drops of thoughts...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

it doesn't have to be that way just because it's the way it is: Promise me you'll at least think about hyphenation ((very raw and unrefined))

Disclaimer: The following is not intended to criticize, tear down or offend. Nor is it the intent to push, persuade or sway the reader's thoughts to mimic mine own, the writer. The point or convicted motivation of the following is:
1) to inform the reader of writer's opinion (as with any legitimate blog) in a safe -cyber haven.
2) to bring some valuable information that the reader may not have thought over and now maybe can not live without.
3) to, with any luck, point out major flaws with society when it comes to gender, double standards and the conflict laden relationship between the two.
If in the course of reading the below essay you become wildly, either positively or negatively, affected, please do two things: 1) attribute my raw ideals to one Dr. Mary Ruthi, one Karl Marx and one Petit Prince. 2) quit reading if it makes you disgusted with me, but please, to both audiences, at least promise me you'll think about hyphenation.

Many people I know are getting married, including me. This is a joyous occasion, by all means. It's a delight to be excited about the start of a new life, joined in holy matrimony, with the person one has decided to spend the rest of this mortal life. Marriage is an amazing, beautiful and challenging part of life that could, or is supposed to, help the two draw closer to Jesus by being in unison during life helping and loving and chanting. (Maybe not chanting, but still the same...) Here's how it starts.

Since the average age of marriage for a woman is 24ish and for a man 25-6ish, it all starts nearly a fourth of a century ago when the two were brought forth, in two different families, raised and cared for, loved and nurtured with varying familial and parenting styles. Let's take a closer, but short view of the man (then boy).

Boys are, whether one believes it or not, generally raised almost completely differently than girls. Boys are rough housed, given nick names like "little slugger", "buddy".. et cetera. Given blue to wear and base ball mitts, hot wheels and basketballs as gifts.

Girls are talked gently with, given nick names like "princess", "daddy's little girl".. et cetera. Given pink to wear and feather boas, make up kits and dress up high heels as gifts.

This is a stark difference. Right? Right. Automatically, from birth, setting up a difference.

Something else I want to bring up, another separation between genders. When a boy does not do as well, let's say, in baseball. Boy can not throw it from first to short stop, what do other little boys, typically, say? Go ahead, reader, say it out loud. "You throw like a girl!" Right? Right.

Making the female gender just a little less. At this point, reader thinks writer is off the wall. I know it. I am guilty of gender barriers, I am. So there, but what does that have to do with marriage?

Boys don't think much of marriage growing up.
(Most) Girls do. Actually, some girls fantasize about their "big" day and act it out with the Barbies and Kens they get as gifts. Approaching Jr. High, some girls go as far as doodling their first name proceeded by a "Mrs." and followed by their latest crush's last name. For example, "Mrs. Ashley Stevens". Because it's a fact, boys marry girls and girls take boy's last names. Period.

Here's what infuriates me.
23 years ago I was born and given a name. A beautiful name, might I add. That's my name. I learned how to spell it, fell in love with the way it bounces of my tongue. It is a gift from both of my parents. It, if I can be so bold to say, is part of my identity. Maybe I don't want to go blindly, with my tail tucked between my legs sacrificing my very name, that means much ( a whole family history), in the name of tradition.

I understand that a name, a last name at that, does not make a person. I know that my mother and probably your mother and her mother and her mother's mother all took my father's probably your father's and her father's and her father's father's last name, and history isn't lost because of a change of name. I know that, this isn't the point. The point is the "tradition" part.

Traditionally, marriage is male being in charge, male making money, male making decisions, female pleasing male.. et cetera et cetera. I can feel tension rising in you, reader. It never should have been like that in the past, so why is it still, kind of, like that? Reader, you can fight that if you wish, but still, sit back and think about it. Isn't just assuming that the female is going to walk down the aisle a Smith, let's say, and come back down a Jones a little too masculine for marriage's sake? I believe it goes back to child hood when maybe the female gender, unconsciously, but still very real, was thought of as the lesser gender.

"Why would the woman bring her name in the marriage? Women take men's names." Why? That's all I'm asking? A woman grows up with her name like a man grows up with his. Her name is no less sentimental, is not lacking the essence of a last name, is not any less of a last name. Right?

"Well, it's a marriage, two become one, a compromise... " I know this. This is the very thing my little fingers are typing furiously about. It's a compromise, one man, one woman (or any combination of the two) starting ONE life together. TOGETHER, being very operative at this point. Not, a man marrying a woman and the woman becoming part of his identity. Why can't they become part of each other's identity name-wise since they are publicly doing so with this sacred ceremony? It's a two become one thing, that doesn't mean ONE last name thing. Does it?

To some of you, "yes" and that's okay. It's just not for me. I am just as much as a person going into this as he is. And he knows that. I'm not sure I'd be incredibly excited about venturing in this thing called marriage if the man was not just as open about taking my last name as I would be about taking his. Why not think about hyphenation? For both parties in the marriage?

I know common answers to this question. 1) Kid's sake. A child brought into the marriage would have two last names. My rebuttal to this is, So? Would (s)he have any less love? 2) Too long, too much effort in writing out one's name. Again, my rebuttal, many things in life take effort, what's adding an extra 2 seconds to one's signature? On and on and on and on.

I am not trying to change any one's mind (see disclaimer), but just bring up my own opinion and thoughts on the situation. I am not, in the least, putting down my engaged friends who are not going to hyphenate either names... that is super okay with me...

but have you at least thought about it?


At 10:15 PM, Blogger Mike said...

very interesting. but, then somewhere down the line say in five or six generations you would end up with a 10-12 name last name. what do you propose to solve that?
mike fitz-johnson-powell-davis-allen-smith-i cant think of anymore last names.

At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hypenated my name for the simple fact that I did not want to lose my identity that my parents gave me at birth. I have a career and have been known by that name for 30 years. It really irritates me that a female is expected to change her name when she gets married. We live in the 21st century!!!! Times have changed. On the other hand I can see the hypenating thing getting out of control. Therefore, when I have a child they will take on the father's name and if it is a girl she can keep the name or change it when she decideds to get married. That way hypenating does not get out of control.



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