Friday, September 12, 2008

Sexist?

I mentioned it in a comment, but I don't think anyone would really read it. (nor do I think many are even reading me anymore. I've lost so many of my readers, barely a handful of comments now. I'm so sad! But, alas, I'll continue to type.)

It really bugs me when I hear "My husband really wants a boy to carry on the family name." This includes my own husband. He's an only child, so if the name is to survive with his lineage, a boy needed to be born.

Okay, I get that. I get that men want that. But why is it ~not~ important for the majority of women? None of my brothers had a son. In fact, only one of 3 (technically 4, but he doesn't have our last name) even had a child, which was a girl. So my family name "died" with my generation.

It wasn't the end of the world for us though. As a women, I took on my husband's last name without a second thought. I'm traditional in that way and for me, it was the only decision, as is the same for the majority of women. I understand that a woman can keep her name or hyphenate it, giving her children her name, but that's not my point here. If it's important to you, that's great. It wasn't important to me, hence I didn't do it.

My point is why is it ~so~ important to men but for women, it's so blase? Why do men base so much importance on passing on their name, yet don't blink when their wife gives up her name in a blink of an eye?

42 comments:

alison said...

I think you might be making a tad of a blanket statement by saying "men". My husband doesn't give a crap about carrying on the last name. And my maiden name wasn't something I was too tied to (I took his name as well). We're more about the here and now and the future, I guess, rather than trying to pull past traditions forward. Not that there's anything wrong with that, we're just not that typical family.

Poltzie said...

Actually my family is huge but there is only one person to carry on the name so it was really important to me that it not die, so important that my son's first name is my maiden name.
I think with men it's the whole sowing their oats thing, women just don't care that much.

Lilith Silvermane said...

It infuriates me! I hate it, it ticks me off. Want to know why? Heck yes I'll vent, thank you for letting me, that is why I *heart* you.

* The family name used to be based on women. Why? Because there is only one guaranteed bloodline, the woman's, because previously there was no way to tell who the father was, the woman was guaranteed.

* It is as if the last name carries on a title. We are NOT nobility anymore (well... some of us are cooler than others, but that doesn't mean that we get to do anything neato with it!). It's an antiquated idea.

My last boyfriend was the same way. His family name dies with him. (His brother is gay, so children aren't looking probable) He had two daughters...both with his last name. He said that he wanted one of the them to have a child out of wedlock so they can pass on the name.
Not that it's a horrific idea, but COME ON! I want her to be happy, regardless of a stupid name.

My last daughters name is Suzanne Bastien-Eulaulia, Bastien is my last name. I did put it in there, because he demanded that my last name not be her's. Grrr...

Ok, I'm done venting, My idea on it...

It's stupid!

I'm done... ready for the rage from people on this one! *hugs*

Kaci said...

I think women grow up expecting to eventually change their last name, so it isn't something we become attached to, but men are live and die with the same name, so they form more of an attachment.

Ok, that's BS, I really have no clue. I don't think David cared, but he's not the only male child in his family.

soapchick said...

Still reading, but just been too damn busy this week for any commenting!!! I work in IT services as well and when it rains it pours!

Believe it or not my husband doesn't care about having a boy to carry on the name. I was so surprised considering how important his Italian heritage is to him.

Lori said...

I don't think I even KNOW a woman who has "her own name." I mean, what would that be?

The one she got from her HUSBAND?

The one she got from her FATHER?

I'd like to know more about what Lilith says...maybe I'll ask her tonight and Mama's Night Out.

(except that I choked on the words "guaranteed blood line")

Mrslady1975 said...

I actually ponder this alot. When dbf and I talk about our future kids and their names, we talked about what last name to give them and why. He wanted a boy to have his last name but was ok if I wanted to give our girl my last name. I told him if we marry, I would have no problem changing my last name but what out any kids we have before we marry? Man, now I am going to have to chew on this for a while.

Jendeis said...

An interesting discussion. For me, it was important to keep my maiden name in some part because I felt that it was part of my identity - that I was a whole person before marrying my husband (not that you are not a whole person if you take your husband's last name, just this is how it felt to me). I did not want to hypenate, but always liked the way that Hilary did her name, so I did the same thing - taking my maiden name as a second middle name. Now, I'm Jendeis Maiden Married, but introduce myself as Jendeis Married.

Also, since I work in a family business, having my maiden name inside my new name helps to open doors that might otherwise be closed.

(Warning: can't say the following without it being a run-on sentence): John Dear is the only boy in his family, and since his father was adopted, JD feels like he and his father are the only two in the line, so it's important to JD, that our children carry on JD's last name (boys or girls).

Tarable said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah R said...

I have always wondered that too. A name is just a name, really.

The GENES are still carrying on, whether it's a boy or a girl. *shrug*

Christina said...

This is totally an old fashion thing, I think anyway. My madien name ended with me. My parents hoped that I would hypenate my name but since they decided to give me a long first name to go with our long last name I just couldn't see hyphenating it for my family so that our name would live on. (if I had hypehnated my name I'd have over 40 letters in it)

chicklet said...

Thankfully I have me a husband who doesn't care about that. However, what he did care about, was me taking on his last name.

Uh, that coulda been cuz I still had my ex-husband's last name (I never went back to my maiden name after I divorced his sorry ass cuz he had a better name) though, which makes a bunch of sense to not want to be married to a chick who was willing to take her ex's last name but not yours.

dianam17 said...

I guess i have sort of a weird experience with this. I have never thought of it really b/c how screwed up my family (& now DHs is).

I do not speak with my father's side of the family. This has gone on since i was 17. i could not wait for the day to be married for many reasons of course, as well as to get rid of the only thing left from my father's side of the family. i had one male cousin on that side, he sadly passed away after having gastric bypass surgery, and now there is no one to carry on their last name at all.

as for my DH, he also does not speak to his dad or that side of his family. he hates his last name and feels bad he had to give it to me.

so i think for both of us, the sex of the baby and what gets passed on isnt a big deal for us.

diana (webmd)

Tara said...

Well your last two posts have touched a nerve with me!

On your last post - I'm so glad to hear you say that finding out the gender of the baby while in utero does NOT take away from the birthing experience. I had wanted to find out all along but had SO MANY people tell me that I would be "ruining" the surprise and that I should wait til the "big day" to find out. I went ahead and found out anyways and it was the most awesome and exciting day ever and I can't imagine I have ruined anything for myself. I'm really glad to have found out but I still seem to feel a tiny bit of guilt, like I did something bad by finding out!

And on this post - It wasn't enough that if we were going to have a boy (we're having a girl) that my husband's family name be carried on, but he wanted some family tradition MIDDLE name as well! Sheesh! I'd never really given much thought of how men and women feel different about their last names until you wrote this. But you are right. I don't know why it's usually easier for us to give up our last name when the men not only keep theirs but get all freaky about carrying it on.

April said...

I've always wondered that myself. Especially becuz lots of women willingly give up their family name...I too, am old fashioned in that respect and didn't even blink an eye; I was happy and honored to take my husband's name. Yes, if my brother never has children (which knowing him, is highly likely) my family (maiden) name will die out too. But I guess it's a part of life right?

Larissa said...

My family is quite the opposite. When my father and mother got married, my father actually took on my mothers last name. My father did not care one bit. My parents came from over seas (Romania), and my mothers last name was easier to spell/pronounce than my fathers. And since they were planning on having children, they thought my mothers last name would be easier for us going through school and what not. Now I have a brother that will carry on my mothers last name, but ironically, he wants to change his last name to my fathers. My parents are still together, mind you, but he thinks it's proper to have my dad's last name since it's traditional and more accurate when it comes to our heritage. Even though my parents are from the same country and even little village, my mother's last name has a different origin than what our family really is. So my whole family (excluding me, since I'm already married and yes took my husband's name ) Might end up changing their last name over to my fathers, for traditional reason, and surprising all the women ( my mother and my sister-in-law) are very supportive. I would have thought it would have been neat to have a woman's last name last from generations, but I guess that won't happen.

Miss Tori said...

My DH is very old fashioned, and while we were dating, said that if we got married, he wanted me to take his last name, which was fine with me as I like that tradition.

However, since we've been married, it's interesting to watch and hear the reactions of people hearing my name as it is a Hispanic last name, and I'm white. In some circles, it's like I've been raised a notch or two, while in other circles, I've been lowered several notches.

As far as our future children, they will have our last name, not my previous last name. Am I thinking of incorporating various past family names for them? You bet, but first names, not last names.

Oh, and like a previous poster said (I think it was Christina), if I did use my maiden name and hypenate it with my husband's last name, and then had to sign my complete name, it would take forever!

mybabyquest.wordpress.com said...

Hi Nancy, Just wanted to let you know I ALWAYS read, but am a bit slack on the comments.

Your blog is always thought provoking. I often agree, sometimes disagree, but always admire your writing.

I am not married so still have my maiden (Father's) name and I will pass that to my daughter when she is born.

My Dad was the last of his line, the only son with 4 sisters. He had my sister and I and I presume he believed the name finished there. Dad died years ago and was very old fashioned - I think once he got over the whole "single parent" idea, he would be happy to know that his family name will go on.

If I am to ever marry I would most likely take my husband's surname and would probably change my daughter's so that she was the same as me.

Swanson Family said...

That's not something I've really thought that much about. Since I have 3 brothers my maiden name has been carried on. Now that I'm a Swanson, it's such a common name that my husband was more concerned about carrying on the "traditional" first name. We didn't end up doing that either, but it did seem very important to him. Just one of those guy things I guess.

I do like using family names though. Sam's name is his great, great, great-grandfathers name and his middle name is his great-grandfathers. I do like the idea of just using family names. Either as just a middle name or any name. I think it's just a personal preference.

JamieD said...

I have often wondered the same thing. My husband carries on about how his family name ends with him and his brother (who has no children) because their father was an only child.

It is very strange to me. Hubby isn't a sensitive, family-oriented kind of guy so the whole conversation really came from left field for me.

Maybe it goes back to the primal, animal instinct to 'spread their seed.'

(Which I think is BS, by the way)

jenn said...

I am definitely still here & reading- you know how cappy I've become lately with commenting. (although I seem to be better at that than posting!!!)

I kept my maiden name. It is extremely unique & for several reasons I wanted to keep it. The hub & I talked about it when we decided to ge married & he was totally cool with it, as long as the kids couldhave his last name. Now- his legal last name is his step-dad's- a horrible person that he couldn't stand & left home at 16 to get away from. His biological parents ended up back together & after a few years he decided to take his birth dad's last name again. but by that point it was after september11th, & much harder to change a name. So it kept getting pushed back. Now he has a big time crunch or else the baby gets my last name. His big reason for it is to honor his dad sine he missed out on so much of his sons lives. Plus my FIL is very sick & we're not sure how much time he has left. I personally don't care one way or the other & I think the hub doesn't care beyond that reason. But to make a sick old man happy- we'll do it. Plus- that last name will induce ~far~ less teasing than mine, so I am fine with it!
I know this really doesn't answer the question, but just his perspective on it.

Michelle said...

I read too! I'm just not one for much commenting.

As for the name thing, it doesn't matter much to either of us, so we just go the traditional route, without much thought to it.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I know a woman who feels strongly about passing on her family name. I like how in Hebrew (ceremonially) your name never changes. I am always called "Melissa daughter of X and Y" when my name is said or signed. It's sort of nice to have the constant.

Denise said...

We have this situation with B's family name, but it is his grandma who mentions it. She says that we have to have 3 boys because one will be gay (and won't have kids), one will be impotent (and won't have kids), and the third will carry on the family name. We just think it's funny.

Oh, and don't feel bad. You still have WAY more commenters than I do!

Jenera said...

I don't know that I've ever really thought about it myself. I do get a little irritated about women that won't take their husband's name but that's my own thing and I'm a bit old fashioned. I know that my hubby never made the comment about the name being carried on. For him it was about having kids and raising them better than he was raised.

You raise interesting questions.

Jenera said...

Oh and to add, my brother and his girlfriend are expecting a baby and if it's a boy she'd like to name it Cain to so that her maiden name can keep in the family.

Jenera said...

Sorry but one other thing, with my brother, they will not be getting married until after the baby is born but it is very important for the baby to have HIS last name but I think more because he wants everyone to be aware that is his child.

Ok, I'm done :)

battynurse said...

What the last name is to me is not something life altering. If I were married I would have my husbands last name and so would any children. I will admit though to realizing at one point that since I'm still single, any child I have would have my last name and my fathers. Not a necessary but sort of nice anyways.

calliope said...

I am on the flip side of this. I am single and obviously plan on having a child with my last name, which is actually my Mother's maiden name. And I am totally THRILLED to be "carrying on the name". I think even if I was married I would want the baby to have my last name. I'm selfish like that.
heh

ssbean said...

Just wanted to tell you that I'm still reading your blog, I'm just not posting much these days.
My maiden name came from my mom, since I never knew my father, I never took his name. I was her parent's only grandchild. They had 4 children, but only one had any kids, it was just me. So, the name stops with me, no problem though. It's never been a big deal with us. What was a bigger deal was the possibility of the bloodline, the family stopping with me. In my opinion, that's more important than a name. I just don't think names mean as much as they used to. I mean if I were to take my father's last name, it would be something I never knew. You tell your kids who they are. They are just as much husband's last name than they are your maiden name. The same amount of one blood running through their veins as the other. Just because they carry a certain name, doesn't mean they are more that than the other. I hope that makes sense. But to each their own, with what they chose with names.

Sarah R said...

I forgot to add that we have a rather interesting situation in our family. My dad was very abusive (physically, emotionally, and mentally). My mom was married to him for 22 years (way too long) and during those years, he beat her on several occasions (in the end it was every 10 days); he beat us up too but I can tell you that the verbal abuse stung a lot more.

Long story short, my mom finally left him (police came and staked out the house and waited for him to come home from work, at which point they served divorce papers and a restraining order--he didn't see it coming).

Anyway, my mom took her maiden name back, and eventually all 4 of my siblings took her maiden name too. It is very annoying to have people here and there ask you if you're related to so-and-so...none of us wanted to be associated with my "dad"'s name. I didn't change mine, because I knew I'd be getting married (save myself $200). So I guess the "S" lineage stops with my "dad", now! (None of us have spoken to him in years because he's as good as a complete stranger to us now).

Sugar and Ice said...

Maybe they've been programmed that way over the generations. I'm really not sure why a name would be so important to some and not to others. I think my husband is in the minority here. While I think he might have liked to have had a boy somewhere in the mix just to see what parenting a boy is like, I have never heard him say a word about being upset that he won't have one to carry on his name. He has a brother that may have a boy one day, but there are no guarantees. I honestly don't think he cares...maybe it's b/c we have a really common last name, so it will live on through others.

Io said...

Hm. I don't know. We've never really talked about it so I don't know how important it would be to Al. I get the feeling it's not terribly important, but that may have to do with the idea that originally his name probably came from slaveowners.
I never changed my last name, but it was mostly out of laziness.

Agata said...

Surprisingly, my own FIL had the best outlook on this. My DH couldn't care less about the "carrying on the name" thing. But his brother, my BIL, is obsessed with it. He has two girls so he's always made comments to us that it's up to DH now to carry on the family name. So when we found out we were having a girl (the 3rd girl in the family) my BIL actually called my FIL (what nerve!) to ask him if he was disappointed! Nice...

Anyway, my FIL (I love that man) was like "Why would I be disappointed?" to which BIL said "well, the Maurer name won't be getting carried on, aren't you a bit sad about that?" FIL was annoyed at this and said "Why would you even say that? Every single granddaughter of mine is just as much of a Maurer as a grandson would be. My legacy, my bloodline will live on through my granddaughters. Names are of no importance."

I love that opinion. My daughter IS carrying on the family blood, the family genes, the family history. And that's the attitude we have. Even we have another child and it's a girl, I know that nobody besides BIL will even waste a moment of time thinking about our last name "dying out". Hello, there are plenty of people with our last name in the world. The name won't die.

It's all so stupid and old-fashioned.

Not in the Water said...

Stupid internet froze and I lost my nice comment...too lazy to retype it all...so I am cutting it down..but still prob rambling

Met DH at my job just out of HS (while in college) big time guy's job....DH had no issue...I was a little feminist about the job...

Got married in late 20s...already in my field for several years (not the guy's field)...I didn't want to change my name at all. I was known by my maiden name. And I liked it.

WELL DH was not happy about that ...so I decided to compromise and only keep maiden name at work (it's snort and simple...5 letters vs DH's ethic 11 letter last name.)

5 years later DH is still pissed...always says that my family name dies with him. I have no desire to hyphenate/include my maiden name in the kids name (hopefully that's SOON!)

BUT he has no desire to name his kid after him...and I kindly pointed out that since he wants a girl...his family name will die with me ;P

Hmmm What's my point? I guess that DH never mentions HIS family line but is very against mine? Weirdo...

Dr. Grumbles said...

excellent question - and, btw, I am still reading, but my hectic schedule has reduced my frequency of commenting on all blogs I still read.

My dad is really obsessed with the fact that his son (the only boy in our generation with the "family name") had a girl and may not have any more since his wife already had two kids. He has actually said, "Well, I don't really care about the gender of your baby. I mean, you're no longer a (last name), so it doesn't matter."

Is that the only reason to have a boy??? It just seems so whacky to me.

I have friends who legally changed BOTH of their names after getting married to rescue an ancestral name that "died" a few generations back. They have now passed that name on to their daughter. Who knows? Maybe she'll retain the name for her children, if she has any.

Krista said...

I think it is strange too. One of our nephews has his mother's maiden name as his middle name, since she had no brothers.

theclam said...

Good question... from my point of view when I got married I double barrelled my maiden name with my married name (but they go together well if they would not have gone together well I would have just had my husbands last name) because my family are important to me and they shaped who I am so I felt that I wanted to still have that link by double barrelling the names...

If we are lucky enough to have kids one day they will take my hubbies last name... Personally I also don't get the whole carry on the name thing but I'm a girl so I guess there is no pressure on me to carry it on... Many traditional families feel it is important...although I don't personally don't get it...

Liz (antimuse13) said...

Thankfully DH doesn't give a crap but we did get the line "Ok- you have to have a boy." from his parents after we told them we were expecting so we could carry on their last name. Especially since we were/are the last chance for them. We're having a girl however, & unless we choose to have another, well their chances are only go to be 50/50 again then or slim to none if we don't!

Anonymous said...

It actually irks me quite a bit, the way family names are handled in our society. My DH very much wanted a boy to "carry on the family name," but we have two girls and no plans for a third child. I pressed him about why this was so important to him. What he finally told me is that it wasn't so important to *him*, but he felt his father was upset about it (he probably was/is, as he has made repeated remarks to DH about his "failure" to produce a boy). DH has no brothers, and his only male cousin on that side has no kids. Meanwhile, my maiden name died with my generation, as did my mother's maiden name *and* her mother's maiden name. No one seems to care about this.

--Kristin

Motel Manager said...

I guess I just don't really get it -- my husband didn't care about this at all. I kept my own name, and he was even open to letting our kid(s) have my last name as I wanted, so long as he got to pick the first name. Picking the first name was more important to me, too, so I refused and said we'd be going with his last name. :) In the end, we both picked our son's first name -- it was truly 50/50 -- so this was all irrelevant.

I have some friends from all-girls families where they got their husbands to take their last name, so I guess the "passing the name along" thing is sometimes important to the ladies, too.

Changing names when you get married varies by your social circle, too -- one big part of my social circle is creative types (writers, musicians, et al), and most of them keep their names, regardless of whether they are "established" as artists at the time that they marry or not.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting. I am a canadian living in a large city. I know almost no one who changed her name, but marriage is also a declining institution in parts of canada. I have two daughters - one has my last name, one has her dad's last name.