Sunday, March 10, 2013


There's been a barnstorming and fluttering in the blogosphere on various topics this week that push certain of my rage buttons.  And there is some good writing on those topics. There is also a fascinating (subscription-only, alas) article by Jeffrey Toobin about Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the New Yorker, which I highly recommend if you can get hold of it (the link I've put in is to an accompanying slideshow).

But the one that is closest to my heart comes from Kate Harding on changing one's name - in which she adeptly points out that feminists sometimes do the non-feminist or, indeed, anti-feminist thing, that it doesn't make you a bad person, but you need to own that changing one's name is not a feminist action. To be honest, I'm not even a fan of double-barrelling/hyphenating - to me, that seems a little of a cop out - you know the feminist thing is to keep your name, but you really do want to take his name. If he does the same, great - and some of my friends have indeed done that. But it's a very, very, very rare man who does that. And when they are asked whether they would, often the most enlightened, ardent women's equality supporting male will react as if it's the stupidest question in the world - "why would I?" So why would I? Oh, that's right - I'm a lady. I forgot for a moment.

Like Kate I got married, too, and I enjoy being married, much to my shock. But one of the main reasons I did not want to be married was because I'd get hit with the assumptions that are made about a married women, and shortcuts taken about women that simply don't exist for married men.* Losing both my surname and first name at the first wedding we went to as a married couple caused me to cry with rage, I was so furious; the articles about married women taking their husbands' names indicate I'm still very much in a minority, however.

* There are tired tropes about married men, but a lot of those stem from lazy assumptions about women, again - for example how men are forced into doing things that they have ownership in - the house, food, their children - and it's just oh, so awful, and life would be better without her indoors nagging away and just ruining everything. Women, eh?

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