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Feminism and tradition - can you do both?

(22 Posts)
nappyaddict Mon 13-Jun-11 16:15:26

DP and I want to get married at some point in the future.

DS has my surname. DP wants us all to change to his surname. DS is the last person in our family with the surname so I don't want to change his and I don't want to have a different name to him either. DP thinks because it is a common surname I'm being silly about not wanting to change DS' name just because he's the last one in the family with it.

I also don't see why the woman has to lose her surname and take up the man's.

I said I was willing to compromise and perhaps double barrell my surname and DP and DS can keep the ones they have now.

DP doesn't like double barrelled surnames. He's into tradition massively and doesn't think you should just invent a new surname.

However I've heard from a few people interested in family history that the joining together of 2 surnames is not that new, it is the insertion of a hyphen between them that is a more modern idea.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 13-Jun-11 16:18:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nappyaddict Mon 13-Jun-11 16:27:02

Oooh there's a feminist section - you learn something new every day smile

I don't see it is inventing a completely new surname, just joining 2 names together for the time being. It doesn't necessarily mean that there will be generations of people in the future with that same combination of surnames. Ideally in the future if our DC want to get married they will drop one of the names and take up one from their spouse.

bufforpingtonchick Mon 13-Jun-11 16:30:13

I like your plan to double-barrel whilst your son keeps your name, makes sense.

How you can talk your DP round is another matter though! Do you know any double-barrellers? Can you perhaps speak to his parents for their views and try to bring them round to your way of thinking?

Hullygully Mon 13-Jun-11 16:30:48

But you have a ds! And you're only now getting married! Tradition dictates you should be a virgin in a white dress etc etc Or is it only some "traditions" that dp obsesses over?

And what a lovely tradition to choose - ownership of the female. Yum yum.

nappyaddict Wed 15-Jun-11 02:41:51

DP is not DS' biological father. He won't consider trying for a baby unless we are married.

The only thing that has put me off double-barrelling was when he mentioned that you can't just invent a new surname. I really hate it when people invent new first names and it has put me off double-barrelling slightly. I am trying to tell myself it's not the same as inventing a completely new surname with names or words that have nothing to do with us or like when some people blend parts of both of their surnames together to create a totally new one.

Hullygully Wed 15-Jun-11 07:54:13

nappy, sorry, didn't realise wasn't his ds - was just trying to show how ludicrous the notion of "tradition" is. It is something that is constantly evolving.

Double-barrelling is extremely common these days.

LeninGrad Wed 15-Jun-11 08:06:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeninGrad Wed 15-Jun-11 08:07:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AKissIsNotAContract Wed 15-Jun-11 08:13:22

It would make far more sense for him to change to yours so that your son's can remain the same.

Himalaya Wed 15-Jun-11 09:05:34

How old is your DS? Does he have a relationship with his own dad? Does he see DP as 'dad' or stepdad?

What name will you give future children? Is is important that all your children being brought up together have the same name? (I think yes)

I think these considerations, rather than 'tradition' should have the casting vote.

In this situation I would go double barrelled - to signal commitment and one family, but so your sin is not growing up entirely with a name that is not his.

Himalaya Wed 15-Jun-11 09:06:32

Not your sin, obviously!!blush

nappyaddict Wed 15-Jun-11 23:29:35

I would like future children to be double-barrelled. I think children should have both parents names (unless maybe they would sound really stupid together)

There is no way DP would switch to my name, in the same way as I don't want to switch to his. However I am not opposed to double-barrelling, but I don't think I could bring DP round to that. I said to him fair enough if that's your opinion about double-barrelled surnames but I'm not asking you to have one, I have said you can keep your name as it is. I suppose we need to figure something out though if we want children which we do. It's important to me that if I'm keeping my own surname my children have that as part of their surname too.

We are at a bit of a dead end to be honest because neither of us is willing to budge on this. For some reason DP thought it was more important to him than me but I think I have finally made him realise it is actually really important to me as well. The discussion just seems to go round in circles without ever getting anywhere though.

Himalaya Thu 16-Jun-11 07:37:14

Nappy - could you and your DP try switching perspective, so that instead of thinking of this as a negotiation between the two of you, you start out by thinking of it as a decision you are trying to make in the best interests of your DS.

What is the right name for him so that (a) he doesn't feel pushed out by the marriage (b) he doesn't loose his own identity (c) it doesn't harm any relationship he has with his bio dad (d) it doesn't set him up as different from future siblings.

Then, once you have agreed what is right for your DS together, then each work out what name you can personally live with that 'makes sense' in relationship to the name that is right for your DS.

PonceyMcPonce Thu 16-Jun-11 07:43:45

Families used to chose the most socially impressive name I believe.

Dh has his name, I use his and mine, dds use both.
No problems, ever.

Dh is secure that I am married to him, even if I call myself Donald duck.

Ephiny Thu 16-Jun-11 07:57:26

I wouldn't change your DS's name for him (assuming he's not a baby and is old enough to know what his name is), I'd let him choose for himself when he's older.

Yes you can be a feminist and change your name if you want to (we've had many threads on this I believe!) but don't think you should be pressured into changing if you don't want to, just because it's 'tradition'. It's not silly to want to keep the name that's defined you all your life so far, even if it is a 'common' one, and it's not silly to want to mess your son about with unnecessary name changes just for the sake of a man's ego.

If your DP is being completely inflexible and unwilling to consider any of the compromises you offer - well, I'd worry about what other aspects of marriage he has strict traditional views on.

nappyaddict Fri 17-Jun-11 11:17:44

Poncey So are you and DDs double-barrelled and DH is just his name?

TrillianAstra Fri 17-Jun-11 11:41:51

Changing your name is not feminist or anti-feminist. It's just a thing.

If you are looking for mutually agreeable alternatives you could be Nappy Middlename Yourname Hisname like Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (generally known as Hillary Clinton, wife of Bill)

How old is DS? Old enough to have an opinion? I agree with Himalaya about what this should really be about.

nappyaddict Sat 18-Jun-11 17:18:57

He's 5 on Friday smile

PonceyMcPonce Mon 20-Jun-11 18:43:14

Yes that's right nappy. Never caused any probs or confusion. Though dh is known as mr Smith Jones at school, which is fine by him!

Though not quite fine enough to bother changing his name, so maybe he is a little bit caveman.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 21-Jun-11 13:36:48

Ok, the situation as far as I can make out is:

OP: willing to change her name, or keep her name the same. DS and DP no change.

DP: unwilling to change his name, insistent that both OP and DS change.

I think you can see who is being unreasonable, and who is actually willing to compromise. Your DS is old enough to know his name, and why should he have to change? Especially since neither he nor his parents wish him to change.

There is nothing wrong with double-barrelling surnames or having another surname as effectively a middle name. If your DP is the effective father of DS and his bio dad isn't around, maybe you could consider giving him DP's name as a middle name? Otherwise I would just stick to your guns, marriage is really not to do with surnames.

nappyaddict Mon 27-Jun-11 13:44:30

Exactly - to me marriage is about talking things through, seeing things from the other's perspective, trying to compromise and work out a solution that keeps both parties as happy as possible without one person getting completely their own way and leaving the other person very unhappy about it.

I think you can be a feminist and change surnames - if that's what you want to do. Some people have bad memories associated with their surname, some people may not speak to their family for whatever reason and don't want to be associated with that name anymore, some people simply don't like their name, some people think their DH is their new family now so are happy to leave their old name behind and take on their DH's name. There are loads of reasons people might want to change their names and it would be silly to say you can't be a feminist if you choose to do this. But I think if your automatic response is to want to keep your surname, it wouldn't be very feminist to let a man or society in general dictate that you have to change your surname when there are many options inbetween such as double-barrelling, blending, new name altogether, having maiden name as a middle name etc.

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