly less interesting name than me.Suggest a correction