Me: “I’m thinking about changing my name back to (insert maiden name)”
Mom: “WHAT! WHY?”
Me: “Because I was never really okay with the idea of changing my name and only really did it for traditions sake”
Mom: “How do you [my husband] feel about this ?”
Husband: “I’m okay with it, I still think of her as (name + maiden name)”
Dad: “..me too”
Mom: “Well as long as your husband is okay with it that’s fine, but I don’t think you should”
Dad: “Well she is going to do whatever she wants to do..”
Me: “Exactly! I just don’t see why I should have to change my last name, I’m proud of my maiden name and marriage shouldn’t be about ownership, it’s about love and partnership”
Mom: “But changing your last name is to honour your man”
“Honour your man“, I was completely shocked to hear those words leave my mom’s mouth. I would never call my mom traditional or conservative because she was the one who taught me to never take shit from anyone, to always stick up for myself or the underdog and to be strong. My mom was the one who taught us how to play sports because my dad was never very good at them (my dad is a musician, so he taught us everything he knew about music). There were no gender roles in our house, everyone shared the house work and chores. It was commonplace to come home and see my mom with a hammer or screw driver fixing the sink or tearing down walls. She was my Wonder Woman and still is today even with her bad hip and arthritis-ridden joints. So to hear her say those words “honour your man” completely shocked me.
I exploded (a little bit) and said “HONOUR YOUR MAN!?, why in the fuck should I have to honour my man!?”. I was livid and hurt because my mom is the strongest woman both physically and mentally to me, I’ve always seen her as some goddess that can do everything a man can do but better. But here she was willingly placing herself beneath her man, putting a man before her, degrading her worth because she is a woman. I’ve always seen my parents marriage as an equal partnership – had I been wrong all these years? It just didn’t make any fucking sense to me that my Wonder Woman goddess was saying this putrid shit. Her excuse was tradition mixed with religious views which is fair enough; to each her own. We came to an agreement and that was that.
Fast forward to a few weeks after this conversation when my husband is speaking to his female co-worker and he tells her I’m thinking about changing my name back. She thinks we are getting a divorce and then quickly understands we are not but cannot fathom why I would want to do such a thing. She too believes by changing her last name, she would be honouring her man.
Let me just get one thing straight here, I love my man. I respect and appreciate everything he does for me and I thank him every day for it. Let’s get another thing outta the way, yes I changed my last name and no I didn’t give it enough thought. For most people, changing their last name is just apart of marriage, I didn’t think about it’s historical significance until after we were married and when I started learning about gender roles, feminism, etc. Now that I’ve given it some thought, I should’ve went with my gut instinct before we were married and kept my maiden name. It didn’t feel right to me then and it still doesn’t feel right now. This is the 21st century and men no longer barter for brides, there is no dowry and I sure as hell ain’t no fucking house wife. My man is my equal, my best friend, my lover, my travel buddy, my everything and changing my last name should have ZERO to do with our relationship. I’m not his property and he isn’t my master, if you want to talk about honour let’s make it an equal opportunity for both people involved because we are both worthy.
Honour each other and fuck tradition. Carve your own path, make your own rules and you decide what’s best for you.