Saturday, October 19, 2013

Should Lindy West Change Her Name?

Sometimes life imitates The Onion.

Pity Lindy West. She’s a feminist who wants to get married and to take her future husband’s name.

This is tormenting her, first, because it is not the feministically correct thing to do and, second, because her current boyfriend would never allow it.

In West’s words:

However, here's where this gets complicated—here's why "tradition" is an insidious concept and why feminism is a beautifully nuanced discipline—I, Lindy West, despite all of the above, personally find the idea of taking my future husband's name kind of...romantic. I would probably do it if he would let me (doubtful, though—my current boyfriend takes a way more hardline feminist stance on this than I do). The thought of taking the right person's name doesn't feel mandatory, but it does feel good. Even though I know, intellectually, the shitty implications of becoming Mrs. Husband, I love the idea of becoming one family with one name. … And anyway, even if I could, I’m not sure that I want to escape the instinct to mould my future family into the shape of the family I came from. No amount of critical thinking about our warped, oppressive system can change the fact that I grew up in it and feel its pull in my cells. I do want to be like my parents. I just want to do it on my terms.

I’m not sure that this makes feminism seem more nuanced. I am sure that feminism is not a discipline.

West is telling us that she would like to get married, but that her feminism is confusing her.

According to feminist ideology taking a man’s name makes a woman his property. And yet, taking his name, West correctly observes, has a logic of its own. A family where husband and wife and children all have the same name feels a bit more united than a family where one member has a different name. It may have been associated with objectionable practices but the custom has a logic that surpasses patriarchal possession.

Feminist West has developed a relationship with a male feminist—aka an oxymoron—and tells us that said male feminist would, if he were to marry her, refuse to allow her to take his name.

I suppose that this explains why some men become feminists. They can impose their will on their mates with impunity. Keep in mind: West's article says that men who insist that a woman change her name make bad husbands. What about men who insist that a woman not change her name? 

Oppression by any other name would smell as rancid.

Feminism creates unnecessary difficulties. Call it nuance, if you like. It’s the price of trying to make your life conform to an ideology.

James Taranto summed up the feminist dilemma well:

The preferred feminist convention is for the woman to continue using her father's name as a statement against patriarchy.

Now you know why the sisterhood is confounding.


Dennis said...

I always find this stuff humorous. No matter what they do they are taking a male's name. A very simply idea to make sure men are held legally responsible for their families and the children that are a central part of that family.
There was a time when I thought feminism could not become any sillier. There was a move to remove any thing that might denote gender. Since that included words like son, et al and a lot of vowels it sort of died. This is how "woymn" came about. Have you seen that word used lately?
Can one imagine how silly this sounds to women who are really discriminated against? This is a disease of upper middle and upper class women who have nothing better to think about. They don't want equality they want superiority.
One might be forgiven for wondering how these supposedly "strong" women are so fragile that they want to make almost everything sexual harassment. It would seem that they lack the wherewithal to stand their own ground, be responsible for their bodies, be adult enough to know when to stop drinking and know that the world can be a place where one has to think about the bad things that can happen.
I really like, and have loved a few , women, but detest most feminists because they are never what they profess to be. It appears that the only time they take responsibility for their actions is when credit is due otherwise it is a man's fault.
From Webutante's earlier comment it would seem that feminists are NOT representative of most real women who do have the wherewithal to be strong and face the challenges without whining. She makes a point I have been alluding to on various occasions. Women are great people who are as interested in succeeding as men and just as interested in being with the men they love as well.

Mark said...

Her twerp of a fiancé should therefore take her (father's) name or possibly her mother's (father's) name.

Leo G said...

Then there is this

Lastango said...

Taranto wonders, "What logical conclusion is there other than that what she really wants is a dominant man?"

Here's one other logical conclusion: the guy she wants to marry has his fingers crossed behind his back. He's contriving artificial, permanent distance. There are endless possible reasons and motives, and here's a sample of three:

-- He realizes marrying a feminist is a minefield, and that his prospective mate will probably one day (in the name of wymnhood, bien entendu) dynamite the family. Until that almost-inevitable demolition, he'll be keeping things as clean as he can.

-- He intends to live apart together. He'll use her to produce progeny, but his real life (i.e. his sources of intellectual and spiritual stimulation, of zeitgeist and pizzazz) will be found elsewhere. When she's not present, she won't exist. In a direct extension of his insistence she keep her own name, he'll spin this as his respect for her right to live her own life and pursue her own interests amid her own friends and colleagues. In fact, he'll demand she do all of these. Being thick as a brick, she'll think it's all because he's far beyond her in understanding how to deconstruct patriarchal society.

-- He's not a family man. Here's Amanda Marcotte on the the uselessness of feminist men: "There are few totally feminist guys - many of whom, in my experience, aren’t really into having kids anyway, which makes it a lot easier for them not to lean on their privilege." Yup - he's a metroboy who doesn't really have a dog in this fight, and doesn't want to. He's not going to get married, he's going to get "married", a concept written in the sand in ironic progressivist script.

Perhaps some university researcher can rub these two dipshlits together to find out, on a Mohs scale, which is denser.

sestamibi said...

Not taking my last name would have been a deal-breaker for me, but when I raised the issue (in a non-confrontational way in a discussion about something else), she simply said "OK".

Married almost 17 years now, two beautiful kids.