Originally Posted by ThisCat
Not all traditions are pernicious, and I would think someone who chose marriage might realize that some traditions have value and meaning and can change over time. And honestly, I think it's bit inconsistent to put it nicely for someone who chose marriage to come down on tradition so harshly.
Anyway, I'm not sure what your goal was of throwing out such an inflammatory statement equating name changing to slavery or wife beating. The PP you quoted was not making the "argument" than anyone blindly follow tradition and damn the consequences.
I get that you feel your name is tied to your identity and respect your decision to not change it, but to imply than anyone might "disappear" when she changes her name is absurd. I added my husbands last name to mine shortly after getting married, and I can assure I didn't disappear legally or otherwise. It might have been nice though in some ways. I could have gotten rid of thousands of dollars of student loans. Funny thing is though that the bank still knew it was me. Luckily my friends and family did too, and I still recognized my reflection in the mirror. I am still here. I am not my name. If you hadn't made the comparison to wife beating, I might not have felt the need to point that out to you. But I just wanted to let you know that even though I changed my name, I actually still exist in the eyes of the law and everyone else and that my husband can't beat me now with a stick or otherwise. I can still vote too. My, how times have changed.
Never said all traditions were pernicious, hence my willingness (for a variety of reasons) to get married (although by a justice of the peace--already a violation of tradition!). My point about tradition is that it is often used in the argument for changing one's name as if
that is the only reason to change one's last name. I absolutely respect people's right to follow traditions, but I am bothered when folks do so simply because it is "easy" or "expected" or "what has always been done." Following tradition because it is "simpler" (something that *was* suggested in a previous post) just doesn't seem, to me, to be a sufficient reason for doing something that's traditional.
I'm sorry if you found my point about slavery, rules on wifely treatment, or suffrage offensive; it was not meant to be. As I noted earlier, my point is about the form
of certain traditions--things were done a certain way for a long time simply because it was traditional. Changing tradition meant upsetting the "normal" way things were done, and so the argument that something was "traditional" was used to support behavior and ideals that today we'd find abhorrent.
A previous poster mentioned the issue of coverture--this is where the tradition of a woman changing her name from her father's last name to her husband's comes from. When a woman married, she became legally "covered" by her husband (a nice nifty way in many societies to prevent women from voting, holding property, entering into legal contracts, etc.). While yes, of course, you do exist and haven't *literally* disappeared (which is not something I suggested, hence the modifier "legally"), but when a person changes her (or his) name, and therefore changes all of their formal documentation, they have, to my knowledge legally
"disappeared" as their previous selves. (Hence the need to change one's name on the SS card, driver's license, credit cards, student loans, etc.)
I'm not quite sure why the sarcasm in your post, or the hostility; I apologize if you think I'm attacking people's choices for doing with their last name what they will. I'm honestly not. The issue of last names is something I'm passionate about, and I really value the hard work and care of folks like the OP who are working through how to negotiate the messy waters of last names without cavalierly relying on the tradition argument.
Change your last name, don't change your last name, go with one name like Madonna--in the end, I don't really care. But at least have a logical, well-reasoned position on why
you've chosen the last name you have. That, in the end, is really all I wish for, when the issue of last names comes up.