Catherine Deveny fan club

Yes, I’ve joined. Actually, it was my doctor who suggested I have a look at one of her opinion pieces “Why do some wives still change their names?

If people really believe that mum, dad and the kids having the same surname is easier, why doesn’t the guy change his name? Why don’t they flip a coin and it’s heads we go for her surname and tails we go for his? Because it is not about it being easier. It makes me despair. We’ve come all this way and we’re still here.

Many women will say that their husbands wanted them to change their surname. So they did. Here’s a flash for you sister: if you do everything that your husband wants you to do, you may find yourself teetering round in a pair of stilettos and an apron all day saying, “Shall I fix some more food for you and the boys?”, or wearing a burqa.

It is a bit odd that in the 21st century we’re still feeling pressured to do strange things like name ourselves as property.

Naming rites has the online discussion of the article. Interesting reading.

Why not adopt the Hispanic system: ie with both the father’s name and the mother’s name so for example Aranxa Sanchez Vicario or Pablo Ruiz Picasso ( he dropped the Ruiz because it is such a common name and as his name became so widely known it was the name he was identified with ).
Notice that in general there are no hyphens, dashes etc just two names equally representing the genetic input of each side.

That makes more sense than fighting it out over ownership.

The question that was put to me was, why is this such a hot issue? Dr Pete was really amused that of all the things Deveny has written, such as a really heated piece about women bishops banned one day but okay the next, in which she brilliantly tackles the manner in which religious leaders are free to interpret the bits and pieces of biblical tradition that suit them, why was she being so criticised for reminding people that it is possible for a man to take his wife’s name?

The problem is that naming rites cut to the heart of male privilege in a patriarchal society. The die hard refusal to change such traditions, or even question them, comes from those clinging to the last vestiges of a sadly outdated but unfortunately still way too healthy misogynist tendency in Australian culture.

But now that women outnumber men in Aus, shouldn’t we be the norm? Shouldn’t we be considered human?

Of course it wasn’t long before the next question came up, why bother getting married at all? And the way fundamentalists portray marriage, that by marrying a woman consents to sex and therefore can’t claim she was ever raped, well, why indeed would you ever get married?


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