Name Change

Should You Change Your Name?

226-SHould-you-change-your-name-The-Feminist-bride-BLOGThe Feminist Bride returns as a guest on the Bridechilla Podcast to discuss the wedding tradition of name change (Ep #226). Host Aleisha McCormack asks (and I answer) why do women change their name? Should they? What other options are there? How come men don’t? There’s a whole lot to consider than just your personal motivations – seriously, they might shock you. If you’re a feminist bride (or groom) grappling with whether or not this tradition is for you, I highly recommend you give it a listen (which you can do on iTunes, Android or by downloading the bridechilla app!

And if you missed The Feminist Bride’s first guest spot on the podcast, check out Episode 169, where I discuss the traditions in most need of feminism and the obsolete and sexist symbolism imbedded in them.

Wedding Invitation Name Etiquette

I adore the New York Times and I love me a good party, but even more so I am pedantic about honoring people’s surnames. So I was particularly dismayed when Phillip Galanes answered in a NYT’s Social Q’s column to a C. Z., San Francisco that they should by no means be concerned about their spouses poor invitation etiquette, “Your neighbors will be far happier to be invited than distraught by Hubby’s inability to spell Frances. (Or is it Francis?)” Galanes idea of invitation etiquette is probably the worst advice two people planning a wedding and writing their invitations could possibly follow.  Galanes probably has no clue what problems he is contributing to in his response.

The Benefits of Not Changing Your Surname After Marriage

Image Copyright: TheFeministBride.com

Our Interview on the #1 Wedding Podcast, Save The Date!

169-The-Feminist-bride-blog-1Super excited to be interviewed on the #1 wedding podcast, Save The Date. It was really fun sitting down with the host, Aleisha McCormack to talk about some of the most sexist wedding traditions out there and what “bridechillas”‘ and “groomchillas” (bride/grooms who are chill) can do to make them more feminist and respectful for all. So please check out and listen to Episode 169, which by the way, is a totally appropriate number considering how much we discussed the role of sex in wedding traditions! To all the feminist brides (and grooms) out there, I hope it’s an eye opening listen and as fun for you as it was for me in recording it!

There’s no “Me” in Bride

Some people use their astrological signs to describe their personality – preordained by time and chance according to the alignment of the stars.  Some attribute their character based on their parents or environment; access to money or lack thereof.  There are many internal and external factors that help create you, and it’s nice to think that identity, to some extent, is something we can choose. After a short lifetime of making those critical choices or being products of our genetics or childhood, when it’s time to ring the wedding bells do we still have that personal choice to choose “who am I – as a bride?”

Feminist Math Proof: Why “Ms.” is better than “Mrs.”

Can’t wait to become the new “Mrs. His Name?” Ever think about why men never change their title of “Mr.” when they get married, ever stop to consider what it means for women to only change her title?

Image: TheFeministBride.com

Image: TheFeministBride.com

The Burger-King Wedding – Corporate Sell-Out or Name Equality Champions?

Photo Ashley King & Joel Burger

Photo Ashley King & Joel Burger

As you’ve already heard Ashley King and Joel Burger, who started as 5th grade elementary friends and ended up twenty-years later as fiancés are getting married and planning on having a Whopper© of a wedding. Their joint destiny may not have been written in the stars, but on a menu as their surnames suggested – Burger and King.

“We have yet to escape the teasing, but we have fully embraced our nickname,” Joel Burger told the Register. While people are having a good laugh with the couple over their uniquely commercial union, let’s talk about how it seems that the couple are practicing the rare neutronymics! Neutronymics is a term I coined where a married couple either retains their two surnames, incorporate both names (hyphenation or middle name replacement) or create a completely new name out of both their names. If Mr. Burger is actually adding on Ms. King’s surname, it is one of the rarest examples of men doing so.

As it stands less than 10% of women today either practice neutronymics or one-sided hyphenation (meaning as a couple, only the woman changes her name). Around 90% of women practice patronymics (taking his name) and so few men practice matronymics (taking her name) or neutronymics that their number doesn’t register on the scale at all. So it’s a pretty big deal if Mr. Burger is going for the full regal sandwich moniker. Which if he is, I think that’s amazing. Even if he wasn’t planning on it, it might be in his finance’s and frig’s best interest if the chain is looking for local spokespeople. Because by the powers of fast food, the burger chain, Burger King discovered their nuptials through the modern wedding announcement platform – Twitter. Instead of celebrating the couple by gifting them with a copyright infringement lawsuit, Burger King decided to gift them an entire wedding.

While I have strong mixed feelings about such corporate sponsorship for “one of the most important day in the couple’s life,” I can’t help but wonder what a Burger King Wedding would look like? First and foremost, the King has to reside as their officiant. If he approves of the marriage he will give his signature thumbs up, then the couple may kiss. Upon saying I do, the couple shall be crowned in BK’s customary regalia. The cocktail hour will serve mini sliders, onion rings and chicken nuggets. Instead of a swan-sculpted ice luge, a large B.K. insignia will dispense the finest of Pepsi colas and Mountain Dews for guests. The reception will start with the chain’s classic chicken Caesar salad and then be followed with a banquet of burgers piled so high it could reach the Gods. The couple will have their first dance to the classic Burger King song, “Have It Your Way” and cut into a burger-themed wedding cake designed by none other than Cake Boss. Guests, with their bellies full from Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburgers, will leave happy, especially when go home with a kid’s meal toy and their pockets full of Junior Whoppers. But most importantly the after party will feature a sacrificial Ronald McDonald effigy in order to ensure a prosperous life together and many little Kid’s meals in the couple’s future.

So why is Burger King doing all of this. For one, it’s really good press, especially after the debacle in 2005 when a lady called 911 because the store couldn’t get her order right. But maybe I’m being cynical and they just believe in a good old fashioned love story. It will be really interesting to see if the chain totally commercializes the couple’s wedding in a marketing stunt and a gross display of the wedding industrial complex or leave the couple to their own wedding design devices (their original intention was to just hand out koozies with their name and the BK logo on the back). If selling out their wedding is the cost for a man practicing neutronymics, I’m actually on board for a Whopper-themed wedding then. Sexism in name change is one of the worst sources of inequality in wedding traditions so I say take the small wins even if it’s from the dollar menu.

10 Other Wedding Traditions Worth Skipping

Oh yes there’s more! In addition to the 10 The Feminist Bride has already covered, cat-throwing-brideshere are 10 more wedding traditions worth skipping. Don’t worry there are solutions for all of them! And yes, that’s a bride throwing a cat…and no, it’s not on this ten list. Sorry cats.

Is Choosing to Take Your Husband’s Surname Really Feminist?

I winced when I heard Ms. Amal Alamuddin was changing her name to Mrs. George Clooney. She became yet another example of a women choosing for her identity to be represented by a man’s after marrying. Here’s how her decision, one shared by the majority of women, is vastly more complicated than it seems.

Hold up: Is the Term ‘Bridesmaid’ Kind of Sexist?

Check out my article on Zooey Deschanel’s lifestyle website HelloGiggles.commaxresdefault

“Being a bridesmaid has always been a coveted spot for women. It’s right up there with the titular role of BFF. But what if I told you being called a bridesmaid was really the linguistic equivalent of frenemy? It’s hard to believe, but hear me out.”

How to be Announced as Newlyweds

Taking your first steps as a child are a big deal, so are the ones you and your spouseLady-with-megaphone-008-e1373245414958 take together as newlyweds. Who wouldn’t want to step off on the right foot into a lifetime of marital bliss? It’s not the actual steps one takes at the reception that matters (though knowing how to walk in high heels under layers of tulle is a feat unto itself); it’s how the Master of Ceremonies introduces the couple that makes a big difference.

Creating a Socially Responsible Wedding

Fiancés planning a wedding have incredible purchasing power. I’m not just talking about the social_responsibility_1ability to buy two nude ice sculptures in the likeness of the newlyweds for the reception; I’m talking about the kind of purchases and investments that help make the world a better place via your wedding.

Our Obsession With Love and Labeling

It’s already several dates in.  You’re way into this new person and you’re pretty sure he or she is into you. The kissing is great, the butterflies have yet to go away, you swapped embarrassing stories that both of you swore you’d never tell anyone, there’s been talk of future dates and trips and…neither of you are seeing anyone else. It’s time to have “the talk.”

Love and LabelingWe all know what “the talk” means. It’s time to put oneself out there and ask, “What are we?” Boyfriend and girlfriend? Just dating till something better comes along? Lovers? An open relationship? Sugar daddy/mama? FoBo’s? Friends with benefits? Or the dreaded ‘just friends?’

10 Wedding Traditions Worth Skipping

If you’re looking for some real advice as to what type of wedding traditions you should skip, look notumblr_lurk61U2S71r6ahc3o1_500 further. Other lists give fluffy advice and are usually limited to things you buy. This top 10 list gives you wedding traditions that are ripe with unfair conditions like sexism or consumerism which can either be thrown out like a garter or bouquet (#8 & #9) or modernized so it treats everyone a little bit better.

Designer Necklace Meets Cheap Social Construction

Really Kate Spade? This is a little low brow. Sure Carrie Bradshaw wore her trinket Carrie necklace religiously, which had more intrinsic value than any other high fashion item in her closet but it also didn’t assert any social gendering.

There’s probably no “Mr.” version of this necklace, but even if there were, it still wouldn’t represent men discriminately based on his relationship status like a “Mrs.” necklace does. Brides and wives need to think about what it means when being called Mrs. Mrs. carries a lot of unfair social construction and identity politics compared to Mr. When a man marries his identity and name does not change based on his new relationship status, but a woman’s does according to name change tradition and that has a lot of sordid historical weight to it.

Want to be treated as an equal, maintain the integrity of your identity without having to redefine it just because you went through a new life stage? Than opt for using Ms. It’s a much stronger statement and from this feminist perspective a much more awesome sentiment to wear around your neck.

To Learn More About Name Change:

VIDEO: Why Do Brides Take Their Husband’s Names?

Why Women Change Their Last Names After Marriage

Wedding Invitation Name Etiquette

The Lucy Stone League: Crusaders for more name equality!

How Well Balanced Is Your Name Change Decision?

I created this ‘Name Change Cultural Spectrum’ for a lecture I gave at Tufts University this spring. I wanted people to understand where their decisions stand in the broader context of equality. For example, a lot of women who retain their surname but also incorporate their new spouse’s name through hyphenation will defend their decision as being progressive or feminist or seemingly more about equality. If you look on the spectrum, that one-sided name change is not as based on equality as we might like to think, especially since men typically do not join women in this one-sided hyphenation.

Also to show that existing name change culture does not encourage equality, I had to invent the term Neutronymics. Neutronymics is the adoption of a new name or combination of names created using the names of married individuals or the retention of separate surnames. It is meant to be a solution to those wishing to participate in neither patronymics nor matronymics and to increase name equality. Mutual hyphenation, the Scrabble Name Game and Surname Retention are all options people are aware of, but had never been grouped before or labeled. Labeling it gives it legitimacy and really puts into perspective the other options that favor one sex over another.

So when it comes time for you to get married and you’re not sure if you’re making the right decision that honors yourself and/or your partner – take a look at the Name Change Culture Spectrum. See where your decision places on the map and you’ll get a better sense as to whether you are helping to buck the dominating patriarchy, are alone in your name change decisions or are making a healthy decision that really promotes equality in your relationship and teaches women to value their name too. And if you’re a lady getting married, don’t forget to make the groom put in the same type of name change consideration you are putting in yourself!

Why Women Change Their Last Names After Marriage

 

Wedding Invitation Name Etiquette

The Lucy Stone League: Crusaders for more name equality!

FB Movie Review: Mystic Pizza

Mystic Pizza (1988) – Julia Roberts first break out role (no, Pretty Women was not the first) in what would be a long career of romantic films. Set in Mystic, CT three strong, local girls struggle with finding love, navigating the bedroom, their future and breaking from their provincial townie existence. Despite class struggles, forbidden affairs and feeling trapped, the girls at the end of the day find solace and comfort in each other and pizza. The break out feminist moment comes in the end, when one girl finally commits to marrying the love of her life but only on the condition that she keep her name. (Subject: Relationships, Sex, Identity, Friendship)

VIDEO: Why Do Bride’s Take Their Husband’s Name?

Before you get excited about becoming the next Mrs. John Smith, beware! There’s a sordid history to this cultural practice and severe modern implications as to how women are contributing to their own marginalization.

The video is a lecture I gave at the Tufts University Women’s Center ‘Beyond the Classroom’ symposium. It explains the history of why women take men’s name upon marriage, dives into its modern relevancy and issues and offers solutions for what women and men can do to practice the art of name change with more egalitarianism. (I’ll slowly be posting the name change spectrum and video transcript too!)

If you’re interested in more information about patronymics and matronymics and general name change here are a few additional Feminist Bride links and sources:

Why Women Change Their Last Names After Marriage

Wedding Invitation Name Etiquette

The Lucy Stone League: Crusaders for more name equality!

Why Women Change Their Last Names After Marriage

As The Feminist Bride this topic is the most distressing to me. After researching all wedding traditions there are three that earn the top obsolete, sexist and promoting inequality – engagement rings, bridal showers and name change. Now, women are starting to understand that third-wave feminism is about choice, but I have to say that when it comes to name change it isn’t an educated one.

There are three reasons why the tradition of women adopting their spouses names exists.

Pet Names Are for Pets

If I have one consistent shortcoming, it is that I am horrible at names. At a party, I am that person who greets most everyone with a “Heyyy…youuuu.” I can tell you what you were wearing, talking about and drinking, but I can’t tell you what the hell your mom wrote in your underwear. It’s a terrible habit, but sometimes it’s not my fault.

Zara Phillips to keep maiden name after royal wedding to Mike Tindall

I was just in Edinburg and all I saw was a bunch of drunk hen and stag parties! This would have been much more exciting.  Zara Phillips recently married England

rugby union player Mike Tindall, and has elected to keep her maiden name because she thinks it will be better for her equestrienne career. One news source claimed that keeping her maiden name was not “any kind of feminist statement” but I highly disagree. A woman keeping her name in support of her career, her heritage, and family just to name a few reasons is a great reason (and a feminist one I might add, because it is a choice that honors one woman and promotes all of them).