savannah (onsafari) wrote,

Last names

Yesterday my husband and I received a wedding invitation in the mail to Mr and Mrs Us. Since we don't have the same last name, I was a little annoyed. OK, so I'm never really a little annoyed - I was downright cranky about it. In this day and age, I wondered aloud, how can a woman not bother to find out who she's addressing things to? (I know it was the bride who sent these out because I know the groom and he's probably avoiding this stuff like the plague.)

My husband took issue with my annoyance. His intrepretation of my annoyance was that I don't want to be identified with his last name. It's really not that at all, and thankfully after my explanation, he understands why I get upset at the assumption that because we're married I must have his last name.

Basically, my position is that changing a womans last name on marriage is a vestige of a strongly patriarchal system. I have no problem with people who do change their names either way, my problem is with the assumption. Making the assumption that a woman has changed her name upon marriage allows the patriarchy to continue to exist, where asking allows that there are other options that are also acceptable. I strongly believe that by letting the little assumptions slide, it's harder to tackle the big ones. It's only by questioning the small everyday assumptions that allow change and equality to come in. Social revolution is hard and takes changing the way people think. This can only be done by not letting those assumptions slide. Some day gender won't be an issue in life choices. Educating people in last name choice is a small contribution I can make every day.

This rant brought to you by silly friends who should know better, fear by gender and naming conventions.
Tags: feminism, rant
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