I found a Tracy Moore piece interesting. The main reason is probably that it didn’t drag on for far too long. That being said, I’d rather discuss it here, because comments sections on Moore articles seem to always devolve into screaming matches.
It did still have the familiar “some prefer this whereas others prefer that” structure, but it worked here. And it got at the point: there is no perfect feminist solution with names when dealing with marriage and kids.
I was mildly irritated that she didn’t dig into what I thought would be a major point: there is talk about an anonymous male advice-seeker who changes his surname to a new shared name with his wife, but in doing so, changes away from his traditionally Jewish name. The response is that while he claims he didn’t do it for that reason, maybe he should really examine if he did. But (feminism 101) flip the sexes. Would the same skepticism be expressed towards a Jewish woman taking her gentile husband’s last name?
Names are connected to our heritage, of course. But that’s only true down the male line. So if we expect women to forfeit their name-based link to their heritage, and don’t criticize that, why would we criticize a man doing the same?
I’ve always found the name-changing topic to be interesting. It’s such an obvious patriarchal tradition, but one that the majority of feminists just don’t seem that interested in fighting, probably in part because there really isn’t a perfect alternative. Though there is a solution that I often think about, from a sci-fi book I read. Married couples kept their names, and passed down the woman’s surname to daughters, and the man’s surname to sons. It’s a fairly graceful solution, though it might have the potential for creating issues with trans or intersex kids.
Personally, I took my husband’s name. Sometimes I wonder if it was the right choice. But when so-called better feminists give me side-eye over it, I get pretty testy. I like having the same family name as my husband, particularly if we have kids someday. And in my case, his name was very rare and pretty, and mine was very common and dull. On a selfish level, I wasn’t sure if I was going to end up in academia publishing articles, and my name is now far more unique. But those are more justifications than reasons. The reason, at its root, is that it’s what was expected of me, and it was the easy route. And surnames just aren’t a hill I choose to die on.