Folks have been responding to the piece Fat and the Ivy and I wrote on marriage and name changing, which I’m glad for- the point was to generate dialogue and have people engage.
I know that for most people, the decision to change your name upon marriage is complicated, and it should be, especially if you identify with feminist politics. At the heart of what this is all about is women not being seen as property, about having control over one’s own destiny and not giving in to the inevitabilities dictated by cultural narratives.
It’s been pointed out to me that in many situations, the surname you have is probably that of your father, which is of course a mark of ownership, so it’s either the name of your father or it’s the name of your husband. Patriarchy is inescapable, it would seem. Seeing it that way is the problem, that’s what paralyzes us and makes us unable/unwilling to look beyond what seems to be obvious.
You can act to uproot the system, by confronting and questioning what a family is and can look like (two opposite gender biological parents? people who all have the same last name?). It might be scary to think about, but I believe, really believe, that if we want things to change, we have to be willing to come up with creative solutions and live a new paradigm.