thoughts on hyphenated names

Dr Hegarty said: “In the 16th century, naming men before women became the acceptable word-order to use because of the thinking that men were the worthier sex. This grammar has continued with ‘Mr and Mrs’, ‘his and hers’ and the names of romantic couples like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

I often do this without thinking, though I’m getting better at noticing and stopping myself.

I was thinking about this in terms of hyphenated names- do most hetero couples who choose to hyphenate their names together put the man’s name first? How do they decide?

As a person in my 20’s, I have several friends with hyphenated names inherited from their parents. They all hate their last names. They are long and difficult to relay. They are embarrassing.

My boyfriend told me about a study he read (I’m sorry, I can’t find a link) that concluded that hyphenated names are detrimental to women and beneficial to men. People would see “Nathan Smith-Roberts” and think his parents must be progressive, open-minded and tolerant people. The same people would see “Norah Smith-Roberts” and not hire her because she must be a man-hating radical feminist.

I think hyphenated names are a well-intentioned but bad idea. They’re too problematic. What does the next generation do?

I think in a family with multiple children, there are two ideal solutions, assuming the couple wants to pass on both names. They could take turns- name the first child one last name, and the second child the other. Or, for hetero couples, they could give the father’s last name to any sons, and the mother’s last name to any daughters. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Where did your last name come from? Do you like it? Have you ever changed your last name? Why? What would your ideal solution be? I would love to hear your thoughts!


why “mrs” and “miss” are always wrong

wedding table card

“Mrs” always bothered me, even during that brief time I was an ultra-fundamental christian (I may write about that some other time ;D ), though at that time I wasn’t sure why. “Mrs John Smith”… really? Do you not exist as an individual?

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my beautiful hairy legs

I was talking to a friend yesterday who I haven’t seen in a while. During our conversation she was excited to tell me she recently had electrolysis done on her chin. She was so happy about it — it was only $65 US, the doctor was very friendly and warm, and it was easily done in only two sessions, and should be permanent. I’m happy for her, since she always hated the hairs on her chin and was relieved not to have to worry about them anymore. She offered me the name and phone number of the place she went to, since I’ve mentioned my interest in the past.

I’ve been thinking, though. I have always hated my leg hair. Hated with a burning passion. Unlike Celine Dion, my legs are not covered in a beautifully soft peach fuzz. I have dark, think, coarse, black hairs (which I have often compared to spider legs) on my pale white legs. I would be incredibly embarrassed if anyone were to see them. I shave in the summer, but even then I don’t often wear shorts because even after I shave, you can see the hair under the skin. My legs are unacceptable to society.

That would be my reason for getting electrolysis. Because I am embarrassed by the natural hair on my legs, because society has conditioned me to find my natural state repulsive. Because of this, I think it would be wrong of me to do it. I want to do it. Believe me when I say I would love to have smooth, hairless legs for once in my life. To be able to wear shorts whenever I wanted, and to change in front of my boyfriend without being embarrassed, even though he says — and I believe him — he doesn’t care. To go to the beach and not constantly worry that I’m grossing everyone out with my disgusting legs.

But because I am now a feminist, and because I believe that I should not feel this way, and neither should anyone else, it would be wrong for me to do it. I would be buying into society’s definition of beauty. I would be agreeing with them that the hair on my legs is disgusting. That my natural self is disgusting.

I’m not at the point yet where I could go on stage in front of thousands of people with unshaven legs. I’m still trying to accept my body, and find it beautiful. But the point is that I’m trying. I’m fighting, and I’m defying. It may not seem like much, but every tiny step moves us forward. Every unafraid hairy-legged woman makes our natural bodies a little more accepted, a little less taboo.