Thursday, April 30, 2009

A clarification

And maybe a little bit of an apology . . . I apologize for perhaps not being clear and seeming a little passive aggressive, reactionary and anti-feminist.

I am not anti-feminist. By all accounts I am feminist because I believe in the core values of feminism. I, of course, believe in advocating for equal opportunities for women, just as much as any other category of human beings. I would be a strange social worker to not. I was just trying to vent some of the pressures I feel. I hate to label it as guilt, but after a long discussion with my partner, that is what it appears to be (to others, per his perspective after reading my blog). I do not think I feel guilty, but I do get reactive at times about others who I think are trying to make me feel guilty for the personal choices I make. . . okay, so yes, I feel guilty. Perhaps my last entry was a passive aggressive response to that guilt.

Part of it, specifically when it comes to the question of a name change, is that I struggle myself with the decision. Yes, I know the idea of a woman changing her last name at marriage is ingrained historically in patriarchal views of ownership. The things I have read about the history of changing a woman's surname at marriage is actually quite disturbing- for "protection" of family and wealth and "acknowledgement of God's endorsement in the marriage." Yikes. We live in a fairly egalitarian, non religious household so those do not fit us at all.

For me though, the idea of possibly changing my name is not about the scary patriarchal ownership of a woman and her possessions and children. It clearly isn't about God. It's about joining in a partnership with the person I am going to spend the rest of my life with. I like the idea of sharing the same name as symbol of that partnership, not of ownership. Luke knows in a million years he could never "own" me. I think we need to remember that history is the past, things evolve. Traditions may remain throughout culture and time, but they change and evolve into new meanings. People as individuals attribute their own meanings to traditions, to make it of import to them.

So, I guess, without veering off on another passive aggressive train wreck, I just want to say that I support all feminists. I support all people that promote change and equality for any individual. You know that with my stance on gay marriage, my philosophies as a social worker, and other ways in which I try to live life as an advocate for women, as well as other genders, races, backgrounds. I wholeheartedly believe in the core values of these philosophies and will speak against any one that denies individual rights. I just don't want to be made to feel guilty because I may make a personal decision to do something that has patriarchal roots.

There it is again . . . guilt. Luke was right.

He says I should stop over thinking it. I should just flip a coin. I've got three more months to decide . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the last name thing is a totally personal choice and should be decided for personal reasons. I took my husband's last name with only minimal hesitation, although I had people telling me I should keep my last name because that was the name I earned all my "honors" under (ie my Master's Degree). But, I had no trouble realizing that my Master's Degree was still valid, even if I have a different last name now. And I've achieved some nice honors under my current last name (mainly my two children). My younger sister chose to keep her last name because she had been published under in some scientific journals and had earned some name recognition in her field of expertise and didn't want to give that up.

And as far as the feminist slant...I was a stay at home mom for 5 years. There were people who felt I was squandering my talents by staying home to take care of children. However, I have always feminism was really about women being able to choose roles they felt comfortable with, whether that being a full-time professional or a full-time mom. Ultimately, it is best to remember that every person has two opinion and an a**hole.