I think I don’t know half the girls on my Facebook friends list. Their names do ring a bell, but they don’t register. I wait for a split-second and then it occurs to me, that those girls are now married women and hence the confusion.
It is weird that you know someone since kindergarten, and suddenly, the second half of their name doesn’t seem as familiar as the first. I agree Facebook is the last place where the so called mandatory ‘name-change’ is required. But still, over 90% of my married girl-friends have either completely given up their maiden name, or appended a new one.
I don’t really understand the “ifs” and the “buts” involved. For me, the “whys” and the “hows” don’t really matter. I only see it as an identity crisis more than anything else.
What shocks me is how one can take up a new name just because of a new relationship in life, no matter how much the relationship is worth.
My views may differ from Indian culture and values, where a man is given the status of a demi-god and accepting his name seems to be a natural choice for many. But then I wonder that these self proclaimed gods are the ones who are molesting, raping and harassing women everyday.
While some show an initial resistance to giving up their maiden name, they eventually give it up for the sake of their relationship or their new mom and dad’s unending tantrums. Others do it as an obligation towards the man or out of love (which, I think is the crappiest of all reasons because hey, how does a sentiment change according to my name, really?) And if it is love, why is only the woman expected to sacrifice everything, including a name that is truly hers and hers alone?
I tried to look up the origins of this silly name-game but couldn’t find much. The only information I could gather from God Google was “How to change your name after marriage”. But I was determined enough, not to give up. I tried harder, used a complex mix of words, and finally got some bits of information. Now, the interesting point is, the reasons why women chose to change their name after marriage were pretty understandable for the age during which this practice started. But these reasons are futile now, and we still follow ‘traditions’ blindly, without questioning why we are doing it.
Many many centuries ago, when women were mere show-pieces without an identity of their own, it was natural for them to take up the name of the man they were married to. Moreover, there were no ways to prove paternity, so the child had to adopt the father’s name for the world to know, whose child he is. And this was possible, only if the mother took up the man’s name as well. The third reason was more religious and historical, which was nothing more than a tradition that was being followed for ages. Not to mention that inheritance of property was another reason, as only a child with a father’s name was the legal heir.
But none of these reasons exist today.
I fail to understand how anyone who has been living with a certain name, her entire life, chose or accepted to be, someone else. Was her name, just a placeholder all this time? Doesn’t it hurt to have a name, which is different from your brothers and unmarried sisters?
And, then they say, it is just a name, so change it to prove that you accept your new clan. I say, if it is just a name, then why bother to change and why the hell is a proof of acceptance required?
Thankfully, a few months ago Bombay High Court amended a rule under the Family Courts Act that now gives married women the option toretain their maiden name, if they choose to do so, even for legal marriage related proceedings. This comes as a breeze of fresh air, in a country polluted with bias against women. They worship a million goddesses, but don’t have any respect for their own women here.
Women who choose to be different and stand up for what they believe in, are labelled as feminists. Apparently, it is okay if women choose to be a doormat. But the moment, they raise their voice, it becomes an unacceptable crime. Still, there are few who have had the guts to stand for what they believe in and keep their identities constant. To name a famous few, Kalki Koechlin, Farah Khan etc have chosen to cling to their maiden names, but that is easier for celebrities than woman like you and me. But, anyhow they have started a new tradition, and those who believe in it, would find their way out of all the mess and keep with them, their treasured names.
All for the namesake, the entire identity of a woman stays tied to her husband even in today’s age when she is perfectly capable of everything a man can and cannot do.
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