When I told Z I didn’t want to change my name, he said something along the lines of “Yeah, screw that, I’m not changing mine either.”
And that was that.
We briefly discussed an alternative last name, and that name was Vice. Cassie & Z Vice. Has a nice ring to it, eh?
Still, it seemed like a hassle. I hate the DMV. YOU CAN’T MAKE ME GO BACK THERE!
And the more I thought about it, the more I disliked the tradition of “taking his name.” Women are given the names of their fathers, and then take the names of their husbands. Isn’t that sort of a symbol of oppression? Do I have to burn my bra if I think that?
Growing up, my dad insisted “You can do anything a boy can do,” over and over until it became ingrained in my psyche. He has never let gender dictate capabilities.
Finding a husband (or wife) was never touted as a goal. Being pretty and nice was fine, but the emphasis was on being self-sufficient and independent, solidified in our identities, intuitive, and smart.
This might explain why, as Z and I plan our wedding, a lot of traditions are giving me pause.
Asking for permission. The ring. The registry. The white dress. “Giving away” of the bride. Misogynistic vows. The veil. Changing my name.
When we view each other as equals, do any of these things make sense? How can we demonstrate equal partnership without making our wedding into a political statement?
The answer, I think, is that we can’t. We’ve already had people roll their eyes at the fact that we both wear engagement rings, and I guarantee you I’m going to be called “Mrs. Z’s-Last-Name” more times than I can count. Relatives will still insist that my biological clock is ticking, (because that’s what women are for, right?) and some dumbass is going to refer to me as Z’s “ball and chain,” like marriage is a prison sentence.
And while it saddens me that people still behave like this, I feel grateful to live in a time where we can choose an “alternative,” wedding and marriage. We’re allowed to cherry-pick what traditions we want to follow, both on our big day and in our lives. We’re allowed to go forth as equals, and for that I feel blessed to have been born when I was.
I guess that’s the point. We have a say, and a lot of women (and men) before us fought for that.
To clarify, I am still shaving my armpits. I’ll be wearing heels under my dress. Also, I asked my dad to walk me down the aisle.
I’m not changing my name because it doesn’t feel right, even though I’m one of the only people I know choosing not to do so. I would rather be the only person on my side than do something that I don’t feel good about.
And while I respect your decision to change your name, I hope we all feel empowered to make choices because we want to, because it feels right, not because we feel obligated. You don’t have to justify your choice to anyone, and I hope the same goes for me.