Yesterday I overheard a conversation between two women that made me think!
Woman 1: Is that really your Surname? It’s so cool!
Woman 2: Yes it is. I love my Surname very much!
Woman 1: Please never change it!
Woman 2 (in an upset tone): But I will have to because my boyfriend said he will only marry me if I take his Surname.
Woman 1: So keep yours and take his too.
Woman 2 (again in an upset tone): No, that’s not an option for him. He wants me to take his Surname only otherwise he won’t marry me.
Isn’t funny (which actually it isn’t but I will use this word until a find a more appropriate one) how women have gone so far to “own” their place in society and be seem as equal and things like this still happen?
For the past few years we have been bombarded with news about woman empowerment and how we are almost there in gender equality (we are not really but hey, we have made amazing progress so far). Women can do whatever they want, when they want and no one has nothing to do with that! Beyonce will tell you that better than me!
But seriously though, this conversation made me think on how some women still get attached to such silly things as taking the future husband’s Surname! It really shocks me to know that some women are so desperate to marry and create a family that they will do anything and marry anyone in order to fulfill this dream. Of course I am not speaking directly about Woman 2 as I don’t know her relationship with her boyfriend but from this short conversation it’s safe to say that I have a good idea of how it is and honey, it doesn’t sound great!
It’s 2017 people. 2017! Society has made so many adjustments in this department because taking someone’s Surname is an option and not an obligation. Today a woman can keep her Surname, take her husband’s, keep both, add more to her name, the husband can take the woman’s Surname… You can do whatever you want because it’s just a stupid Surname! It’s not a new identity, it’s not a super-hero cape, it’s not an irreversible decision, it is just a name!
I honestly don’t know the history behind this ancient policy about a woman taking her husband’s Surname when marrying but to me, sounds like this was a way of owning the woman since we all know that women for so many years were seen as objects of possession and were not entitled of any civil rights. Some people can also see this as a gesture of love and yes, I get that too. I am all about compromising and I do find endearing to take on your husband’s Surname but hell to the no in giving up your own! And I would NEVER marry a man who would threat not to marry me if I don’t take his Surname and his Surname only like Woman 2 says. Have some respect and love for yourself for the love of God!
To be honest, this thing about erasing your family name from your name when you get married is not something I am familiar with. In Brazil, we are all registered with the mother’s and the father’s Surnames. So the “policy” is when a woman marry she says bye-bye to the mother’s family name, keeps the father’s and takes her husband’s. Yes, it is still sexist but at least you do keep your family name too. So for example, in this rule, once I marry I would no longer be Franca Fiorini but I would be Fiorini X (enter future husband’s Surname).
But the point is, I can be Franca Fiorini and future husband’s Surname or I can be Franca Fiorini! I don’t need to, I don’t have to and I don’t must to take anyone’s Surname if I don’t want to. In the end of the day it is the woman’s name and she is the one who needs to make the decision. Besides, did you know that is a pain in the ass to change all your documents to your new married name? If you separate and divorce? Well, good luck with more pain in the ass process to reverse the name back! And if you don’t have the strength to do so then live the rest of your life with someone else’s surname.
It is incredible how still up to this date, marriage seems still to be that one thing that every woman is obligated to aspire in life! We women have walked such a long walk to be where we are and still things like this get in the way and some women just can’t let it go! I watch a lot of trash TV (TLC I love you!) and one of these days I watched for the first time (cross my heart) a show called “Baby changes everything”. It’s a very stupid show that follows the life of 5 couples that recently had a baby and as the title says, how their lives changed.
I was up to the roof shocked with this one particular couple. So they were together for maybe 2 years and they have a daughter together and the relationship wasn’t great. They were pretty much in war zone for the last year but the woman wanted to get married no matter what! After all, they have a daughter together and they were together for 2 years so they had to get married. There was no other option in her head. Even though there was pretty much no relationship left to save! So she was torturing the man about getting married and she gave him an ultimatum! He kept saying that he didn’t want to rush anything and that he didn’t think they were in a good place in their relationship so he couldn’t even think about marriage (hello good sense!). Anyway, she goes to a bridal shop with a friend who was getting married and she tries on wedding dresses because the friend convinced her that she should be the one proposing to him and “since we are here try on some dresses so you can visualize things better” (I am having a heart attack!) And so she did! Oh, it was hard to watch! She made a proposal in a restaurant and had a speech and all… The guy was in disbelief and made her stop, said no and she left feeling humiliated.
Do you get my point now? So many women stay in bad relationships because they don’t want to be alone… not judging anyone because I am sure most of us have been there at least once in our lives. And I hope it has been only once because one bad relationship is enough to learn! So many woman follow the “bad with him, worse without him” theory because the bad relationship become poison and as sad as it sounds, it turns to be all you know and you get used to that. The fear of being alone and not finding love again is so terrifying that we rather stay with this one so we have a life to share with someone… after all he is not that bad. No ladies! No!
Yes, we are almost there in gender equality but we still have a long way to go! There’s absolutely nothing wrong in wanting someone to share your life with and I am a strong believer that life is better when you have someone to share with but that doesn’t necessarily means marriage. Sharing your life with someone is beyond a paper and a ceremony. Love is love and that’s it!
Women, love yourselves, respect yourselves, listen to yourselves and have a voice! Mama Ru have been saying this for a long time and it is so true: If you can’t love yourself how in the hell you’re gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen in here? Amen!