This morning I posted the following status on my Facebook page:
It is something I had often pondered but had yet to seek out the opinion and thoughts of others. And so very many of you had opinions and thoughts on the subject as I knew you would. I can always count on my Warriors to respond to the random questions I pose and I thank you and love you for it.
As I was reading through the myriad of insightful comments another thought struck me and not for the first time; truth is I have contemplated this one on many an occasion and I now wish to know where YOU stand.
And the question in question is this:
On entering the marriage union, why do the vast and overwhelming majority of women continue to sacrifice their surname for that of their husband?
Now before I proceed any further let me state for the record that I do not consider myself to be a feminist and the reason I do not consider myself to be a feminist is because of the countless brave and quite frankly heroic women who have gone before me and who have fought tirelessly both mentally and physically in the face of great adversity to ensure that I, at this time, in the society in which I live, surrounded by the people with whom I associate have never felt the need to flex my feminist bicep. Thanks to them I have never, not once in my entire existence felt any less worthy, capable or significant than any of my male counterparts.
Having said that, I do not live free of history and am acutely aware that the question we are raising today hearkens back to a time when married women still could not hold property, vote, or go to law. In a nutshell, at the point of marriage a woman became subject to the will, whims and desires of her husband and ceased to exist as an individual in her own right.
Mercifully and gratefully we have come a long way since then and here in the UK and indeed in many other countries throughout the world we are free to choose what we do with our name once we get hitched. We can, for example, stick with tradition and change it to that of our Beloved. On the other hand we could turn tradition on its boring and conformist head and insist that hubby dearest take OUR surname. If you’re looking for some gender push-back then surely that’s the way to go! (Craig Davies has a very distinctive ring to it, don’t you think?) There is also the option to introduce a fairly innocuous looking hyphen and both parties adopt a piece of each other’s identity. OR, and increasingly more couples are choosing to go down this route, the new Mr and Mrs can put their blissfully happy heads together and come up with a name of their very ownsome! Personally, I’ve always rather liked the surname Fitzgerald. It’s strong, noble and has an air of no nonsense. I’ll have to run that one past Craigy Boy..
At this point some of you may find another question forming in your mind, something along the lines of:
Ceri, does it really matter? I mean, what’s in a name for goodness sake??
Well, a hell of a lot in my opinion! Behind my name are 36 years and 7 months of hopes and dreams, failures and frustrations, memories and experiences (some I’d much sooner forget) that I have forged over the sands of time and which, for better of for worse, have made me the person I am today. And the person I am today goes by the name of CERI DAVIES and always will. It is the most basic marker of my identity and one that I am not willing to abandon.
While I have made my own personal feelings on the matter abundantly clear I do also believe it is the right of each woman to decide what she does with her name if and when the time comes for a decision to be made. All I would say is that I hope our sister in question approaches the matter with careful consideration, with the love, support and respect of her partner, and that together they can come to the decision which best suits them as a couple rather than mindlessly opting for the traditional route for no other reason than because it’s the way things have always been done.
That a woman will change her name upon marriage is a cultural and very much outdated assumption.
In my opinion. ;)
Ginger Warrior, over and out.
Over to you now, Warriors!