Opinion

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet...

by
February 19, 2018

CALM down people, it’s still me.

A new journalist hasn’t taken over my column.

No, I haven’t remarried and I am not using an alias because all of Echuca’s criminals are after me.

Although that could seriously happen.

I have simply gone back to my maiden name — Jensen.

A name I have always loved and never wanted to lose in the first place.

But I was young and naive and it seemed the done thing.

And I guess I kept it all these years for my daughters’ sakes.

However, that doesn’t seem to be an issue any more — with Ayla recently asking me ‘why do you still have dad’s last name if you’re not married to him any more?’

Good question Ayla. But the better question is ‘why did I change it in the first place?’

I know I might attract some hate mail from the men and traditionalists out there, but thank God for freedom of speech, right?

Why is that we, as women, feel the need to change our surnames to that of our husband’s?

In Australia, more than 80 per cent of women take their husband’s surname.

Which seems absurd for the era in which we are living.

The era of female empowerment and equal opportunity.

Isn’t marriage an equal partnership?

Women changing their surname when they marry is a medieval tradition — stemming from the time when women were treated by men as property.

But that notion is long gone. I hope.

I asked some of my married friends why they chose to take their husband’s name and the answers included ‘‘so we all have the same surname’’, ‘‘that’s what has always been done’’, ‘‘it makes us a family’’, ‘‘it’s the traditional thing to do’’ and ‘‘I hate my surname’’.

Half of these could easily apply to men, while the other reasons are just out of date.

It’s like continuing to use a Walkman or filling your roof with asbestos because ‘that’s what we’ve always done’.

Time moves on. Things change. We evolve.

Comedian, writer and professional speaker Catherine Deveny wrote ‘choices like taking your husband’s surname reinforce outdated and oppressive stereotypes. Abuse and oppression of women is entwined with men feeling ownership of women’.

This may seem extreme to some, but I believe it is just another way for men to show their dominance over women.

And that’s not cool.

So, unless your surname is Hooker, Dick or Crapper, there really is no excuse not to keep the last name you were born with.

My biggest problem now, however, will be remembering my signature.

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