Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My anti-feminist feminism

So, I'm changing my last name. There, I said it. We'll get to that in a second.

There was a time in my life when I thought that feminism was a negative thing. I associated it with lesbians and woman who were on a revenge mission against the men who had scorned them. Only in my 20's did I realize that feminism is something I needed to embrace.

I realize that the term "feminism" stems from a time when women couldn't vote and didn't have a chance at equality, but the word still rings true today. Women may be able to vote, and definitely have more opportunities than they did decades ago; but the truth is that we still have a long way to go. Only a small percentage of Fortune 500 CEO's are women, and on average, women are still earning 20-25% less than men in the same roles. So, while we've made great strides, we still have work to do.

Having worked in corporate America in a professional capacity for nearly a decade now, I have seen this first hand: I've seen female colleagues not ask for the raises they deserve; I've seen the "boys club's" exclusivity and the *perks* that go along with being a member (promotions, raises and general favoritism); and I've seen women who stand up for themselves, including myself, who are viewed as bitchy instead of confident. It's frustrating. And I always thought that there was nothing I could do except work harder to get to the top. Until recently.

Within the past few years I've discovered several women's groups that are specific to my industry (media/technology). At first I was weary of these groups, thinking they would be about bashing men and complaining about the current inequities. I soon realized that they were about more than that. They took a positive angle. Rather than taking an anti-men stance, it was about supporting fellow women professionals in every way we can and networking together. I found this to be very inspiring, and so far, I've already made dozens of great contacts, some that have helped me personally and professionally, and some that I've helped both personally and professionally. It's a reciprocal environment, and people genuinely want to help each other.

This leads me back to my choice to take Mr. T's last name. There was a time in my life when I thought I'd keep my last name--- because to take his last name was to lose myself, my independence. Additionally, on my father's side of the family there are only girls, and only a few of us (myself, my sister and my cousin to be exact). This means that if we all take new last names, then our last name (as horrific and Scottish as it is!) will cease to exist! This scared me more than anything. I considered hyphenating. But to be honest, I despise the hyphen. You never know whether to just call a woman by the actual fully hyphenated name, or omit the hyphen, or what?! It's so confusing. And creates long email addresses. I also realized that to truly be a feminist, I needed to make my own decision, independently from any external pressures. Finally, I came to the conclusion that there is a spiritual connection about sharing a last name, regardless of who's it is, his or mine. There something about being Mr. and Mrs. ____ together. That is why I chose to take his last name. (Plus, my last name is totally awful, and his is pretty swanky.) It's a symbol of our relationship, our connection, our choice to build a life together, and to officially become family.

So, my initials will officially become S.S.S., The Snake.

hiiiisssssssssssss....

10 comments:

  1. When I first got married I hyphenated my husband's name onto mine. After a while I got tired of having four names and I dropped my maiden name. I don't miss my maiden name at all.

    S.S.S.= She is super sassy!

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  2. I kept my married name after I was divorced which is not too common to do anymore. But I wanted it because it is the same last name as my daughter. I dunno. I think I like the one name concept, like Cher and Madonna. PS, if it's an upgrade from your maiden name, go for it!

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  3. I think it's nice that you're taking your husband's name. You don't owe an explanation to anyone. Congratulations on YOUR decision. It's so romantic ;)

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  4. um you could hyphenate your last name. yeah but then that may be too extreme. ;)

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  5. I'm in the same boat as you - nice Scottish last name, last of the line (my dad had 4 girls). I like my name and all, but I also like the idea of starting a new family when I get married.

    You know, when I get married again. The first time was just for practice.

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  6. I took my husbands last name and now I'm constantly being teased. But it's no worse than my maiden name- my initials were BLS- and that's no bullshit.

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  7. My wife makes more than me, and I am completely fine with that.

    By the way in response to your comment on my blog, I wrote a CSI parody last month:
    http://crudeandfeckless.blogspot.com/2008/12/csi-miami.html

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  8. Sigh. The reason I am having so much trouble with deciding what to do with my name is because our family name would also disappear. I have a younger brother, but he doesn't really seem like the child-raising type. Granted, he's only 21, but still. I just don't see it happening. It kills me to think that our name could just 'die.' But I've had the exact same thoughts about how taking the last name is a spiritual connection. I hate the hyphen, too, but that's how I'm leaning thus far. Good thing I have a lot of time to decide. Lol.

    Great post, by the way.

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  9. I think that whatever you decide with the name thing is totally cool and totally your business. I kept my maiden name because I love it and his is horrific. I'm Russian and he's Italian, so mine is along the lines of Romanoff and his is along the lines of Gambino.

    Look, I tried marrying a Kennedy, but they wouldn't hear of it.

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