25 years ago my future husband and I made many decisions for our wedding: where, when, by whom, what to wear and what to say. One was simple: whether I should change my name. To be honest, I’ve never considered it.
My father would describe attending this or that alumni’s wedding only to reintroduce the woman he had taught as “Miss Person” as “Mrs Guy Manson” after the ceremony.
“And just like that, she disappeared,” he said. I took that to heart when I was young — and was reminded recently when I read that Jennifer Lopez changed her name to Jennifer Lynn Affleck after marrying Ben Affleck. With the name change, Affleck née Lopez joins the vast majority of American brides.
Polls show that only between 11 and 16 percent keep their name. The rest choose to stick to a naming convention based on a literally medieval notion that wives are legally subordinate to their husbands. However, some claim that the name change is actually a feminist decision.
“Taking My Husband’s Name Is a Feminist Act” is the actual headline of a 2021 essay in which Kimberly Atkins Stohr argues, “At the core of feminism is the idea that women have agency over their own lives and their own choices should meet what is right for them.”
Defenders of Affleck’s new name have taken a similar path. “True feminism means every woman is free to make her own choices, including J-Lo,” one tweeted. A writer in picture magazine said, “Feminism is about equality and a woman’s freedom to make choices as she sees fit.”
you have the idea Feminism is about choice – so Affleck’s choice must be feminist.
No sorry. It is the opposite.
Any decision to conform to sexist social norms makes it harder for other women to choose otherwise. Every woman who has plastic surgery or botox, or gets her hair dyed, or, yes, changes her name, makes it harder for other women not to do it.
Some argue that it’s how a woman feels that matters, not what she’s doing. “The non-feminist probably shaves because she feels she needs to do it for others,” explains one blogger, “while the feminist shaves because she wants to do it for herself.”
My goodness no. The feminist knows that the reasons she chooses to shave are deeply compromised — and that doing it for oneself is an illusion unless men are expected to.
While I appreciated the way that sharing a single name makes a couple family, I protested the fact that no one expects the man to “make sacrifices” — as J-Lo described it in 2003 — for that family to found. Very few men do that. So I haven’t. Still, as a feminist, I’ve failed many times down the aisle. I lost weight for my wedding, shaved my armpits, wore heels, lipstick and virgin white.
Guess what those decisions were? sexist. Sure, I could say I looked good in white or that I liked the feel of smooth armpits. But any excuse other than “I gave in” would disregard the women who oppose patriarchal traditions. Better to admit that I fell short. (©Washington Post)
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/even-feminists-succumb-to-sexist-wedding-traditions-41921939.html Even feminists succumb to sexist wedding traditions