I realize this is my millionth post for the day, but I've got a lot on my mind. I'm also feeling very topical because today Jezebel addressed men changing their last names for their wives, and it's something I feel pretty strongly about.
I'm not above choosing whichever last name sounds best with my first name, so I'll probably do that if I get married. Women who keep their last names are generally treated with a raised eyebrow, but that doesn't even begin to describe the response given to men who change their last names instead. What IS that? One of my male friends, who wouldn't flinch at being called a feminist, said that my husband will "have no balls" when I suggested he might want to change his last name to mine (in theory only, as my last name is wretched).
He didn't explain why it was so emasculating or why it should matter if the husband and wife are seen as equals. When I told an older woman I know that I didn't plan on changing my name unless I liked the way it sounded, she sighed and said, "we live in a patriarchy." She's also a self-proclaimed feminist. Isn't a huge part of feminism working to CHANGE that? Baby steps are the way to go. And I'm not going by Allison Tinkle or Guzzler or Weiner. And um, if the guy I'm marrying is unfortunate enough to have one of those as his last name, he shouldn't have to go by it, either.
I'm in the school of thought that engagement rings are sexist as well, so I know I might sound radical, but just look at the reasons behind these traditions. Changing her name: done because the woman is being passed from her father to her husband (like cattle!) Engagement rings: a chance for the man to essentially "prove his worth" to the woman and her family while marking the woman as off the market.
I know these traditions are part of that whole fairy tale ideal we have in mind since childhood, but I have less affinity towards them than annoyance. I don't like the idea of being seen as property, being obligated to change my name or accepting a ring that's worth several months of my fiance's salary. Personally, I hope my future husband and I make a relatively equal amount so that he doesn't need to prove himself financially and that I'll be fine in the event of a breakup.
I'm not saying anyone else should follow suit. Everyone is free to do what they want. I'd like to exchange cheapy, modest engagement rings that we both wear and trade those in for some nicer wedding rings. But enough about me. What do you think about me?