My Shower Curtain Only Strengthens My Opinions

The hubby found this awesome shower curtain some time ago at our local vintage shop.

It's a huge replica of the front page of the New York Times Dec. 6 1933. I have looked it up in the Times archives. It is the front page. How cool!

The two biggest stories that day were the repeal of prohibition, and the Lindbergh flight from Africa to Brazil.

I have the entire shower curtain memorized. Really I do. But I really haven't looked closely at it until recently.

The Times ran an article on the Lindbergh flight over the South Atlantic, documenting not only the flight, but giving Mrs. Anne Morrow Lindbergh credit for keeping the world below their airplane informed on what was taking place as they flew high above the ocean.

To think that there was a time when flying in an airplane was a news worthy event is astounding to me. :)

But what I had never noticed before was how the reporter referred to her. Not as Mrs. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, or Mrs. Anne Lindbergh, or whatever. They simply referred to her as "Mrs. Charles A. Lindbergh". Her husbands name.

The topic of changing a woman's last name to that of her husband's is a great topic of conversation in the No Patterns household. You see, before we got married, I had no problem changing my last name to the hubby's. He has an awesome last name. But as the time passed, and the day to change my name grew nearer, I started feeling a bit weird about the whole practice.

I actually HAVE to change my name? But I like my name just fine. It's my name. It's part of who I am. It's my family. It's me. I felt like a bit of myself would simply vanish along with the word used to identify me for 27 years.

Sure I may be a bit dramatic about the name change, but I simply cannot seem to bring myself to reduce my name to something of the past. Like bad fashion choices, and lousy ex-boyfriends.

Of course the hubby is none to thrilled with my decision to keep my last name. I know how important it is to him for me to change it. Every so often I think about changing it to surprise him.

But I can't bring myself to do it.

I understand it is tradition to adopt the family name of the husband. You pass it off to your children, and you live as one happy same named family.

But why do I have to change my name? Why can't the hubby? Well he doesn't want to because like I said before, his name is awesome. I could simply hyphenate my name. But once again, why do I have to be the one to change my name simply because I am a woman, and that is what tradition tells us to do? I have told the hubby I would hyphenate my name if he hyphenated his, but again, he doesn't want to because his last name is awesome. :)

I had the novel idea that we simply make up a last name, and pass it off onto our children so we could live as our own special clan. Nobody would have anybody else's last name. Only a brand new made up one.

I go back and fourth over this in my head from time to time. Some days I think I can change my name, but other days I feel like I shouldn't have to.

And the New York Times article about Anne Lindbergh only reinforced my decision to keep my name.

She was not Anne Lindbergh anywhere in the whole article. She was Mrs. Charles A. Lindbergh. Not even a shred of her name was published. She was not identified as a separate person. She was identified as her husband. The only way we, as readers could tell if she was being referred to was the "Mrs." If there had been no "Mrs." it would have simply said "Lindbergh" identifying her husband.

The fact that women even go from "Miss" to "Mrs." bothers me as well. The men don't change their prefix. There's no form of "Mr." that identifies a man as married. At least that I have heard.  I feel like it's an outdated practice used by men to "stake their claim" over a woman so to speak. That woman belongs to them, and she has the name to prove it.

I'm not trying to put down any woman who changes their name to that of their husband's. I just don't feel that it's right for me. I know I will find a solution that we will both be happy with one day. I just have to get creative.

How did you feel when you changed your name? Did it weird you out, or were you fine with it?

I love that shower curtain.

**Silly sidenote** The hubby and I decided after a night of drinking that we would change our last names to A'sauras. Like dinosaurs. I was pumped because he sounded totally down for the whole thing, until the next day after we sobered up. Back to the drawing board.

7 comments:

Rocaille said...

I was completely fine with changing my name when we got married, but it did make me think about how my last name identified me as a person and how that would change... But I think maybe I wanted it to change. The only thing that bothered me was exchanging all my id documents, and still I'm not 100% used to signing things in my new last name, I have to control myself a bit :) I didn't think much about the feminist approach here, I just wanted to show the rest of the world that we're family now; plus, my hubs is the only living member of his family bearing this name, and I still have my brother to pass on the family name to future generations ;)

Crissy said...

I had quite a bit of trouble changing my last name...my husband pleaded and pleaded with me. He said it was the only thing he asked of me and it meant so much to him. So I did it...but not without protest. I didn't officially change over until two days ago. And we were married in May of 2008! I think after almost two years of thinking about it and not wanting to change it I finally gave in. So yeah, I totally get where you are coming from...

VegKat said...

I took his name right away, with no looking back. Of course, I had issues with my family and frankly couldn't change it quick enough. I was, however, a little irritated when I started getting things addressed to me as "Mrs. Man Lastname." Um, I don't think so. I still have my own name! Also, waaaay back in the day, unmarried young men were referred to as Master Soandso instead of Mister Soandso. My brother used to get birthday cards from our great-grandma where she addressed him "master". We always thought it was so funny and quaint.

Leigh said...

Intellectually I had a hard time with it. I knew I should WANT to keep my last name, I understood and fully believe in all the reasons I should keep my name. But I hated my last name. It was an annoyance throughout my childhood- jokes, mispronunciations, etc. My hubby would have been OK with it if I'd insisted, but it just wasn't a big deal to me. I have LOTS of male cousins and a brother to "carry on" the family name. But now that we have daughters, my husband has changed his tune! He wishes I'd kept my maiden name and has apologized for asking me to change it. He says he will strongly encourage our daughters to keep their name and hopes that by the time they marry (if they choose to) that the "tradition" will have changed.

itseileen said...

In our case, I was never crazy about my last name (always being mispronounced and always having to spell it, people insisting on guessing my ethnicity and being wrong then not believing me about it (yes it's Polish and not Italian, yes really, why does it matter?!), for example), so changing it was no big deal. I figured it's not like I'm somehow not me anymore just because I have a different name. My husband didn't care either way, said it was my decision. I also like the idea of us and our two kids all having the same family name (which kind of contradicts what I just said about identity being more than a name - doh!). I kept the scrap of paper on which I first signed my new name on our wedding nite (not officially changed at that point but still), though I've since changed how I write it. Interestingly, we have a *very* easy to spell and pronounce last name and people still get it *very* wrong. Sigh.

Artiste Nouveau said...

No where is it stated that LEGALLY you have to change your name to the man's. It's just a tradition and that's it. It's not a legal must. You are you and that's who you are.

VegKat said...

Hey, one of my friends just got married this weekend, and you should read her blog about what she did with her name. I think it's super awesome, and you might want to check it out. After I read it, I thought of your dilemma.

http://hikingirl.blogspot.com/2010/02/so-i-am-married.html

Also, my BFF got married a few years ago, and *he* took *her* name. She didn't want to change hers, and he didn't really care, but he wanted them the same, so he just changed his. Everybody made a big deal about it, but they didn't care, and I think that's awesome.

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