I have been thinking a lot recently about why so many people are so opposed to the thought or idea or ideals of feminism. For the life of me I cannot figure out what it is because if you think about it, feminist have some of the most sound logic I've ever heard.
For example, I have been talking a lot about the issue of sir names (detailed in my previous post). I have been talking about it with more and more people and I just keep asking them why. Why would you take your husband's name or why would you expect your wife to take your name. The answers I keep getting are the same, "I don't know, that's just how it is" or "if she loves me she'll take my name" or "because we are supposed to be one" or "it makes me feel more connected".
What I dont understand is why people are not questioning the status quo. Why dont they ever ask themselves, or anyone else, why is it this way? When did it begin? Why did it begin?
I think my logic is pretty sound and not at all some crazy, radical, feminist reasoning. In fact I had already decided long before I identified as feminist, that I was going to keep my name. Im pretty sure I was about 10 or 11 when I decided. And you know what? My logic then was the same then, as it is now. Why would I do something for someone else, that they aren't willing to do for me? I mean think about it this way, if society, and everyone else expected you to cut off your arm when you got married, would you say sure I'll do that because its tradition! Ummm I don't think you would. and if you said yes, your lying. No one is going to cut off their arm just because they decide to get married or because some people say that's what you do when you get married and that's just the way it is. I'm pretty sure that if arm amputation was the norm people would definitely question it and refuse to do it, especially if the other person in the relationship wasn't required to do the same.
Now im not saying taking another's name is equivelent to cutting off your arm, but in a symbolic way it kind of is. You are taking away a part of you, eliminating your name that has been a part of your identity for your whole life until this point, and for what? For someone who would never do the same and doesnt even recognize or acknowledge the sacrifice that you have made for the rest of your life, for them. Tell me how that is sweet and romantic and full of love.
What is romantic to me is respect for my beliefs, respect for me being my own strong, independent person, and consideration of my views on societal norms in building our life together.
And what probably puts me off the most about the whole thing is that its just expected of you as a heterosexual woman. There's no discussion started by the male to see if that's what you want or if you want to keep your name or hyphenate or if you want him to take your name. No kind of autonomous, egalitarian discussion whatsoever. Its just "Ok your going to take my name because you love me and if we have kids I want them to have my name to keep my name going" or whatever the "reasoning" is. And the heavens forbid that you say "No I want to keep my name". Then its like freak out/meltdown central! What do you mean you don't want to take my name?!?! Don't you love me? don't you want to be a part of me? What about the kids we're going to have? How will people know your married to me? Now I don't know about you, but to me that sounds like hysteria on the male part. (and men say that women are emotional and irrational!)
Now let me address those questions with my calm rationale:
Q: What do you mean you don't want to take my name?!?!
A: I mean my name will remain the same when we are married as is it is right now.
Q: Don't you love me?
A: Yes I love you, otherwise I would not marry you.
Q: Don't you want to be a part of me?
A: No I do not want to be a part of you because I am my own person. I do want to share my life with you though. (keyword SHARE) And I want to be a part of your life and I want you to be a part of my life.
Q: What about the kids were going to have?
A1: We are not going to have kids, so that's not an issue for us.
A2: We can hyphenate both of our last names so the kids will have both of our names.
Q: How will people know your married to me?
A: If they don't already know us, I will tell them.
All of my responses sound quite logical to me.
My whole point here is that just because society or tradition tells you to do something, doesn't mean you have to or even should do it. You need to decide for yourself what you want, what you are willing to compromise, what your not willing to compromise, and why you choose to do something. All I'm saying is that you need to stay true to yourself and decide based off of you and what YOU feel is right for you. because the bottom line is that its you who is changing for someone else so it should be your choice alone. You don't need to compromise what you want to please others. If you want to change your name, that's great, just make sure the reasons are because you want to for personal reasons, not because it would be easier when you have kids or because his family/your family expects you to. If you don't want to change your name then don't, if he cant get over it, then he obviously doesn't deserve to call himself your husband in the first place.
Now tell me how all that logic is some radical, hippie, feminist brainwashing.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Alright, so I've been thinking about it and discussing it with various people. The topic of sir names. I am very set in keeping my name, if I ever marry, which a whole different topic. lol So, I'm a pretty loud person so I make it known that I wouldn't dream of giving up my name for someone else's that I have no connection to except for that person (which isn't guaranteed to last forever). My reasoning is, why should I give up my name and take someone else's if they aren't willing to do the same? Why should womyn have to give up their names just because they get married?? Perhaps it was because womyn were still technically considered property until 1971. Either way I don't think its fair and I'm not going to participate in it. Ok, so I can understand if a guy wouldnt want to take my name instead because I wouldnt want to take someone else's either. However, guys have completely different reasoning for it such as "well thats not how it should be" or because "thats the way I was raised" (where the womyn takes the mans name and thats "just how it is"), which is bullshit in and of itself. Dont expect me to blindly follow "tradition" especially if your not willing to do the same. So then people ask me, "well what about hyphenating your name with his?" My response to that is quite similar to the previous one. Why would I take someone else's name and hyphenate it with mine if they aren't willing to do the same? If they love me so much and want to spend the rest of their life with me, and are expecting me to take their name because I love them or whatever their crazy reasoning, why shouldn't they have to do the same, or at least be willing to. I know that I'm kind of repeating myself here but it baffles me that other womyn don't ask these questions and why they, and we, don't question tradition, why is it tradition, and how did it become tradition. In my experience, and from what I've learned, tradition is oppressive of womyn. why would I want to continue my own oppression, or support past oppression and lose my individual identity in the process?!?! That doesn't make much sense to me.
So then people ask me, "well what happens if you have kids?" well first that wouldn't really be an issue for me because I don't want kids and I don't plan on having kids. However, hypothetically if I did have kids, well it probably wouldn't be with someone who didn't agree with me on the above topic. so lets create a scenario, I'm married to someone and they've kept their name and i have kept mine. Ok fine, so we hyphenate the kids last name.
Then my friend points out that even my last name isn't really mine because it is my father's. She brings a good point and something we also don't think about often or ever. so then to be concurrent with my previous logic i would have to create a sir name that is uniquely mine, not attached to man. Or another alternative would be to combine mine and my fiance's last names to make one name belonging to both of us. However that would still leave me attached to a man, however it would be mine also, so not necessarily attached but a part of. But think of the mess if we were to divorce! What a nightmare that would be!
So by my logic and as a feminist does that leave me no choice but to create my own sir name? But then what about my family, then I would just become isolated not being a part of it and becoming an individual. I feel like that would be a quite lonely endeavor.
Verdict: I'm probably going to keep my last name, even though it is my father's. and do you think I'm going to take the Mrs. title? Hell no! I plan to get a Doctorate and it will be used there... so we can be Dr. Richelle ... and Mr. whoever I marry (maybe) or whatever he wants his title to be. Or better yet, just call me Richelle. So our title can just be Richelle and (whatever his name is).
Although I did just think of something, what if he (by some miracle) decided he would take my name? How would people, other than those who already know us, know it was my name and not his?? They would assume it was his and I took his name...we cant have that now.
So I read a great article for my women of color in the us class. The authoress said that her nickname was Medusa and then she proceeded to go into the mythology of Medusa and what she symbolizes and represents now and in mythology. What I am posting is my response to a fellow classmate's thoughts on that section of the article.
I absolutely loved the section about Medusa because, one i love mythology, and two because people usually don't think to put the two together. But I think that is one of the beauties of Feminism. That feminists can be all these different, sometimes opposite or conflicting things, at once and how amazing that is. I think Medusa is the perfect symbol of Feminists and Womynists because as the article says "shes volatile yet feminine" that, in and of itself, says so much because most people think that if you are a feminist or womynist you are just an ugly, angry, lesbian, who doesn't wear make up or shave and who hates men. But Feminists and womynists are like Medusa in that they are, or can be, everything all at once, even things that may seem to contradict themselves. It shows that we can take gendered attributes like strength (masculine) and beauty (feminine) and see them in ourselves and others as feminists and womynists because we are strong and independent and powerful yet beautiful, kind, and caring. Its like all the things that have negative or scary connotations that describe Medusa, are they really bad or is it just bad to those who find these attributes threatening to their power?? Are all the positively connotative attributes positive because of the negatively connotative ones? What I mean by that is, for example, in the article it says "She is both beautiful and terrifying...Astonishing and petrifying." Is she beautiful and astonishing because she is terrifying and petrifying? I would argue that she is because anyone who has all these strong qualities who does what she wants, who, as the article quotes, "you can cut off her head yet neither her nor her voice will be silenced." To those who are trying to silence her she could be seen as all the negatively connotative attributes such as terrifying or petrifying. but to those who want her voice to be heard and who want to follow in her footsteps, so to speak, she could be seen as beautiful and astonishing because of her dedication and perseverance and strength.
You may notice that in the above words there is a term Womynist. This is not a typo or misspell. It is purposeful by the authoress and now, myself. In class we talked about the prefixes, or titles of women. There is Miss, Ms., and Mrs. We may think nothing of them because we are used to them. In fact, most women are excited when they turn from a miss to mrs because it now means they are married, and is the us currently, to a man. But the prefix or title of Mr. does not hold any other meaning than man. Miss is a younger, unmarried woman, Ms. is an older unmarried woman or perhaps an older woman who is divorced. Mrs. is an adult woman who is married. All of these titles revolve around a man, either you have one or you don't, your old or your young. Mr is just a man, young or old, married or single. Why so women have to be titled by their relationship to men? Why can't we stand independent like men do?
Similarly, the word woman is tied directly to men: woMEN. same thing with male and female: feMALE. Again, i ask, why must we be linked to men. Why can't we stand alone unconnected to men??
Which brings me to my point of bringing that to attention. Those who consider themselves womynists use that spelling for a reason, to disconnect from men, to be separate and independent from men and from here on out I will use that spelling for the same reason and purpose.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Being a hetero woman feminist and the dating world can be a confusing and conflicting thing. For example, today I was asked out by a classmate of mine. He seems like a nice enough guy but I am not attracted to him. Ironically enough he is in my Feminist Theory class. So today he asks me if i have plans for this evening (and thank god i do) so I told him my plans and he replied by saying "oh well i was going to invite you to a comedy show and some drinks" or something to that effect. I think he was going to do some stand up or something. So i politely said "oh I'm sorry" and he was very nice about it. So as I was walking away what instantly came to my mind was "oh shit what am I going to do if he asks me again?" So my question would be pretty much just that... as a feminist what do you do in that situation?? I want to be nice but I feel like no matter what I would say I would still feel like I'm being a bitch. So to avoid the whole thing in general do I just run out of class before he does so theres no chance for him to ask me?? Or do I just woman up (yes WOMAN up) and just deal with it?? these are the questions that fill my mind!
Any comments or suggestions are always greatly appreciate it! :)
Any comments or suggestions are always greatly appreciate it! :)
This blog will attempt to bring to light questions that women, feminists, or people in general have about social situations or personal conflicts. Any questions or things anyone would like to be brought up or discussed please feel free to ask. Any feedback or answers to my questions are welcomed. :)