Laura Lovejoy is more than just a name, it’s who I am. I would never expect anyone else to give up something as important as their name for me, so why am I expected to do the same?
Before writing this post I did a quick bit of research to see how it came about that women take a man’s last name when they get married and I would strongly recommend doing so yourself (once you’ve finished reading this post of course).
To paraphrase an awful lot of history, it came about a lot earlier than you think and dates back even further than the 16th Century. It was designed to make man and women appear as one person and we all know that ‘one person’ was the male. Fast forward quite a few years and women actually went to go to court to fight to keep their maiden names once they were married. Some women in America were even denied their right to vote because they kept their last name.
With women’s rights and gender equality still at the forefront of the news agenda, it baffles me how women just willingly give up their last name without understanding the history and story behind the ‘tradition’. Especially when a lot of the same women feel so passionately about women’s rights and the way we have been treated in history.
I have always had a problem with traditions as most people just follow them because they exist, not because they even know where they originated from. I’m not saying I have a problem with women changing their last name but I feel that more discussion should happen as to why it is a tradition, the lengths women had to go to keep their birth name and to stop the pressure of women feeling like they are being offensive if they don’t take their partners name.
My boyfriend says that we won’t get married unless I take his last name, this could very well be a windup as he can keep jokes going for a very long time but I have suggested that I would take a double-barrel name as I feel that is a good compromise but if that’s not good enough for him then I won’t be getting married and I am cool with that.
For so many years women have given up nearly every aspect of themselves to cater for a man and I know that names mean different things to different people but to me, my name is my identity and I am not willing to give that up for anybody.