Saturday, June 15, 2013

I Am Who I Was Born As

June is the month of weddings and all these weddings got me to thinking about wedding-related traditions and why they were started...and heck, upon learning the reason for some of these traditions, I began to question why we still do them. 

Why do women take the man's name upon marrying him?

Online research reveals many different reasons, the main one being:

In biblical times, a woman was considered a burden on her father. He was eager to get rid of that extra mouth to feed. He provided a dowry, perhaps a couple of sheep along with some gold coin--and when a suitor agreed to take the daughter off his hands, he was rewarded. Eager to get the daughter gone, the father was more than happy to see the daughter's clan name change to that of her husband. She became of his property and his problem.

Why, in 2013, are we continuing this practice? I'm curious. What are your thoughts?

I'm fortunate. I married a wonderful man. I did not marry because society expected it of me. I did not marry because I was pressured. I was not handed over with a dowry. My husband wanted to marry me. I did not NEED to be married. I was living on my own, making my own money.

And I also wed a man who respected my desire to stay ME, to stay Tara Chevrestt. I kept the name given me upon birth, the name that I carried through childhood, the name I said proudly during roll calls, the name I used on job applications. The name Chevrestt got me through 23 years without fail. Why not continue with it?

I told my husband, "I am not your property. I am Tara Chevrestt."

This, however, has led to problems with other people. Men I used to work with would ask me, "You didn't take your  husband's name? Why not?"

"This is the 2000s. Why? I'm not his property. I am me. Despite the ring on my finger, I am still me."

This warranted outrage on their parts. "I wouldn't marry a woman that didn't take my name!"

"Why not?" I would ask.

"Because it's a sign of respect. If she doesn't take my name, she doesn't respect me."

I'd think on this and ask, "Do you respect your wife?"

"Of course."

"Then why don't you take her name?" And I would shrug. Seemed like such an honest question to me.

The answer is always, "It's just not done."


Are we really still, thousands of years later, that close-minded a society?

p.s. The only reason mine is hyphenated on FB is to separate the personal me from the author me. ;)

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