In case there was any doubt, your pal Freckles has some pretty strong feminist inclinations. Sure, I dabble in the tools of the patriarchy (makeup, occasional salon visits, and typically feminine clothing), but generally speaking, I make a conscious effort to do things because they are right for me and not because rigid gender norms deem them proper. One way I challenged the norm (at least around here and in my family) was by retaining my name after marriage. In many circles, this is a given, but in the South, this is just not done. I make no judgment on my fellow women who chose to do otherwise, but I felt that my name was mine (well, my dad’s, but my dad is cool) and that changing it would be akin to losing my identity. Some may disagree, and that’s fine.
I got not a small amount of grief for this decision, and none of it came from the suspected sources (in-laws, family, friends). No, all of it came from complete strangers or people with whom I only had minimal contact. As if it were their business, naturally. After the wedding, a couple of older family members were confused and sent mail to Mrs. Freckles Spousename, but when I then responded in kind with Ms. Freckles Myowndamnname, they took the hint.
Anyways, that’s neither here nor there. Surely there are more important issues with which to contend. However, you can only imagine my reaction to this exchange:
Facebook friend’s status update (not verbatim): I’m so excited that over the next few weeks I’m getting married and will have a new niece/nephew!
(I should note that said FB friend is a pretty outspoken feminist herself who does wonderful work on behalf of women in abusive situations.)
One of her FB friends responded, “Are you going to change your name?”