Thursday, February 19, 2015

Feminists Do WHAT, You Say?

Our wedding day, Sept. 1995. We paid extra for that vignette effect on this print. 
The other evening, while my eldest and I were waiting in a Starbucks when the youngest daughter was at tutoring, I overheard an interesting conversation.

A couple were discussing their marriage with another individual. At first I thought the person they were talking with was perhaps a wedding planner, but it soon became clear that he would be officiating the ceremony.

They worked out how they were going to seat people (no ushers, no assigned seats), how they would like the processional to go, and what the order of the ceremony would be. I tried not to listen, but it's difficult when you're only one seat away from the lively discussion.

At one point the person officiating asked, "Now how would you like to be introduced at the end of the ceremony?"

The couple seemed confused by his question, so he gave examples.

"Do you want to be introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Johnson? Or Becky and Ray Johnson?"

"Oh! That's what you mean. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson is perfect, that's what we want," the bride said confidently.

And then the person officiating went on to say how some people -- women in particular -- did not like to be introduced as "Mr. and Mrs."

"Some feminists don't like it," he went on, "Some ultra feminists don't even take their husband's last names."

The bride and groom made the expected "tsk tsk" noises and agreed how terrible that is for women to not change their last names upon marriage.


I had a hard time restraining myself from going over there and educating these people.

For one thing, the definition of a feminist is "someone who believes that men and women should have equal rights." I would take that to mean that both genders enjoy the right to vote, the right to work, the right to be paid equally for said work, to not be denied housing on the basis of gender...I could go on. Oh wait, I think I already did.

So what exactly is an ultra feminist? Someone who believes that women should have more rights than men, like the right to not change their name when they get married? Well, I guess that would be just an equal right, because men don't have to change their names when they get married. So they're equal in that regard.

This visual effect was even more unique and expensive. 
This fall Wayne and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Twenty years. Women choosing to keep their given names upon marriage is not a new concept. Had I chosen to change my last name, I would have to be married for another four years before I would have a married name longer than I had my given name.

My kids don't wonder if I'm their mother. Sure, when they were younger they had questions, and, being girls, they could relate when I talked to them about it.

"Imagine," I said, "that one day you met your prince, the love of your life. You decide to get married. And this prince's name is Joe Smith. So do you decide to become Lindsey Smith? Or do you decide to be Lindsey Horsman? There's no right or wrong, but you have the choice."

They also go to a school where classmates have hyphenated last names that combine both the mother and father's last names, or two parents of the same gender with different last names, or stepparents and half brothers and sisters from other unions.

By the way, I am not alone in my choice. I have met many women in my life who did not change their names, several on my street alone, for no other reason than they wanted to exercise that right.

Guess that makes us a bunch of ultra feminists. I think there are worse things to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment