Divine Calm: Tough Call

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Tough Call

As a singleton, I have not had to make the decision as to whether I should keep my last name when I marry. However, I have frequently thought about this issue ever since I started working for a woman who had a two-part last name. Just like my views on feminism in general, I have mixed thoughts on the issue. My sister and I are the last of our particular lineage, so I am loathsome to lose an identity that represents my background. On the other hand, when I have spoken to my guy friends and past boyfriends (including my current boyfriend), they have become squeamish while discussing why a woman wouldn't want to carry their husband's name. Perhaps I am stereotyping, but it seems as if the wife keeping her original surname is an insult to their manhood. What do you think?

Today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer also discussed this issue and how it fits into the context of feminism:

"The whole feminist movement has evolved -- it's about giving women choice," Merk said. Where she once saw women's issues as black and white --especially after reading feminist icon Gloria Steinem's biography in college

Merk said she now believes there are definitely areas of gray.

"There are ways of tying together feminism and tradition -- I mean,
look at Gloria herself," Merk said.

Steinem, who publicly derided marriage as an institution that turns a woman into a "nonperson," walked down the aisle herself in 2000.

"I hope this proves what feminists have always said," Steinem told The Times in London shortly after her wedding. "Feminism is about the ability to choose what's right at each time of our lives."

So how to decide which name is right?

Some advice from those who've been there:

Sort through all the options and take plenty of time to think about each. Don't give into pressure from other people. And above all, relax. "There's no one right answer," Chamberlain said. "The only wrong decision is one that you make for other people."