Of course I'm a feminist. Not that that needs explaining, but I absolutely believe in equal treatment and opportunities for both sexes.
But being a feminist doesn't mean I burn bras every Tuesday night. I still adhere to a number of not-so-feminist-friendly traditions. For example, I hate taking the trash out. That's a "man's" job. I take the trash out when I must, but if I can ask Jersey Mike to do it , well that's just 10 times better. Typically, for me, a man's job is any job I don't want to do.
Maybe that's not quite a tradition (more me leaning on societal norms to feed my laziness). But there's one tradition that, growing up, I always thought I'd be fine:
Taking my husband's last name.
My mother kept her maiden name when she married my father. She was born a Shute and felt that shouldn't have to change just because she found a cool guy to spend her life with. Growing up it wasn't confusing for me until it threw many of my teachers for a loop.
"What's your mom's last name?"
"But isn't your last name Stevenson?"
"And your dad's last name is Stevenson?"
"Are they divorced?"
"Do they still live together?"
"Then why does your mom have a different last name?"
As a kid I had a mini identity crisis each time this came up. Why was Mama's name different? Why didn't she take Daddy's name like a NORMAL wife? Were they even married? Was I even real?! Of course when I asked Mama about it I got:
"Tell them to mind their own business."
I grew to understand why she kept her name, and as an adult I really admired her. She was fine with accidental label of Mrs. Stevenson when it happened, but urged all of my friends to call her Ms. Shute. She used Mrs. Stevenson for mail-order stuff (the equivalent of junk emails today) and whenever she wanted to be sneaky and keep her legal name out of things.
Because of my confusion as a child, I always thought I'd go ahead and change my name. That way, my kids would never wonder if they were real. As my relationship with Jersey Mike matured, It occurred to me that there will be so many other issues our kids will have to deal with. Eliminating this one is the least I can do, right?
Well, no. My last name is my last name. It's been my last name my entire life. Plus, it's 2016, not the medieval era. I'm not inheriting Jersey Mike's family kingdom and the duties within. I'm also not his property (and I already have one slave name. OK, I won't go there). There's no reason to change my name in this day and age. I'm a writer with Doriean Stevenson bylines sprinkled all over the internet. What would a hard switch to Doriean O'Heney even mean for me, professionally? Plus, there's paperwork -- so much paperwork -- to file to change a name. I'd have to order a new passport before I even use my first one. Though changing my name would make monograms way easier, the cons outweigh the pros for me.
Chances are, our kids will be a helluva lot smarter than I was as a child (they're getting the benefit of both of our brains, after all. #Science). So I'm certain it won't take them long to understand why their mother has a different last name. I won't balk if someone calls me Mrs. O'Heney. And, hey, maybe I can use it when I do sneaky stuff like score the first-time offer from Freshly twice.
Many feminists do opt to change their name, and that's 100% A-OK. But for me, it's a no. I'll hold tight to other traditions that suit my lifestyle. Like wearing a wedding dress and asking Jersey Mike to kill all the spiders.