Tuesday 30 June 2009

The big hype over retaining the maiden name or taking the husband's name after marriage

Well, as always this entry is prompted by a newspaper article that I came across a few days ago. The article was about a prominent woman who married the second time and took her husband's name. The woman in concern is often seen as a power wielding one in the male boardroom. She posseses a steel spirit and a never yielding attitude which makes her male counterparts shudder. Hmmm. So much as way of introduction. What made the piece interesting was the debate it stirred. The matter of argument: Why a woman who wielded such power should take on her husband's name and not retain her maiden name. When so many things happen across the world to different communities, I wonder why this paper had specifically chosen this item to fill a quarter of space. Does it really matter whether one chooses to retain their maiden name or take another name? Well, it is the person's own discretion. If the woman had been known by her own name and the very sounding of her name oozed power, then its not the name alone but the image of her personality that comes to mind along with her name. On a lighter vein, maybe the woman in concern was bored by the same sound of the surname and thus changed it to that of her new husband's.

While doing Feminist Studies in College, as students, we found it very appealing when we came across the debate of retaining our maiden names after marriage. We were convinced and swore that we will never let go of our identity after marriage. We even discussed these fiery ideas with our then boyfriends who found it rather amusing that things as these were part of the syllabus. So far so good. Now as a mature adult I wonder about all these things. I think whether one's identity is restricted to the name alone. Maybe feminists will tell me that why allow the man to take over your name. Valid point but then to prove our self worth and value, should we retain our maiden names alone. I think its the grit, strength and the ability to handle things sensibly that will prove our self worth. Maybe the name has a lot to it. I agree but then gauging a woman by her surname is a bit too much. I have seen many women who have taken their husband's name and yet have etched their name in the milestones of everyday life. I have also seen women who after divorce have retained their husband's name for various reasons.

Maybe names matter but then a newspaper devoting space for that kind of debate is absolutely atrocious.

Shakespeare says it all through Juliet in ROMEO AND JULIET:

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

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