Tag Archives: feminism

The Big Doozy: Changing vs. Not Changing My Name

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One family=one name?
Source: http://www.truewoman.com

The name change issue can be divisive and controversial.  The changers and the non-changers too often pass harsh judgement on each other.  That’s not right!  We should all band together in realization that this issue is TOUGH and puts ALL women in a hard place.  I truly believe that what’s most important is that each woman realize the implications of either decision and truly give it some heartfelt thought and discussion with her partner before deciding.

That being said, my own name change journey involved lots of, well, changes- both changes of my own opinions and others’ expectations of me.  You see, growing up in a conservative family, I never considered NOT changing my name when I got married.  That’s what my grandmothers, mom, and all my aunts had done.  Until quite recently, I honestly never even gave it a second thought.  Like many of us growing up, I often matched my first name with the last name of whoever my current crush and doodled it in curlicued hearts along the margins of my notebooks.

Even early in my relationship with Zach, I first remember thinking to myself, and later actually admitting it to him, “It’s a good thing I like your last name.”  And I do like his last name.  It would sound good with my first name, maybe even better than my family last name.

Yet, as the prospect of marriage grew more real, I started to unearth other options…wedding blogs written by women who chose not to change their name, who hyphenated, or even women whose husbands changed their names (gasp!).  It was like stumbling into a whole new reality I didn’t know existed.  As I started researching and thinking more, I realized how weird/unfair/sexist it was that I had been so cultured into the idea that I HAD to change my name.  In so many other cultures, it is completely normal NOT to change your name.

Ultimately, I went through a lot of soul-searching of my own and a lot of discussion with Zach on the name change issue.  He (being wonderful) agreed with me that the concept is sexist, paternalistic, and unfair.  He didn’t care if we had the same last name or not.  He just wanted me to feel at peace with my decision and my name, whatever it ended up being.  Also, neither of us wanted to hyphenate; it just seems too cumbersome.  In the end, I decided not to change my name.  Woohoo not having to do all that paperwork!

Avoiding this is a definite perk!
Source: site.k2motor.com

Despite our comfort level with my current decision, we are both remembering that “nothing is set in stone.”  If kids come along, for example (a very big, and very far away “if”), and my feelings change, I can always change my name then, or we can choose to hyphenate.  I can change my name at anytime if I so choose; it’s not a decision that can only be made when I get married.

For now though, we’re happy with the idea that “You don’t have to have the same name to be a family.  You just have to be a family to be a family!”  (Quote stolen from a wedding blog I read but can’t find now, sorry!)

This issue has been much discussed but it is so important!  Did you agonize over the decision?

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To Bling or Not to Bling and the MAN-gagement Ring

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Disclaimer: I totally understand that this is a touchy subject and I am NOT trying to diss anyone with a diamond.  I’m just trying to present my own opinion, which is no more than that–my opinion!

I’ve never been into fancy jewelry or diamonds.  If someone gave me a zillion dollars and told me I HAD to spend it on jewelry, I’d end up with 13 billion macrame bracelets and 16 million pairs of beaded earrings.  So call me a hippie, whatevs.  I also kind of HATE when people post pictures of their engagement rings on Facebook.  I know they probably don’t mean to trivialize their engagement, but to me that’s how it comes across.  Emphasizing the rock takes a momentous life event and turns it into a materialistic brag session.  Anyone else with me on this?  Okay, mini rant over.

“OMG! LOOK AT MY HUMONGOUS RING!”
Credit: http://www.ruccus.com

That being said, back in the day, as the prospect of becoming engaged drew closer, I found myself thinking about rings.  Specifically, did I even want one?  If so, what kind?  Zach also subtly dug for answers to these questions.  That’s right, we talked about rings before we were engaged.  We’re modern.  What I eventually decided was that I liked the symbolism of a wedding band but felt pretty ambivalent about an engagement ring.  In the end I basically gave Zach two little tidbits of information on the ring thing:

1. I didn’t need an engagement ring at all, BUT

2. If he wanted to get me one all I cared about was that it be ethically sourced.

Pretty easy, right?  Isn’t he a lucky guy?  Well, despite my insistence that I didn’t even need a ring, Zach wanted to propose with one.  So he found an awesome, inexpensive, handmade metal ring in a Peruvian crafts market and used it to pop the question!  Yay!

The proposal ring. I hope I don’t seem like a hypocrite by posting this but I thought some might be curious. I did not post this on facebook.

Then, because he is AWESOME, Zach decided that he wanted to wear an engagement ring too!  That’s right, without any prompting from me, he realized that if I was wearing one then he should as well.  I was all for that!  I mean, let’s face it, how unfair is it that a woman is suddenly marked as taken from the proposal onward, but the man is still ringless until the wedding?  My little feminist heart was thumping with pride!  Once we began looking for his ring, we decided we wanted our rings to match, since we might as well just keep using them as wedding bands once we get married.  After awhile, we found some handmade, matching silver bands from a silversmith in Ecuador and snatched them up.  I now wear the proposal ring on my right hand, and the silver band on my left.  We might upgrade our silver bands someday, as they’ll probably get scratched and tarnished, but because we didn’t spend a fortune we won’t feel bad if, eventually, we decide to change them up a bit.  For indecisive people like us, the simple/cheap ring route was totally the way to go!  Also, if you’re looking to save some money, buying from a local craftsman while traveling in a less expensive country is a great option!

Our engagement rings which will probably turn into wedding bands.

Zach has definitely encountered a lot of questions about his MAN-gagement ring.  I know it’s pretty rare.  The only other guy who I can remember to wear an MAN-gagement ring is Cory from Boy Meets World, the best show ever!  (Anyone else remember that episode?).  It’s just so weird to us that many people never question WHY a woman wears an engagement ring and a man doesn’t.  I’m so happy that Zach chose to wear one and that we are presenting a more egalitarian option!

Did anyone else have a two-ring engagement?  Or did you not care and go totally ringless?  What do you think of the incessant facebook ring pictures?