It's the darndest thing. I can casually browse the internet and start off watching prank videos on youtube and then end up reading up on Nietzsche. Today was no exception. I was on blackboard, studying my course notes when out of nowhere, while delving into a little side research, I found out that a whopping 50+% of people believe that women should be legally required to change their last name after marriage.
If you didn't catch that; here it is again: legally required.
I feel outnumbered. There are only a handful of women I personally know who haven't changed their names. Most married women do and while this is so loving, so supportive, so giving, why has it never occurred to anyone that it isn't any less loving, supportive or giving for a husband to take their wives’ names? But you don't see that happening, do you?( Perfect example gender double standards)
I was well into my feminist awakening when I first heard the term “coverture.” To sum it up: coverture is the practice of women — and only women! — taking their spouse’s names and is the continued symbolic representation of a practice that was explicitly designed and used to subjugate, oppress and silence women whose identities were wholly subsumed into that of their husbands.
Somewhere along the way, as years passed and women's rights progressed, this practice stuck on and somehow… it became kind of romantic. But it's only romantic when she takes his name, and not the other way around. Because if he does, well pssshhh… it's coz the dude's totally whipped! (For those of you in agreement with this statement, please click HERE).
More than I loathe the history and practice of coverture and its many continuing cultural implications, I appreciate the fact that women no longer have to do any one thing with their names. Do I wish more women would keep their names, or more men would change, hyphenate or morph their names? Absolutely. I think it would be really exciting if more families and couples felt empowered to decide for themselves what’s best, to decide what makes their marriage or family real for them, instead of simply doing the easy or traditional thing — especially when that easy, traditional thing is steeped in some pretty seriously misogynist history.
Anyway, that's all the ranting I'm going to do on this topic. Read PART 1 here.
Now it's back to statistics for me!
“True gender equality is actually perceived as inequality. A group that is made up of 50% women is perceived as being mostly women. A situation that is perfectly equal between men and women is perceived as being biased in favor of women.
And if you don’t believe me, you’ve never been a married woman who kept her family name. I have had students hold that up as proof of my “sexism.”
My own brother told me that he could never marry a woman who kept her name because “everyone would know who ruled that relationship.” Perfect equality – my husband keeps his name and I keep mine – is held as a statement of superiority on my part.”
– Lucy, When Worlds Collide: Fandom and Male Privilege.