Ironically, I Can't Decide What to Name This Post
Hi, I’m Ronni, and I’m a feminist. I’m also marrying a man in a few weeks and taking his last name. It’s complicated.
With my wedding mere weeks away, I have limited time left with the full name on my birth certificate. That’s super weird. But it’s my choice. That’s where the feminism thing comes in: having choices and the freedom to make the one you want, for whatever reason you want to make it.
When I was a kid, I always assumed I would grow up, get married, and change my last name. That’s what my mom did, so I just figured that was the thing. Then I got older, helped myself to the buffet of gender and feminism courses available to the average liberal arts college student, and realized that getting married and changing your name was a thing, but not the only thing.
I’ve spent the decade or so since college growing and shaping my belief system, what I stand for, and what it means to me personally to be a feminist. To me it means nurturing positive and supportive relationships with women. It has meant at various times the freedom to explore the notion of not wanting to get married at all, and being unable to imagine labeling myself as someone’s wife by changing my name to match his. It has meant having grown extremely comfortable being single and living my life as a whole person before some lovely marriageable jerk came along and ruined those plans.
...sometimes it means tearing my male colleague a new asshole when he keeps fucking using the phrase “the missus” to refer to a male client’s wife. Then having to womansplain to him why that’s an idiotic, disrespectful way to refer to a human woman in 2017. I mean, it was disrespectful in 1950 also, but I imagine any arguments back then would have been met with a laugh and a “This gal’s got quite the mouth on her! Why don’t you go back to your typewriter, honey.” ::has two martinis at lunch on a Tuesday::
Back to the lovely marriageable jerk who changed my plans for a single lifestyle with one warm hug at the end of a first date. Since then, we have gone through ups, downs, tears, laughter, moves, travel, and wedding planning. He met me during a mellow time in my anxiety’s life plan, and then didn’t necessarily see it coming when things took a turn for the emotional and twitchy. I lured him in with my siren song (AKA awkward conversation fillers and a shared enjoyment of cheeses) and then when he was under my spell I was like ka-BLAM deal with this mess! Sucker!
But he has had my back every minute. Since we met I have never felt anything less than full confidence that he was present and participating in our relationship and our life. And when things are shitty for him I’m there too blah blah blah. The point is, we’re a team. And I want to wear the same jersey. We are not two halves making a whole. We are two whole people, fully formed, joining together to take on the world side by side.
Does this romantic yet practical notion make it less weird to change my name to something else? Absolutely not. Do I still try to convince myself that I would actually prefer hyphenating both of our names to the tidy neatness of one, easy-to-spell name? Pretty much weekly. But I’ve come to understand that it’s okay to jump in and make a decision that feels weird, even if I know it feels right under all the weirdness. Who could be expected to not bat an eye at a re-brand after 32 years? If M&M’s decided to suddenly be Q&Q’s I would lose my shit. But they would still be delicious and chocolate and satisfying to sort by color, so I would adjust over time. I’m still going to be me, I’m still going to be defined by my actions and personality and choices. I’m just gaining a teammate.
Ronni Levine is a Body Positive blog writer who contributes a blog post monthly for the #ReclaimBeauty Project for her segment, Let's Get Radical: Real Talk with Ronni. All of her posts shared here and lots more can be found on her website, www.haikutiful.com. Be sure to check out all of her amazing, raw and honest posts and follow her on social media at @haikutiful!