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OpEd Writer Receives Opinions: Film At Eleven.
September 19, 2007 9:01 PM   Subscribe

Recently an opinion writer for The Age, Catherine Deveny unleashed a firestorm of sorts when she wrote an article entitled 'Why Do Some Wives Still Change Their Names?'. The reaction to her article (from both men and women) was strong; so much so that in a recent follow up article entitled 'I Don't Give A Stuff What You Do. I'm Paid To Write What I Think' , she jokingly wrote that it had had the effect of reducing her readership to three. But when an article penned by a professional comedian employs such pointed rhetoric along the lines of "Insecure or conservative or stupid women are bowing to the wishes of their husbands", can she truly claim surprise at the level of vitriol her article generated or is this simply a case of an opinion writer trying to get opinions?
posted by Second Account For Making Jokey Comments (98 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
They have trolls in print media too?
posted by b1tr0t at 9:08 PM on September 19, 2007


You have read the rest of her pieces, right? Like those where she basically calls every Commodore driver in the country a hoon? The difference between Catherine Deveny and an internet troll is, just as she says, the paycheque.

(also, where did you get April from?)
posted by pompomtom at 9:17 PM on September 19, 2007


The author wouldn't last three minutes in a MeTa pile-on, sheesh.

My sister's first name is eight characters, her maiden name eleven. I think she was worried carpal tunnel was starting to set in, and if she had opted for hyphenation when she married my brother-in-law (Nine characters) she would have had to start paying the phone bill with those huge novelty cheques charities use.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:21 PM on September 19, 2007


I'm surprised it's such a political topic now. Personally part of me would want to change my name because I would want to have the same last name as my kids and I hate hyphenated names. But I probably won't simply because I like my name, my last name is sort of distinctive and whenever I do get around to getting married I'll likely be very established in my career and I think changing my last name would be disruptive. However, when my parents got divorced my mom went back to her maiden name and I remember it bothering me that we didn't have the same last name anymore. So who knows what I'll do, either way I think its fine.

What drives me insane about some feminists is that they get caught up in the details and symbolic crap that really is meaningless now. I don't care when people say mankind instead of humankind, or that the history of marriage includes women being chattel. That isn't what marriage is now, at least not to me, or to most of society. Things evolve in change, just because some traditions and labels remain, doesn't mean those things haven't fundamentally been altered.

Many women will say that their husbands wanted them to change their surname. So they did. Here's a flash for you sister: if you do everything that your husband wants you to do, you may find yourself teetering round in a pair of stilettos and an apron all day saying, "Shall I fix some more food for you and the boys?", or wearing a burqa.

If this is true, the problem isn't that you've allowed a man to "dilute you" you've just married the wrong man.
posted by whoaali at 9:22 PM on September 19, 2007


Many women will say that their husbands wanted them to change their surname. So they did. Here's a flash for you sister: if you do everything that your husband wants you to do, you may find yourself teetering round in a pair of stilettos and an apron all day saying, "Shall I fix some more food for you and the boys?", or wearing a burqa.

And if your husband does everything you want him to do, he'll wait on you hand and foot while you canoodle with the poolboy? Or something? I can't see where the end of the slippery slope is, because we're so far away form it.
posted by dismas at 9:28 PM on September 19, 2007


I never understood why we have op-ed writers.

What are the qualifications for that job, anyway? Judging by the quality coming from the News Ltd. papers, I can only assume the job is awarded in some kind of lottery of cranky old wowsers.

I mean, we're constantly being told, these days, how musicians shouldn't have opinions, celebrities shouldn't interfere with politics, famous people have no right to use their public profile for causes...

But who the fuck gave Andrew Bold and Piers Ackerman the right to valuable column inches whenever they damn well want it?
posted by Jimbob at 9:32 PM on September 19, 2007


Andrew Bolt. That dirty whore.
posted by Jimbob at 9:36 PM on September 19, 2007


I hyphenated my last name when I got married, which is probably the single biggest mistake I've made in my marriage (so far, knock on wood). It's too long and cumbersome, and it's awful to fill out on forms, even if it makes my full name very distinct.

I did it because I wanted to mark our belonging together to everyone, while I had some stuff published under my maiden name and didn't want to lose recognition of that. My husband always said that it was up to me what I wanted to do, but he recommended keeping my maiden name. If I had known then what I know now, I would have taken his name only - it would have made my name very unusual (which is both nice and important I think), would still have connected him to me in a public way, and would still be short and sweet. I'm not even in that field any longer, so the publications don't matter any more.

I totally agree with whoaali. The symbolic stuff like this is so meaningless to me in my everyday life. The "womyn" "womankind" crap pisses me off so bad. Why focus so much attention and worry on symbols that - while still meaningful to some few - don't really hold up in today's society? Why not worry about things like the gender gap in salaries, the lack of female CEO:s, the gender inequality in Congress, etc? That's the stuff that matters to me, not what frelling last name someone chose to use...
posted by gemmy at 9:38 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jimbob: space in the Hun is not 'valuable column inches'.
posted by pompomtom at 9:39 PM on September 19, 2007


I don't give a stuff what you do. I'm just paid to write what I think.

it's a pity you write much more than you think, isn't it?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:54 PM on September 19, 2007


Why not worry about things like the gender gap in salaries, the lack of female CEO:s, the gender inequality in Congress, etc? That's the stuff that matters to me, not what frelling last name someone chose to use...

The argument, I suppose, is that the issues are interrelated. A wife taking her husband's name signals her subservience to her husband, thus contributing to an environment in which young woman are stifled.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:10 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


my mom changed her name. screw this dumb bitch.
posted by bruce at 10:11 PM on September 19, 2007


Oh, I actually dealt with this in my blog!

First self-link ever, I feel proud.

In my view, Deveny has the right idea but the very, very wrong approach. Her patronising tone is annoying and trite and I felt like arguing against her even though I essentially agreed with what she was saying! What's the use of alienating the people you're trying to convince?
posted by liquorice at 10:12 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


From the original article, which was also quoted above:

Here's a flash for you sister: if you do everything that your husband wants you to do, you may find yourself teetering round in a pair of stilettos and an apron all day saying, "Shall I fix some more food for you and the boys?", or wearing a burqa.

Talk about loaded language. Hers's some news, lady: there's nothing implicitly wrong with either scenario, as long as the woman genuinely wants it. Some women definitely like their burqas; wearing one is important to them. I suspect the stiletto-wearing crowd is smaller, for the simple reason that it's not a religion, but for those that do, so freaking what? As long as it's not coerced, it's all good.

It's okay, Catherine, for other women to want things you don't want, and to behave in ways you wouldn't behave. It does not make them inferior.

Humans love their traditions, and they keep them, even when the fundamental meanings are different. We're still putting up evergreen trees at the winter solstice and decorating them, many centuries after the original pagan meaning of the Green Man was lost. It was once a celebration that life continued even in the depth of winter, and that the sun was beginning to return. It was converted into a Christian holiday, and then eventually into a secular one. The Christians are trying hard to take it back again.

The meaning shifts and shifts, but the simple fact remains: we still decorate evergreens at the solstice, just as we have for thousands of years, and likely will for thousands more.
posted by Malor at 10:43 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


whoaali: Just name your kid "T.S. Garp."
posted by papakwanz at 10:59 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


We women really should consider getting rid of our surnames entirely when we get married and just adding "The" before our first names. "Is that Mrs. Smith?" "Oh no. No, no. That's The Paula." "Oh! I'd better get the door, then. Thank God you told me."
posted by katillathehun at 10:59 PM on September 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


can she truly claim surprise at the level of vitriol her article generated or is this simply a case of an opinion writer trying to get opinions?

I don't think she was surprised that people disagreed with her rather harsh opinion, I think she was surprised that this issue more than any other was the one that got people to write in.

I kind of agree with her on the sentiment "Why do you care what some blowhard stranger who writes for a living thinks about you?"
posted by 23skidoo at 11:02 PM on September 19, 2007


I encouraged my wife to keep her own name, because I thought it was more euphonious. Too many same-same vowels, otherwise. Of course, now she's my ex-wife, and Maybe That's Why!
posted by galtr at 11:08 PM on September 19, 2007


Catherine Deveny is either an idiot or (more likely) a really good troll. Either way, she should just kill herself at her earliest possible convenience.
posted by jacalata at 11:15 PM on September 19, 2007


jacalata: Hah. I hope she puts every penny of *her* disposable income into research for terminally ill chlidren. Otherwise that would be hypocritical.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:30 PM on September 19, 2007


i like katillathehun's idea, but may i suggest "teh paula".
posted by bruce at 11:45 PM on September 19, 2007


I completely agree with everything she writes.

But then again I also think people should stop having childen, and other 'unusual' things.
posted by dickasso at 1:05 AM on September 20, 2007


I did it because I wanted to mark our belonging together to everyone.
The symbolic stuff like this is so meaningless to me in my everyday life.

No contradiction here then?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:07 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


It was interesting that she start off with a "feminist" premise and ends with an old anti-feminist chestnut-- your wife won't have sex with you until you do stuff around the house. Because women don't like sex, you know.

She could really use an editor.

FWIW my husband and I discussed both changing our names to some combination of the two, but we couldn't come up with anything that didn't sound freaky. A couple of other issues which I won't go into, not including my husband who didn't care, and I changed my name. But you know what? BFD. I couldn't care less what some 'comedian' in Australia thinks about that. Or you all here, really.
posted by miss tea at 4:13 AM on September 20, 2007


> No contradiction here then?

We are large, we contain multitudes.
posted by jfuller at 4:23 AM on September 20, 2007


The erasure of lines of matrilineal descent through the propagation of patronyms is real and it presents significant problems for feminist and feminine identity.

There is no easy or simple solution because people's emotions are involved. Take, for example, the sentimental notions and exhibitionistic impulses expressed by gemmy. Such is to be expected regarding marriage which is, among other things, a public declaration of one' love.

We will be not be able to call it a free choice unencumbered by patriarchal privilege when men hyphenate and adopt the names of their wives in roughly equal proportion to the number of women who do. We will be able to call it a free choice when everyone who publicly declares their love and commitment, gender aside, do so.
posted by mistersquid at 5:02 AM on September 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


She could really use an editor.

You can't shine shit.
posted by Snyder at 6:01 AM on September 20, 2007


I have had two wives (which reminds me of Oscar Wilde's definition of bigamy) and both chose to change their name, even though I did not request it or even particularly want them to do it. My first wife claimed it would be simpler (though oddly enough, when we divorced and she remarried, she claimed it would be simpler not to change it again). My second wife simply couldn't wait to get rid of the name of her father, whom she hated. Neither woman in stupid or conservative, and as for insecure, aren't we all?
posted by ubiquity at 6:11 AM on September 20, 2007


As a strong, career-successful woman who put herself through college (NYU) and law school, married a week ago yesterday (took my husband's name, and proud to do so), having a baby in several months, I think of myself as feminist by deeds and actions in my life but I don't identify as one.

I am more offended by the rhetoric and bossiness of these "feminists" than by the subculture of male dominance (or whatever you want to call it). Frankly, it boggles my mind that any woman could be - and I have no other apt word for this - so stupid and closed-minded as to think she is doing me a favor by criticizing my decisions, attempting to railroad me down the path she prefers me to lead, and otherwise running my life for me because she thinks I'm too blind or stupid or weak to do it myself. That aspect of feminism offends me FAR more than ocassionally being called sweetie by a male co-worker, subjugating my surname to my husband's wishes, ocassionally being a nice wife and agonizing over making perfect dinner, etc.

Many women will say that their husbands wanted them to change their surname. So they did. Here's a flash for you sister: if you do everything that your husband wants you to do, you may find yourself teetering round in a pair of stilettos and an apron all day saying, "Shall I fix some more food for you and the boys?", or wearing a burqa.

Really, I mean REALLY?!?! Changing my name is equivalent to losing every argument and will IMMEDIATELY turn my husband into the type of man who wants a Stepford Wife???? No offensive icky man has EVER expressed so little respect for me as to think I can't keep away from jerks like that - but apparently this bitch (again, no better word) thinks I'm borderline retarded and certainly incapable of thinking for myself (talk about paternalism). Frankly, if I REFUSED to cooperate or compromise with my husband as much as these women think I ought to, I would not be a person I could ever respect. I can't for the life of me figure out who and how taught these poor women that self-respect and strength comes from always saying no, never giving in, coming out on top of every argument. That's not appropriate, mature, adult behavior for men or for women, and when I have a daughter, I hope she remembers that as well.
posted by bunnycup at 6:43 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I had to legally change my name back to my own name after my first marriage (and subsequent divorce), so when I married again, I chose to keep my maiden name. I like my maiden name. I'm not terribly fond of the paternal line, but the name itself is pretty damn groovy.

It was never an issue until we had a baby...and then, even though we gave Boy both last names, we made my maiden name a second middle name, rather than forcing the child into having a 13 letter hyphenated last name. I mean, it doesn't really fit on any of the forms.

So...now, I'm thinking about legally changing my last name again to be hyphenated, just so my last name matches my son's last name. I don't really want to...but it's just so much easier for insurance papers, school papers and the whatnot. But it has nothing to do with my husband's desire for me to carry around his name instead of my own.
posted by dejah420 at 6:44 AM on September 20, 2007


Re: Hyphenation... If you ever plan on writing a novel in the near future, it will be tougher to find your hyphenated name in most systems. So use a made up last name like "Laser." Except that one's taken.
posted by drezdn at 6:52 AM on September 20, 2007


I have this to add, too, because it's burning me up so much:

Thanks to feminism, women should be allowed and encouraged to do anything they want.

The list of things I WANT to do that this woman is telling me I cannot or should not, is longer than the list of things I WANT to do that the purportedly male-dominated culture is telling me I cannot or should not. (Especially since that second list - the list of things I feel pressured by dominant culture NOT to do - has NOTHING ON IT.)

She says women should be encouraged to do anything we want. That is, unless we want to change our names when we get married. Or unless we want to stop working when we have children, and solely devote ourselves to raising the children (I don't, personally, but admire those who can and do). Or unless we don't want to be a "career woman" in the first place. Or unless "anything they want" is cook or wear stilletos, apparently. You know what? I love stilletos, I feel incredibly sexy and eight times more powerful when I am wearing shiny leather pumps that put me above eye-level with men around me. It's none of her EFFING business what shoes I wear, no man has ever, ever criticized me or drawn conclusions about my inner strength (or lack thereof) from my shoe choices (or at least been rude enough to do so out loud) but this sorry excuse for a female thinks that's okay to do? I have one word for that - TRASH.

/end rant.
posted by bunnycup at 6:59 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like the tradition in Japanese families where either the husband or wife takes the name of the more successful family, as required. MORTAL SURNAME KOMBAT!
posted by jscott at 7:01 AM on September 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


i was born with a hyphenated sur-name. and it echoes the above Japanese tradition--the reason for the original hyphenation was the relative important of the female line, and the meh recognizability of the male line's name.

although being hyphenated leads to some minor puzzlement on the part of computers and bureaucrats, it's never been so problematic as to make me understand why people balk at it.

i would never change my name ... nor will i marry using governmental approval. and honestly, i don't get why women do change their names anymore, and i agree with the writer. it makes you invisible for people who knew you before when they try to find you in the phone book. if you want that... fine... but it's still annoying to those of us who can't remember the name of your new husband.

and yeah, opinion columnists are generally annoying. whatever.
posted by RedEmma at 7:50 AM on September 20, 2007


Personally, I am confident that mySELF, and my PERSONALITY, my DEEDS, my ACTIONS and my BELIEFS, my INDIVIDUALITY, my ACCOMPLISHMENTS etc. are what keep me from being "invisble," far more so than my NAME. In identifying me as myself, I look to hundreds of things before my name. If you don't or can't....fine....but it's still annouing to those of us who can't figure out that John Doe and Jane Feminist share any marital or familial tie.
posted by bunnycup at 8:17 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


No name change for me when I got married. I cannot see the point of changing at all. And it does bother me a little when women change their names. But I certainly don't scream at them about it. Their name, their business.
posted by agregoli at 8:21 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


The writer linked doesn't actually represent the entirety of feminists and feminism all by herself. So maybe we could lay off the idea that all (or really, any) feminists agree with every word written in her columns.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:55 AM on September 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


The problem with women not changing their names upon marriage - which name does the child take? If they take the man’s name - then by the logic here you still have “oppression.”
And if the hyphenation trend continues you’d have 8 last names in a few generations.
(I like the way the Icelanders do it)

And this sweeping generalization thing sucks balls. My wife and I very much share child rearing duties. I love being with my kids and I find that some men are marginalized as parents since women tend to monopolize the kid - but that’s my little circle.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:38 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


The problem with women not changing their names upon marriage - which name does the child take?

Duh, boys take their father's last name, girls take their mother's last name. Optional: include the other parent's last name as a second middle name.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:31 PM on September 20, 2007


The problem with women not changing their names upon marriage - which name does the child take?

Duh, boys take their father's last name, girls take their mother's last name. Optional: include the other parent's last name as a second middle name.


I don't really see why that gets a "Duh" and I don't really think that solves the problem at all. I find it a little weird to divide the families names by sex, and if I encountered a family with names divided like that I would assume that both the kids weren't related and were from previous marriages.

I mean there is no perfect solution to this issue, which is why I don't understand why some people are so judgmental about how people choose to handle the last name issue. Whatever you choose to do, there are downsides and complications.
posted by whoaali at 12:41 PM on September 20, 2007


It totally solves the problem of "When parents have different last names, how can we decide which name to give the children?" Sure, it doesn't solve different problems, but it completely solves that one.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:03 PM on September 20, 2007


Yeah, but any arbitrary rule would do that. You could flip a coin, alternate every other kid, etc.
posted by whoaali at 1:15 PM on September 20, 2007


Meh. My kid has my last name, and his father's surname as a given name. Therefore, that was never an issue.
posted by jokeefe at 1:49 PM on September 20, 2007


Give the kids both names. Or one. Whatever. I don't see this as the "big issue" it's made out to be. I think it's hinged on "What will people think if my kids have a different last name than me?" Falls under my "OH NOES" category. It's not like you're any less of a family if you don't all have the same name.
posted by agregoli at 1:55 PM on September 20, 2007


Like agregoli and several others here, I agree with the author's point but not her way of making it. I kept my name. I go by "Ms", not "Mrs." No plans for kids yet, but we've already decided that if we do, I get the girls, he gets the boys. Anybody who would cast aspersions on our relationship because we don't share the same name is an idiot. (We don't wear wedding rings either. *GASP!*)

Unfortunately the name issue caused a minor family drama this past year, when we received an invitation to my brother's wedding addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Husbandsname. I jokingly posted on my blog that only one of those people exists. I then heard through the grapevine that this apparently greatly wounded my soon-to-be sister-in-law. Look, I can accept Mrs Husbandsname from my grandfather, and from older people who find the non-name-change confusing. Fair enough. But you'd think she could've taken the time to ask, oh, anyone else in my family.
posted by web-goddess at 4:45 PM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


We will be not be able to call it a free choice unencumbered by patriarchal privilege when men hyphenate and adopt the names of their wives in roughly equal proportion to the number of women who do. We will be able to call it a free choice when everyone who publicly declares their love and commitment, gender aside, do so.
Wait, what? Taking surnames won't be a free choice until every single person of every gender agrees to do the same thing?

No choice is unencumbered by the history of others who've chosen it or had it forced on them. But it's pretty crackheaded to toss out something that seems to boil down to, "This will be unacceptable until every mammal does it."
posted by verb at 4:46 PM on September 20, 2007


I am more offended by the rhetoric and bossiness of these "feminists"

Us "feminists" from back in the day see red when young women make statements like this. bunnycup, "feminists" (read as pejoritive epithet) are why you got to GO to law school and "feminists" are why you get to be a lawyer even though you have a baby, and "feminists" are why you get to chose which name to take instead of being forced to take your husband's willy nilly.

These things did not happen because young people today are so amazingly fabulous that American society smacked itself on the head and went "oh yeah, let's not oppress women anymore." Someone ("feminists") fought in the streets to get that for you.

You're welcome.
posted by nax at 6:33 PM on September 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


nax,
Oh, bullshit. I don't think anyone here is trying to take away the accomplishments and advances that have been made, but it's silly to claim that that makes you above reproach or that there is no valid ground for criticism of your behavior. Just because a group did good things does not mean everything the group does is good or rational. It's possible to say that some of the current activities are questionable without attacking everything that's ever come before.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:08 PM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


when we received an invitation to my brother's wedding addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Husbandsname

K, that's always just been creepy-weird.
posted by dreamsign at 9:44 PM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


No contradiction here then?

None whatsoever. What I chose to do in my personal life is up to me, even if it's sentimental and silly. What some other woman chooses to do with her last name is none of my business, nor is it something that I feel has any bearing on me or my life.

As for how a woman changing her name "signals her subservience to her husband, thus contributing to an environment in which young woman are stifled" like MPDSEA said, that argument has some merit, certainly. I just think that at some point we have to put fighting for tiny symbolic things aside, and start tackling the larger issues instead.

Why argue over the paint color, when what we really need is to shore up the foundation? I would be happy with a discussion about fixing the broken door instead, if the foundation thing is too big of a start...
posted by gemmy at 9:55 PM on September 20, 2007


Fuck the people who use the word 'feminist' as an insult. And fuck the people who shy away from being associated with that term because they don't want people thinking that they're hairy lesbians.
posted by liquorice at 12:05 AM on September 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Many wonderful women have made many wonderful contributions that, yes, have changed society in ways that allow myself and many other women to reach personal goals that were closed doors in previous centuries. THIS WOMAN, the ONE I AM TALKING ABOUT, the one this THREAD IS ABOUT, and any that feel as she does, is not one of them. Personally, that is why I've been as careful as I can to use of limiting terms such as "this woman", "she says," and "femists like THESE" when discussing the points at which her assertions offended me. This is NOT a thread about the state of feminism today, the dominant theory approaches in gender studies, etc. I encourage someone better versed in it than I am to start such a thread, and we can then discuss feelings about feminism and its place in the world generally. I don't see any cue that that's what is going on HERE.

This thread has really brought out for me, though, something I have noticed in general life - many (of course not ALL) women who choose NOT to change their name speak about it in a way intended to belittle those of us who are PROUD to externally signify and mark the shared familial connection. That is to say, web-goddess, why is YOUR agreement with your husband to split up names among children any more valid than MY agreement with my husband that our family will share a name? Shouldn't I have precisely as much self-determination and respect for my decisions as you have? (*GASP*). Why is it okay that decisions I make, or addresses I am comfortable with, are permissibly called "creepy-weird" - I am not interested in a hypenated name and prefer to share a familial name with my husband - but I certainly don't think your decision not to is "creepy-weird". Nor would I be rude enough to say so, even if I did!

"feminists" (read as pejoritive epithet) are why you got to GO to law school and "feminists" are why you get to be a lawyer even though you have a baby, and "feminists" are why you get to chose which name to take instead of being forced to take your husband's willy nilly.

Finally, this kind of patronizing rhetoric is offensive, and you should apologize. Thanks, but even my evil penis-bearing husband gives ME credit for the work, effort, intelligence, etc. with which *I* accomplished these things. See also my credit above understanding those who made real sacrifices, but bantering and bitching about name changing is not a sacrifice that I feel my personal successes rest upon. I find those kinds of statements as offensive as I would find a statement that I don't NEED to earn as much money at work because I am a woman and my HUSBAND should make up our finances, or that I can't do legal trial work because WOMEN are too touchy-feely-get-alongy, or that it's unnatural to work and I should be at home in the kitchen with my baby.

News flash: You may be male, female, tall, short, black, white or ANY variety of person and it is NOT OKAY to tell me how to live my life.
posted by bunnycup at 7:01 AM on September 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I am not interested in a hypenated name and prefer to share a familial name with my husband - but I certainly don't think your decision not to is "creepy-weird". Nor would I be rude enough to say so, even if I did!

I absolutely find "Mr. and Mrs. John Doe" creepy-weird because it completely negates the woman. A last name is one thing, but "Mrs. John Doe" is and ultimate expression of how the woman doesn't count in "formal" speech. I don't see why we can't address things as "Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Doe" or variants of the kind.
posted by agregoli at 7:36 AM on September 21, 2007


I don't see why you are categorically unable of respecting others' choices while asking that you yourself receive the same respect.
posted by bunnycup at 8:06 AM on September 21, 2007


I am not interested in a hypenated name and prefer to share a familial name with my husband - but I certainly don't think your decision not to is "creepy-weird". Nor would I be rude enough to say so, even if I did!

I wasn't referring to a hyphenated name, but rather the complete negation of the name in favour of the husband's -- Mrs. John Doe. As for my reaction, well that's my own. I have no intention of forcing it on my local parliamentary rep so I can have that opinion foisted on others in legislative form, so in that respect I'm as entitled to my reaction as you are to your decision. Whether you think the reaction is rude or not, it was my reaction, from the age of about 5, being told "oh yes, it's quite normal for people to say 'Mrs. John Doe'. I had no view of gender politics at the time and in that sense I was immune to the bullshit. It was simply creepy-weird. But then, I thought my father calling my mother "mother" was damn weird, too. Have I offended someone else you want to let me know about?
posted by dreamsign at 10:58 AM on September 21, 2007


Well, by your logic, I'm as entitled to call you rude as you are entitled to think I am "creepy-weird", so why the huffing and puffing?
posted by bunnycup at 11:17 AM on September 21, 2007


it's silly to claim that that makes you above reproach or that there is no valid ground for criticism of your behavior.

First of all, I didn't say there was no valid ground for criticism of behavior (not sure what behavior you're referring to), nor that feminism is above reproach. There have certainly been excesses; it's just that no one's talking about them here.

Just because a group did good things does not mean everything the group does is good or rational.


Further, it sounds like this is exactly what you're doing, but in reverse. If you don't mean ALL feminists, then don't say "feminists" (in quotes-- what's with the quotes?) Do you mean they aren't really feminists? Then say that. You've been to law school so presumably you can craft an argument. If you mean "so-called feminists who use tautologies to ridicule people's individual choices" then say that.

The irony here, while you are castigating me for my patronizing rhetoric (!!!) is that I actually fully agree with you. We have the choice in this society about what to do with names, an accomplishment squarely in the feminist column. The name issue is one where the traditionalist argument carries alot of merit and weight-- in northern european tradition, which is the dominant one in the US right now, (please no one go into this, too complex to get into nuances on it here), the family name goes through the patrilineal descent. So if you want everyone in your family to have the same name, it makes sense to follow this tradition. Sometimes the traditions CAN be separated from the politics and I think this is one of those areas.

One of the reasons the name thing doesn't bother me much is that there are many societies far more woman-oppressive than ours in which women keep their birth names. So I think the whole "indicative of ownership by the man" thing is a bit of a stretch. Women not being allowed to own property or get a driver's licence-- THAT's indivicative of oppression. What I call myself? Not so much.

I suspect, bunnycup, that you've taken a lot of heat for your decision, because your second response was a little out of proportion to the intent of my comment. So for that I apologize. But I do NOT apologize for the gist of the comment-- you need to be careful with language (as do I), and you need to acknowledge that your current privelege did not spring fully formed from the sea foam.

licquorice: thank you.

posted by nax at 1:12 PM on September 21, 2007


I'm not sure how best to respond to you, as you've apparently critically attributed to me some remarks that were made by Sangermaine rather than by me.

"you need to acknowledge that your current privelege did not spring fully formed from the sea foam."

I've obviously done so, more than once, and as such don't appreciate further "lecturing" on the point. However, I disagree that it is out of proportion for me to demand an apology from a woman who has stated in writing that I have only others to thank for my accomplishments, who has left no room for pride in myself for having attained them. In fact what you said was as follows, and is quite rude - not nearly as vague or pretty as you're attempting to backpedal it into being:

"feminists" (read as pejoritive epithet) are why you got to GO to law school and "feminists" are why you get to be a lawyer even though you have a baby, and "feminists" are why you get to chose which name to take instead of being forced to take your husband's willy nilly.

That's like saying I have my husband to thank for my security and safety, or social position. The existence of feminism didn't put me in law school - studying for and excelling at the LSAT's did, studying in school while working full time got me through it, and I take credit for that. Feminism can be as dominant in society as any other social improvement, but I am proud of my individual effort, WITHOUT WHICH I COULD NOT HAVE EVEN GOT TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL (thank you very much!).

In fact, I've personally received no response to my decision to take my husbands name from anyone "in real life" - I believe this is because the female friends, co-workers and family members with whom I associate give far more respect to my right to make autonomous decisions about my family life than do individuals like Catherine Deveny and those posters in this thread who have cast belitting comments at women who choose not to keep their maiden name (again, I would never say a decision to hyphenate was stupid, or creepy, or weird). In my circle of friends, family, associates, etc. - NOBODY COULD CARE LESS, which is precisely how it ought to be, and precisely why I am offended at the petty rudeness of women who think it's appropriate that they tell me what to do, here. It was beyond offensive to see the level of criticism that Deveny and other commenters here leveled against women who change their names, or simply don't share beliefs on which reasonable minds MAY differ.
posted by bunnycup at 1:45 PM on September 21, 2007


"That is to say, web-goddess, why is YOUR agreement with your husband to split up names among children any more valid than MY agreement with my husband that our family will share a name?"

Whoa whoa whoa! When did I say that my way was more valid? I was simply giving the details of my own decision, as lots of others have done. I was also annoyed at the implication somewhere upthread that someone would look askance at a family whose names didn't all match. I stand by my statement that that person would be an idiot.

What's more telling, frankly, is that you read my account of how I live MY life, and somehow turned it into a critique on YOU. I suspect this has something to do with your over the top defensive reactions here.
posted by web-goddess at 3:46 PM on September 21, 2007


The existence of feminism didn't put me in law school - studying for and excelling at the LSAT's did

right, so my mother not going to law school had nothing to do with the fact that in 1947 women were basically not ALLOWED to go to law school, she just didn't apply herself. As is obvious from the enormous number of women lawyers and doctors of her generation. I just didn't understand that the problem was, she was apparently stupid and lazy.

Bunnycup, you are unbelievably adversarial in your responses. You demanded an apology and then attacked me after I offered you a qualified one. You pointed out my stupidity in not understanding how enlightened all your friends are, and that you haven't gotten any flack from anyone. As if I should somehow know this. In case you didn't notice, I was trying to tone down the rhetoric. If you haven't gotten any flack from anyone, why are you so enraged about these comments?

If the author of the original article was a troll, you are right there with her. And I have to tell you if you think you got where you are on your own, you are fucking delusional.

and just to clarify. I wasn't lecturing before. Now I'm lecturing.
posted by nax at 4:15 PM on September 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


You know what? There is no "easier" if you're female and are committing to a man any more.

If you change your name (any variant of changing it), you have tons of paper work, new signature, new e-mail at work, blah blah hasslecakes, and you'll get crap about it for the rest of your life.

If you don't change it, you skip the paperwork hell (other than the joys of dealing with checks written to "Mr. and Mrs. Hislastname" at the bank), but most of the population insists that you changed your name no matter how many times you tell them you didn't, and you'll get crap about it for the rest of your life.

You just can't win. Grrrrrrrrrr.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:28 PM on September 21, 2007


Web-goddess: You said you share the author's point, saying "Like agregoli and several others here, I agree with the author's point but not her way of making it." Her point was that women who take their husband's names are (her word) stupid. I think agreeing that women who take their husband's name are stupid can fairly be read to imply an agreement on your part that my decision was invalid.

Nax, nothing you said can reasonable be interpreted as anything approaching an apology - your "qualified" apology was to say you felt bad for an unrelated / third-party scenario - one which does not in fact exist. If THAT is your view of a "qualified apology", whatever value could be given to the dubious nature of a qualified apology in the first place, you are mistaken. You at no point in any way, qualified or not, apologized for your inappropriate statements. As such, your "qualified apology", disingenous to say the BEST, was more offensive than your prior rhetoric - it's one thing to be obnoxious, but fully another to "fake' that the obnoxious was perfectly polite.

Your recurrent refusal to acknowledge that my personal achievements played any role in my getting into law schools (or my mothers for getting herself into law school, for that matter) is TRULY delusional. Next time I apply for a bar admission in another state, I'll be sure to point out to the bar committee that I needn't take the exam, as prior feminists made it possible for me to be a lawyer and I claim no personal involvement.

Finally, please show me where I purported to allege your "stupidity" in not predicting that my acquaintances are more enlightened than internet commenters. I re-read the comment, something perhaps you could step off your soapbox and take a moment to do, and it certainly implies nothing of the kind.

Finally, if behavior like yours is what you consider mainstream feminism to be, I am proud not to associate. Of course I'm adversarial, my perfectly valid choice is being attacked by a pack of hags who are trying to take credit for my hard-earned life achievements. If you had any achievements, that would piss you off too.
posted by bunnycup at 4:36 PM on September 21, 2007


Web-goddess: You said you share the author's point, saying "Like agregoli and several others here, I agree with the author's point but not her way of making it." Her point was that women who take their husband's names are (her word) stupid. I think agreeing that women who take their husband's name are stupid can fairly be read to imply an agreement on your part that my decision was invalid.

And, to escape your predictable defense that you DON'T feel it was "stupid" and that's what you meant by disagreeing with "her way of making it"...

Taken more broadly, her point was that women shouldn't change their names after they marry. If you agree with that, the main thesis of the article, you're denying validity to my decision. You are saying "I have the right to decide what to do with my name, but you don't".
posted by bunnycup at 4:38 PM on September 21, 2007


right, so my mother not going to law school had nothing to do with the fact that in 1947 women were basically not ALLOWED to go to law school,

Seriously, obviously you DO think it's this easy. Really? Are YOU saying that because feminists worked to allow women to go to law school, all I had to do is snap my non-manicured little fingers and I ended up with a law degree?

INSANE. Get over yourself.
posted by bunnycup at 4:39 PM on September 21, 2007


(Three posts in a row is too many, and I'm taking a walk!)
posted by bunnycup at 4:40 PM on September 21, 2007


Woah woah woah, since the patriarchy is apparently still in existence, despite the free law school advances of the feminists, why hasn't the old boys network given ME my free law degree? You guys are really slacking.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:17 AM on September 22, 2007


right, so my mother not going to law school had nothing to do with the fact that in 1947 women were basically not ALLOWED to go to law school,

Seriously, obviously you DO think it's this easy. Really? Are YOU saying that because feminists worked to allow women to go to law school, all I had to do is snap my non-manicured little fingers and I ended up with a law degree?


I don't see how you could possibly get that out of what nax wrote. When she says that feminists made it possible for you to go to law school, she's clearly assuming that you put in the appropriate work, effort, and intelligence to get into law school. Without that, no one gets into law school. What she's saying is that without the efforts of feminists, you probably wouldn't have been able to go to law school no matter how much you applied yourself (even if you worked ten times as hard and were ten times as intelligent as men who were able to go to law school).

I'm afraid you're the one who needs to get over yourself, bunnyfirecup. Take a deep breath and reread what nax has written without assuming that she's personally attacking you or the work you've put into your education.
posted by klausness at 4:22 AM on September 22, 2007


Klausness, THREE times she has denied my suggestion that MY efforts reasonably played some role in my successes. In addition, she HAS, expressly personally attacked me several times. I'm sorry, your both late, and wrong.
posted by bunnycup at 8:28 AM on September 22, 2007


Woah woah woah, since the patriarchy is apparently still in existence, despite the free law school advances of the feminists, why hasn't the old boys network given ME my free law degree? You guys are really slacking.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:17 AM on September 22 [+] [!]


This got me thinking while I was out shopping: Without those crusty old be-wigged men of the ancient patrimony, we would not even HAVE the western, organized practice of law, nor any law schools. But goddammit, nobody is giving them any credit for all their sacrifices!!!
posted by bunnycup at 12:43 PM on September 22, 2007


It's silly to take your husband's father's name and call it a family thing. First of all, you're breaking up your birth family. Second of all, it's only temporary anyway, till your daughters get married, follow your example, and have different names than you. At which point of course you will be less close to them because you won't have a familial name. Right...
posted by Salamandrous at 1:23 PM on September 22, 2007


Her name, her choice.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:51 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


This entire thread can and should be summed up by exactly what Alvy Ampersand has just said, which is in my opinion, the only right answer to the question (whichever way any woman decides for herself).
posted by bunnycup at 3:51 PM on September 22, 2007


I think women shouldn't have a choice about whether they change their name or not.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:19 PM on September 22, 2007


I don't see why you are categorically unable of respecting others' choices while asking that you yourself receive the same respect.

LOL! I absolutely respect your desire to do whatever the fuck you want with your name and have already stated so. My own feelings on the matter can be whatever I want them to be. And no where have I asked for respect. What on earth are you talking about?
posted by agregoli at 9:13 AM on September 24, 2007


Taken more broadly, her point was that women shouldn't change their names after they marry. If you agree with that, the main thesis of the article, you're denying validity to my decision. You are saying "I have the right to decide what to do with my name, but you don't".

Bullshit. I believe women shouldn't change their names after they get married because PERSONALLY, I don't see the point and I don't like the convention. But as I said originally in this thread, it's none of my business what a woman does with her name.

You're taking the expression of personal feelings on name changes incredibly personally. Aren't you secure enough in your decision to change your name that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks? That's how I feel about NOT changing my name, I don't see why the reverse should be any different.
posted by agregoli at 9:22 AM on September 24, 2007


It is NOT easier to change your name. Reason #1 why I didn't change my name when I got married is that I already had one passport and two visas in my maiden name. There was no way in hell that I was going to try to get all three replaced in a matter of a few weeks (when I had to go from country #1 to country #2 before proceeding a few months later to country #3). I'd already seen my mum struggling to get her passport issued in her maiden name (looking for marriage certificate, failing to find marriage certificate, getting new marriage certificate), and it took her a year and a half.

Reason #2 was that I didn't believe that I should change my name, but that was no where near as strong a reason as my desire to avoid more dealings with the beaurocracy of three different countries.
posted by jb at 7:31 AM on September 28, 2007


Actually, rereading the article, it was really funny. So is the response.

Why don't men change their names, if it is so important to both have the same last name?

(To be honest, I don't care what other people do, but I have had trouble with people refusing to accept my choice. The funniest was from HSBC, a bank which is based in China where women traditionally don't change their family names when they marry, and which currently advertises itself as being more multicultural and accepting of different practices than other banks. Except married couples with different last names - they couldn't handle that.)
posted by jb at 7:37 AM on September 28, 2007


Okay, this is a third comment, which is rude. But it's the bottom of a thread that has been quiet for days, so I will go on.

Both articles are light in tone, meant to be somewhat comical. But both do make me really think. My own husband has kind of insisted that our children all have his last name - he says that it would be "too confusing for society" if they had different names, even though I already have a different name.

Now, he has one very good reason to give his name preference over mine - sadly, due to the Holocaust, his last name is extremely rare. Mine is not common, but nowhere near as rare as his. I can accept this reason. But he has never considered naming some of our children with his name, and some with mine (allowing both to go on) - he was disturbed by the idea that siblings might have different names. And, despite the fact that his mother kept her last name (in the 70s even), all of the siblings have his father's name and the family is referred to collectively by his father's last name.

It's not something I might not push (naming our kids with his name), because his name is really important to him and mine is less important to me. But at the same time, it's clear that he, and many people around us who would all claim to be very gender liberal, all just think of children taking their father's name as the "easier choice", the "done thing", the "less confusing" thing to do, without realising that they are tacitly supporting an unequal system they don't even agree with.

Do I care enough to argue? Well, I care enough to post, and to verbally discuss it with him, and he acknowledges my points, even agrees we could name the girls with my name and the boys with his if I wanted to, though that is a reluctant agreement. But we don't have kids yet, and won't for a while.

His name is really cool. It is tempting. But at the same time, it's not my name.
posted by jb at 8:02 AM on September 28, 2007


And to add to my quadfecta of posts -- I think the most important thing she says is not that disaproves of changing names (which is her right to disaprove, and for people to ignore her), but that there is a lot of hypocrisy - that people who claim to want equality between the sexes just default to this basic inequality because it is easier.

"It's the mindless default setting, the convenient and flimsy excuses, the extreme defensiveness and the lack of rationality that's the worry."
posted by jb at 8:07 AM on September 28, 2007


Maybe she forgot that no woman owes her a "good reason" why they should change their name!
posted by bunnycup at 1:11 PM on September 28, 2007


Actually, agregoli, you said:

And it does bother me a little when women change their names. But I certainly don't scream at them about it. Their name, their business.

It doesn't bother ME when women DO change their names. It doesn't bother ME when they don't. That's what "it's none of MY business" means. Why on earth would it bother YOU? It has nothing to do with YOU? Arrogant!
posted by bunnycup at 1:34 PM on September 28, 2007


LOL, so you're still all fired up and hopping mad and not paying attention to what is written, huh?

I guess you're so superior that your feelings are the RIGHT feelings about the matter. It DOES bother me when women change their names because I consider it unnecessary and don't see the utility, myself. That's honesty.

That's my personal feeling and no matter how much you stamp your feet, I'm not going to change how I feel about something. I don't give anyone a hard time, I don't even raise an eyebrow when someone changes their name. Why should I give a fuck? Not my name.

I SAID it has nothing to do with me. I notice you left out the last line of my post.

"Their name, their business."

Hello? Earth to bunnycup? Why are you so insecure about how others feel about this? Especially people you've never even met?
posted by agregoli at 1:59 PM on September 28, 2007


Why should I give a fuck? Not my name.

I think your little snit is over this - that I keep saying why should I care - it's not my name yet saying it bothers me.

The convention of name-changing bothers me. It bothers me a LOT, actually, for many of the reasons posted here. I seperate that from the RIGHT of a person to do whatever they want with their own name, their own body, their own life.

An individual person? Not my business, why would I say anything? That's all that's required of me as a polite person. I can FEEL any way I want about it, including feeling disappointed or annoyed that someone wants to change their name purely for social convention (I've heard good arguments for name change, but the one that annoys me the most is "it's how it's done).

I am still laughing that you consider me arrogant for keeping my nose out of people's business but still having an opinion on that business. Isn't that what we're supposed to do as polite human beings if we disagree with something?
posted by agregoli at 2:06 PM on September 28, 2007


Agregoli, you must have a dissociative personality disorder - either it BOTHERS you incredibly deeply what other people do and you think it's appropriate to harangue them about it, OR you think it's "their name, their business". The arrogance is in consistenty saying you are doing one very nice thing to sort of appear like a good girl, but actually acting like an intolerant nitwit. And yet repeatedly you insist that's not at all what you're doing, and that you have some logical basis for it.

Why should any woman owe you - or this Deveny twit - any justification or reason for changing her name? Who are you to need to know why she did it or not? I had a discussion last night with a close family member who also recently married, and asked her if she changed her name - she did, and thought I would be upset. I revealed I'd done so as well - we both just WANTED TO. And you WANTED NOT TO. Who needs to know more??? Women who chose not to, owe no explanation to the world, and women who choose to change, owe you and Deveny a good reason for it??? PATHETIC, and, yes ARROGANT. I've seen repeatedly from your "mouth" and others here that the issue that bothers you most is "why" women do it. And to any woman who feels that way, I offer up the perfectly reasonable challenge to show me why on EARTH any woman owes your blessed butt a single word of explanation, or why on earth silly, stupid women think it's useful and appropriate to make judgments of other women.

Distinguish that, if you've reached the kind of cognitive level that allows you to think critically and read with comprehension, from a point of view that rests at "any woman should do what she wants with her name, and no OTHER WOMAN (any more or less than any other man) has the right to shriek about it". Looking at the level of your discourse to date, I suspect your tantrum results from an inability to distinguish that. I draw this conclusion because, oh a week later, you're consistently returning to apparently argue with my point of view, which has been repeatedly stated in short sentences simple enough for someone like you.

And frankly, I have every right to think women who care so much about what others do with their names are little, obsessive, bossy twits who have absolutely no value to me, females generally, or the advancement of any kind of real, legitimate, useful equivalency. If YOU are feminism, if Nax is feminism, if Deveny is feminism (and I've seen arguments she doesn't represent the mainstream, but an AWFUL lot of agreement with her too), we are in for trouble as women because we're being "led" by airheads.
posted by bunnycup at 6:37 AM on September 29, 2007


I offer up the perfectly reasonable challenge to show me why on EARTH any woman owes your blessed butt a single word of explanation, or why on earth silly, stupid women think it's useful and appropriate to make judgments of other women.

You're making judgments of other women.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:06 AM on September 29, 2007


Agregoli, you must have a dissociative personality disorder - either it BOTHERS you incredibly deeply what other people do and you think it's appropriate to harangue them about it, OR you think it's "their name, their business".

LOL! You just keep getting funnier and funnier. Now you're diagnosing me with psychiatric conditions because I don't like a sexist social convention? Get a freaking grip. I'd hate to know what kinds of problems YOU have to get this unhinged about someone else's opinion.

The arrogance is in consistenty saying you are doing one very nice thing to sort of appear like a good girl, but actually acting like an intolerant nitwit. And yet repeatedly you insist that's not at all what you're doing, and that you have some logical basis for it.

Yes, you're right. It's all my fault you can't deal with the fact that everyone doesn't pat you on the head for changing your name. Why do YOU care so much what I think?

Why should any woman owe you - or this Deveny twit - any justification or reason for changing her name? Who are you to need to know why she did it or not?

No one owes me any justification, and neither did I say they did. I don't need to know why they did it. Yay assumptions! Assumptions! Assumptions! Stop foaming at the mouth.

I had a discussion last night with a close family member who also recently married, and asked her if she changed her name - she did, and thought I would be upset. I revealed I'd done so as well - we both just WANTED TO. And you WANTED NOT TO. Who needs to know more???

Which is great. As I said, do whatever the fuck you want with your name. I am not the boss of you, nor am I trying to be. Why are you so upset? Frankly, knowing a woman's reasons for changing her name IS very useful in a DISCUSSION ABOUT NAME CHANGING, which is what we were having. Perfectly valid to talk about here, in metafilter. None of anyone's business in real life. See the difference? No, of course you don't.

Distinguish that, if you've reached the kind of cognitive level that allows you to think critically and read with comprehension, from a point of view that rests at "any woman should do what she wants with her name, and no OTHER WOMAN (any more or less than any other man) has the right to shriek about it". Looking at the level of your discourse to date, I suspect your tantrum results from an inability to distinguish that.

LOL! I am fucking DYING over here. MY tantrum? You're the one shrieking like a freaking harpy over here at everyone who doesn't agree with your irrational attempts of explanations about how no one gets to have an opinion on the CULTURAL aspect of name changing. On the SOCIAL CONVENTION. I can comment on that without talking about your personal choice. That's what this site is all about - we're talking about issues. This is a valid issue to discuss. It's sad you have to make it all about you. It's not about you at all.

Also, your points would go a lot farther if you weren't so fucking rude about it. You sound absolutely hysterical screaming over this, calling people names, being a real psycho. What's the point of that? How is that in the spirit of Metafilter?

I draw this conclusion because, oh a week later, you're consistently returning to apparently argue with my point of view, which has been repeatedly stated in short sentences simple enough for someone like you.

Your point of view? You've called me name upon name, insisted that I'm doing things I'm not, and been incredibly rude for no reason I can discern. If you really want people to listen to you, you should tone down the freak-out. I am telling you that I have a right to my opinion about the social convention of name changing. Just like everyone else here. Yet since I've replied to you, I'm the demon. Other people have felt how I have on this thread.

And frankly, I have every right to think women who care so much about what others do with their names are little, obsessive, bossy twits who have absolutely no value to me, females generally, or the advancement of any kind of real, legitimate, useful equivalency.

And I have a right to feel sorry for you that you can't have a normal, rational discussion on the likes of metafilter without raising your blood pressure to an unseemly level. Name-calling and freak outs of this nature are really ridiculous. LOL, I'm still laughing - I have no value at all, everybody! Oh boo hoo, I'm going to go cry about it.

If YOU are feminism, if Nax is feminism, if Deveny is feminism (and I've seen arguments she doesn't represent the mainstream, but an AWFUL lot of agreement with her too), we are in for trouble as women because we're being "led" by airheads.

Yay! I'm an airhead too! At least I'm not a psycho.

I offer up the perfectly reasonable challenge to show me why on EARTH any woman owes your blessed butt a single word of explanation, or why on earth silly, stupid women think it's useful and appropriate to make judgments of other women.

You're making judgments of other women.


Your are also making judgments of other women, since I'm an airhead twit because I have a different opinion than you. Pot meets the kettle and they're both black.

Oh sweetie. Please learn some social skills and how to have a calm discussion. You're WAY off the deep end and it's really not worth talking to you if this is the only way you can make your points.

Ta-ta! =)
posted by agregoli at 8:18 AM on October 1, 2007


Sooooo....you changed your mind, again?

One day it bothers you if women change their name, and I pointed out that's irrational and arrogant. Next day it only bothers you when they don't have a good REASON for it, and I point out nobody owes you an explanation. So the next day you say you NEVER SAID that. You've made several contradictory statements - it BOTHERS you, but you don't CARE? How does that WORK exactly? Maybe you should ask your HUSBAND or your FATHER to explain it to you in teeny little words, just the one at a time. Obviously I used too many...

The only "discussion" point you've now brought to the table is (and I paraphrase) "I'm not vaccilating wildly", "I'm not an airhead twit" and "you're funny"? Oh honeybunbabything, excuse me for....nothing? Is this a discussion? Oh siwwy wittle pickepie, do you have a clue? It's hard to tell by your last statement, a word-by-word, line-by-line "no I'm not" to every single negative thing said about you. I fail to be persuaded.

Ta-ta! =)

Uhm, I'll just assume you can come up with some cutesey closing baby talk to insert here for me (really DOES raise your level of discourse, I assure you) - that seems to be your strong point, dear. There see, I can say something nice about you! You spin baby talk and nonsense like a PRO!
posted by bunnycup at 4:42 AM on October 3, 2007


*Yawn.* Let me know when you're willing to talk like a grown-up yourself, you judgemental weirdo.
posted by agregoli at 6:49 AM on October 3, 2007


I'd try, but grown-up talk was WAY over your head, you judgemental weirdo.
posted by bunnycup at 8:14 AM on October 3, 2007


LOL. You're so cute!

Pat-pat on your little baby head.
posted by agregoli at 8:20 AM on October 3, 2007


Metafilter: Best of Agregoli's hot baby talk skillz.
posted by bunnycup at 10:36 AM on October 3, 2007


Maybe it bothers some people (like myself and agregoli) because it does represent a submersion of the female identity into the male, and this bothers us. As the articles point out, people make flimsy excuses, but the basic reason is "it's just easier" (aka society expects us to). Which I don't feel is a particularly good reason when that expectation is based on a history of sexism. Certainly it bothers me that a large part of society still makes it difficult for women who have excercised their choice not to change their name.

I'm also very bothered by the Muslim custom that women practice hijab, while men do not. If men also covered their heads (or their whole bodies), it would not bother me at all, but the fact that only women do so gives lie to the claim that it isn't a sexist practice. It is a sexist practice - women's freedom in what to wear is restricted (whether by law or by social pressure), while that of men is not.

However, I also believe that women should be allowed to wear hijab, and should not be prevented from doing so against their will, and I'm very angry at governments like that in France which has tried to restrict the hijab.

But that doesn't mean I have to be silent about my opinion - I will continue to express my opinion and the reasons I hold this opinion - and maybe someone who disagrees with me (whether on name changing or on hijab) will listen to me and change their mind, or maybe they won't.

It is their right to make that choice - but that does not abrogate my right to express my opinion in the hopes of affecting that choice. Everyday people make choices, and I believe that we should talk about why we make our choices, and whether they are the best choices for our society.

Other examples (if it's not yet obvious to all) - I can disaprove of people voting a certain way, and express that disaproval, even buy television ads, and yet, still believe that they have a right to vote as they wish.

Free speech and freedom of choice are not incompatible, at least not in my country. I would hate to live in a country where they were.
posted by jb at 5:22 AM on October 5, 2007


Freedom of speech protects a LOT of harmful, inappropriate, mean-spirited speech.
posted by bunnycup at 5:52 AM on October 7, 2007


Freedom of speech protects a LOT of harmful, inappropriate, mean-spirited speech.

And saying that you disagree with a certain practice and that it bothers you, but you believe in the right for other people to make their own choices is "harmful, inappropriate, [and] mean-spirited" in what way?
posted by jb at 10:23 AM on October 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


JB, I have answered why I think criticizing other women for changing their names is harmful, inappropriate and mean-spirited in this thread SO MANY times and in so many ways that even I am sick of talking about it - rather than wasting my time, please just see above. I understand you have a rhetorical point you want to score, but that's the problem with "the constitution says I can say what I want" arguments - they make no claim about the merits of your underlying viewpoint, and those who disagree are equally entitled to their own view. Just as the constitution protects your right to make judgments about the name women choose to use for themselves, it protects my right to think that your doing so is harmful, inappropriate and mean-spirited. I wouldn't want a friend who acted like that!
posted by bunnycup at 11:52 AM on October 7, 2007


Actually, I'm not an American, so I have no constitutional point to make.

I have a moral point to make - that sometimes one's conscience means that one should say things that make someone else unhappy because gasp! someone disagrees with them.

To be honest, this particular issue is not one that would bother my conscience as much as many others. I would never, for example, express my disaproval to a friend who did change their name to their face. (It is, of course, entirely different from discussing our feelings in a space which has been set aside for the discussing of the issue, as this thread has been. Statements here are not personal, and should not be interpreted as such.)

The original statement, which you are so heated about, was that agregoli said that it "bothered her", but that she would not impose her will. She didn't say "women who change their names are EVIL", she said that a certain practice "bothered" her. I'm personally "bothered" by infant baptism, which is no crticism of the Catholic religion (as well as many others), but an expression that I simply do not like a certain practice.

Actually, I do believe that you are the person who has been calling people names in this discussion.

Now, the original article was not even about how the author was bothered by the practice, but how she was bothered by the practice which continued to be carried out by people who claimed to believe in equality but who still chose to take an action which is very symbolically loaded. Of course it is symbolically loaded, or feelings would not ride so high. I think the author's points were very valid - that people like to pretend that we are all equal, but men are unwilling to change their names. (She wasn't even against name-changing, just the almost universal expectation that it would be the woman who did so.)
posted by jb at 5:07 AM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Again, I repeat because you don't seem to have heard it the first time, you are absolutely WELCOME to feel that criticism of other women's personal choices is valuable and important to you, and a personality trait that should be respected by others. Likewise, I will continue to feel that the neurons it takes to allow you to feel that way would be better wasted on teaching algebra to cats.

What more needs to be said?
posted by bunnycup at 4:57 PM on October 10, 2007


I feel bad that you can't let it go that people have different opinions than you - and that it's wrong for them to express those opinions when talking about that subject.

But after seeing some of your other comments on the site, it's clear you have a lot of stress in your life so I hope things get easier for you soon. Peace! =)
posted by agregoli at 2:07 PM on October 15, 2007


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