Am I really a Pathetic Chattel or a Victim of Patriarchal Control Just Because I Took My Husband’s Name upon Marriage?
There’s a disturbing debate raging. It sprang up from inside feminist circles. It seeks to undermine marriage and family values by oppressing those whom it purports to free. What is this topic that has been rumbling on for decades? It’s whether or not a woman should take her husband’s surname upon marriage.
I didn’t always want to get married. For years I thought marriage was a means of control. I believed it was a tool of oppression designed to keep ‘the fairer sex’ shackled to the home and children.
Where did these beliefs come from? They certainly didn’t come from my mother who never once complained that she was imprisoned and actually really enjoys being a wife and mother caring for her family and the home they share. Nor did it come from the female school teachers or bus drivers who showed me that it was ‘normal’ for women to work outside of the home.
No, this skewed view of marriage came from the army of militant feminists who rallied to say that it was better to be a woman behaving like a man than it was to be a woman enjoying being a woman.
For the radical feminist, marriage, love, romance, and family are of secondary importance to herself and her wants and needs. I’m not saying that this is bad per se, but I am saying that it’s as twisted a view as the one she wants to quash.
Has radical feminism made women’s lives better? In my view, the answer is no, not at all. Not only do women still work in the home, raising a family and caring for those that she loves but she now also has at least one job (for some women, it’s several jobs). The modern woman is pressed for time, constantly stressed, and often depressed. I see no improvement in her lot.
On top of all the extra work, the modern woman also has the shame and constant feelings of failure for not being able to live up to the feminist ideal of Wonder Woman! This modern woman has mistaken the phrase I can do anything for meaning I can do everything; two distinctly different things!
To the hardened feminist mind, taking your husband’s name upon marriage is tantamount to becoming a slave. I see comments suggesting that just as black slaves were given the name of their ‘owner’ so too are wives. What kind of crazy logic is that??? What kind of message is that to those who fought for the abolishment of slavery? What kind of message is that for our daughters?
I am not a pathetic victim or chattel because I took my husband’s name. I am a woman in love. I am a strong confident and independent woman who believes wholeheartedly in the sanctity of marriage and the words that made us one.
After years of unhappy singledom and failed relationships, I realized that I loved the idea of being married. I refused to settle for an eternity of ‘living together in case we decide to split up’. I reclaimed my right to be a woman and to enjoy the femininity that is the essence of my very being. There is nothing to fight.
“Feminists have long criticized marriage as a place of oppression, danger, and drudgery for women.” (Barbara Findlen, “Is Marriage the Answer? Ms. Magazine, May-June, 1995)
As for marriage being a patriarchal construct is designed to control us and thus to be avoided. I ask ‘how is staying single and screwing around working out for you?’ Not too well by the looks of all the teenage pregnancies, unhappy children, and complaints that ‘all the good men are taken’ not to mention the plethora of dating sites filled to overflowing with the desperate in search of lasting love and happiness… need I say more?
The world is full of things invented/created by men; to say that marriage and sharing the same surname should be avoided because it’s one of them is ludicrous.