Feminism and the Adaptation of Isaiah’s Last Name
Might be a touchy topic for some, I promise any opinions I share are just opinions I chose for myself…not opinions I hope to projectile spew all over you and your decisions.
I have never wondered if I was going to keep my last name. Okay, for like a day – Isaiah and I talked about it. I never thought it was conceding any of my individualism to adopt his last name. I thought it was an entrance into his family, a sign of honor and love…not the loss of Lizzie, part I, part II = the rest of my life in submission or something.
I wrote a paper my sophomore year of college about my ambivalence toward feminism, called “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar?” I went through the whole semi-extreme phase of feminism…until I picked up this book: Manifesta.
I couldn’t have disagreed more with the principles of the book. It was a hot-mess of gender inbalance. Maybe if I read it now, with my not-so-impressionable mind, I wouldn’t be so “eek!” about it, but when I was 18, I thought that book was everything I didn’t want to be…a hardened, anti-men, assumed-to-be-lesbian-all-the-time woman. This is no, I was calloused toward the thought of men before “he” came along! Isaiah didn’t free me from the cage of feminism by any means.
Who would’ve thought Family Guy would ever clarify an ambiguous thought in your mind into one concrete sentence for you? In an episode I watched yesterday, Lois said, “To me, feminism means choice.” She was talking about choosing to be a wife and mother and what not.
This post is not about feminism. That’s just a can of worms for a whole other day.
I’m talking about how I don’t feel Isaiah’s last name is some kind of assault on my femininity. I don’t think taking it means I lose any of who I was. My parents split when I was 12, I have no attachment to my last name. Isaiah basks in his last name’s glory. He loves the way it sounds and is really happy with it. The first time he introduced himself to me – it was a first, middle and last name introduction. (Yeah, I know)
I’m all about equality and choice, feminism. And maybe I’m just traditional in some arenas, but I base a lot of my big life decisions on how they feel – before and after.
- I don’t want my future children to have a different last name than him or me.
- I haven’t established myself under my maiden name yet.
- I want to give that to him, join families and names.
- I don’t have any inner-gut resistance to the idea.
I’m sure this all just blubber now. I guess my number one fear in relationships has always been to be an emasculating woman. To make Isaiah feel small and like I’m in charge is on my list of don’t-do’s, although, unfortunately, it’s my natural reaction sometimes. I want us to have the same last name. I refuse to make/ask him to take mine. Ergo – I’ll have to get my plethora of monogrammed towels and robes changed when I marry. (kidding). I aspire to have equality in our relationship without competing for top-dog, which is what I think, sometimes can happen.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes – by Joan Baez: “Instead of getting hard ourselves and trying to compete, women should try and give their best qualities to men – bring them softness, teach them how to cry.”
Did you take your husband’s last name/are you planning to?