In the Blog

Identity theft

December 13th, 2007     by Catherine Hayday     Comments

I will at some point discuss here my experiences, demons, and obstacles around being a feminist who got married. But in the interim, a related rant…

I am considering changing my last name. I am currently undecided. There are many things I like about changing my name, and many I don’t. I’ve done the Grade 4 test, and it was positive — I do in fact like my signature using his last name. But that is fluff. My list of pros and cons is much more substantial and much more confusing. At the moment, as I sit in the 3-month limbo before we get our marriage certificate and I decide officially, isolated events tip me wildly back and forth between wanting to change my name, and wanting to tattoo my ‘real’ name on my forehead so that people don’t forget.

The most recent event, and the one that has me heading to the tattoo parlour, is getting mail addressed to “Mr & Mrs [his initial] [his last name]”.

WTF people. W.T.F. I made a public commitment to be with someone, I didn’t disappear.

I’m amazed that this still happens. In part it’s attributable to a generation gap — people a couple of generations older than me think of this as a formal way of addressing a couple. There is no malice intended, and I doubt there is much thought around it at all. But I’m shocked at how many people my parents age, and even younger, think nothing of addressing post this way. And without the excuse of generational differences are the telemarketers, who are also extremely guilty of this practice: “Is Mr or Mrs [his first name] [his last name] available?”

Many women I know who have changed their last name have not felt that it impacted their sense of their identity because they identified more strongly with their first name than their last. But choosing to take your partner’s last name (in either direction) is not the same as saying ‘call me whatever’.

I have a very short catalogue of hardcore peeves in this world. But having /my name/ completely wiped away — without consulting me and as if it were no big deal? That’s going on the list.

Tags: in my opinion...

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