Why am I watching “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding,” about Kim Kardashian’s nuptials? I don’t know. Why do I even know who Kim Kardashian is? No idea. And yet here we are. And *SPOILER* Kim’s husband (who is some basketball player, I think? Unclear, I’m not watching that closely) wants her to change her name, and she says ok, and then she says wait I am Kim Fucking Kardashian and my name is a brand so maybe not? and then he acts like a big whiny titty-baby. But then Kim’s dad isn’t alive anymore, and Kim is sad he’s not there, and so her husband is like Well I guess it’s cool if she keeps her name because it was her dad’s and it’s one thing she can have of his.
So, look: I actually do have a fundamental problem with the expectation that women change their names. Yes, I know we all choose our choice and blah blah, but I think it’s really fucked up that it’s really only a “choice” that’s offered to women and that there’s so much pressure about “tradition” and “family” and unspoken expectations that you’re Really Committed and Really Love Your Husband, and that in 2011 the whole concept of marriage still involves dissolving your own identity into your husband’s. I am not going to pretend that I am a fan of the name-change. I am not even going to pretend that I don’t get a tiny bit internally judgy, or at least frustrated, when I scroll through my facebook feed and see all of these names I don’t recognize. But also — and this is not a new observation — we all make compromises in our lives, and we all do the best we can against the very strong tide of social norms, and a lot of really unfeminist social norms can also make us feel good, as name-changing reportedly does for some reason (something I honestly don’t comprehend, but people are different). Some battles aren’t worth fighting, and some people tie a lot to tradition even if those traditions are totally fucked up, so ok. I mean, my feet are all fucked up from years of wearing high heels and I continue to wear them anyway, so, glass houses and whatnot.
But you know what is a huge red flag? If your fiance pitches a fit about you hesitating to change your name. Actually, I think it’s a pretty big red flag if your fiance pressures you in any way to change your name. Having a discussion is one thing; having him be like, “You should take my name” and then getting salty if you push back is kind of a dick move. And I know, I know, I just called a whole lot of dudes dicks on the internet, so cue comment blow-up about how maybe all of these dudes are just really nice guys who want a family unit and tradition and and and and. Fine. If a dude pressures you to take his name, suggest he take your name and watch him literally laugh in your face. A dude who wants you to subvert your own identity for his because you are The Lady is probably not the most woman-friendly dude, you know?