Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Name Game

Traditionally when a woman got married she took on her husband's last name. Growing up I never thought I might have issues with changing my name until I officially was confronted with the reality of being expected to change my last name. I have to say that I am having major identity issues and finding a bit of my feminist side. My entire life I have been known as Vanessa and identified myself with that name. While my name didn't dictate who I became at the same time my name became tangled up and inseparable from my identity beginning with the day I was born. It would be odd to call me Melissa, Sarah or Katie because I am Vanessa, I act like Vanessa, I look like Vanessa, I am Vanessa.

The same goes for my last name and is just as an important part of my identity as my first name. To just change my name and no longer have my maiden name seems wrong. I have been mourning the possible loss of my current last name. I am not becoming a different person when I get married, I will still be me. So to be identified as a completely different person is just strange.

The most interesting part of all of this is that so many people seem horrified by my difficulty with this issue and act as if I am hurting them. I wonder how my personal decision of what to do with MY name is so controversial? Women have been bucking tradition for years making decisions to have children on their own, becoming the family bread winner, speaking their minds and thinking outside of the box. However I have quickly found that there is a stigma for not sticking to tradition when it comes to your name. Most men would be offended if you asked them to change their name and would absolutely refuse to because it's their name. Why is their name any more important than my name? If you would ask them why they won't change their name they would respond because it is tradition or normal for the woman to change her name. Again, why and who says so? During a time when women have so many choices and the ability to make decisions for their own lives without any repercussions the same should go for our decisions about our last name. There is nothing wrong with a woman who decides to stick with tradition because it is her choice but to do so blindly is to put it bluntly, stupid.

Unsurprisingly I have more to say about the name change issue but way too much to say in just one post. All week I will be commenting on different name possibilities and the personal choice I finally decided on.


AisforAlottaloveforvisforvows said...
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Heather said...

Stealing my blogging ideas, I see. ;)

Glad to see other brides actually considering all of their options. :)