The Name Game, (Why I took my husbands name)

It’s 2019 and I just got married a couple of months ago. Being a feminist is “trend”, and if you give the hint of being anything else, you might even be considered a female demon for its gender.

So, around the time when we started filing for our marriage certificate and we had to state the future family name, people would ask me constantly which name I was going to take. Well, first of all, I was still going to be Karen…. Who cares about the last name? That’s only for documents and my bank, I thought.

However, Dan and I talked a lot about the issue. We were discussing possibilities. He takes my name, I take his name, He keeps his and I keep mine, I use both…. It was like playing the name game: Karen- Karen, Bo Baren, Banana Fana Fo Faren, Fi Fy Mo Maren – Karen.

But with two names, each consisting of 4 Syllables, both more of a tongue twister, The Name Game seemed impossible, or can you think of how to play the name game with Malinowski-O’Shaughnessy? Even Shirley Ellis would have had her difficulties, – “There isn’t any name, that you can rhyme”? I found it!

Due to our cultural background and the future we were planning for ourselves, there was only one name, that we both felt was the right fit, though. It was his.

When I told people this, I got all kinds of reactions, mostly negative. In the beginning I felt the initial need to defend myself, that if we had kids, that would be easier – many people left it at that. Until it turns out that a colleague had a different name than her family and she had “oh, no problems at all”, …”it’s so important to keep your own identity bla bla…, especially as a feminist, bla bla!”  Well, good for you Darling, but not for me, alright?

First of all, I am for equal rights for anyone, I personally don’t feel like I need to label it. Calling myself a feminist will not change what I stand for, not calling myself a feminist won’t do that either. In my last job I had a boss, who pranced around calling herself a feminist, and used the title almost like a sachet around her neck. It was very off putting.

What’s the big whoop? Why the label? Especially if you feel so desperate to use them, it seems almost like you need to emphasize you are one. I made the experience, if people call themselves special, they usually aren’t.

Feminism should advocate one thing: Everyone should have the choice. No matter what that choice should be, you can decide without being judged for that. Would anyone question a man’s decision to keep his name?

Same thing with stay-at home moms, housewives, women that decide to marry rich and not work, but instead decide to pursue the nurturing of their beauty or women that decide to work in a “girly” job like fashion or decide to study chemical polymer science and develop new organic substances (shout out to my home girl Ines, GG!). We should all have the choice. It’s important that we don’t make this decision because we feel we have to, but because we WANT to.

Being a feminist is having the choice of what you want to do, and then act on it without judgement. However, in my case, I almost felt like I was frowned upon for giving up my maiden name. I don’t feel like I gave up anything, my maiden name will forever be my name. It will forever be in my passport, forever on my mind, and most and for all, forever in my heart, I will forever be a “Mali”-Diva, as the women in my family call themselves (word play on the german word for the Maldive Islands), no matter what happens in the future. No one can take that away from me.

Therefore, in the end, I took my husband’s name. I want to have the same name as him, no matter which one that be, we could call ourselves the Elvis-Troup, for all I care.  I want to be a unit, a team, and a team has a name. And for me, that was the same last name. Other people can do what they want, but I did it this way- My decision.

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