so do you think men should still buy an engagement ring? someone recently posted about the bloke with the ring in the balloon that sadly flew away. that was painful to even read given the ring cost $12,000. my friend who is expecting, but not married texted me last night because she found a name she liked for her girl. then this morning we got on the topic of last names because i asked her if she was gonna give the little girl her boyfriend's last name. she said yea what is your child's (some friend for not knowing lol)? i said my child got my last name. she was surprised. then she asked but kinda stated at the same time, but when you're married the child gets the father's last name. i had to let her go, but i wanted to say no you don't have to if both agree to it. however, my attorney told me my child's bio father has the legal right to ask a judge to change my child's name! thankfully he hasn't pushed it, but that makes me mad our legal system favors male lineages more than females. i don't think i would want to change my last name because i identify myself a lot by name and it'd just be weird. ok so long story short read the article and tell me what you think. i only found this through googling when i was searching for answers for my friend. i still haven't found anything to cite, though.
A Ring By Any Other Name
September 24th, 2007 at 09:05pm Posted by ballgame | Cool Feminist Blogs, Double Standards, Feminist Issues, Relationships and Dating | 19 comments
In the comments to "Funny stories", aych pointed out how some feminists routinely start out with a premise ("women are the victims") and seem capable of using contradictory evidence to support that theory. (Groom's family gives wealth to bride's family? The bride is being treated as property! Bride's family gives wealth to groom's family? She's being exploited and demeaned!)
That reminded me this discussion a while back over at sadly-now-defunct Happy Feminist's place. Happy raised the issue of the still-prevalent practice of women taking their husbands' last names during marriage. I thought many of the points were valid; it does seem to be a distinctly inegalitarian practice, especially when one considers the options almost universally considered are 'wife takes husband's last name' or 'wife keeps own last name' and the option of 'husband takes wife's last name' is rarely part of the mix. (Of course, a husband who did take his wife's last name would likely face disrespect for doing so from at least some quarters, particularly if he's a non-patriarchal male ... but I digress.)
At any rate, that got me to thinking about another common ritual: that of the groom giving his fiancÚ an engagement ring. Though not as universal a custom as it once was, it's still pretty common, and it's generally the male who buys the ring for the female. The cost of such rings are often not trivial. And I didn't notice anyone saying, "We should keep our own damn names. And men should stop buying us those damn diamonds." Truth be told, I believe there are women who feel this way -- on her last CD Fiona Apple sings "I don't understand about diamonds/Or the men that buy them/What's so great about diamonds/Except the mining" -- but they're not typical, even in the feminist sphere. And I've never seen a woman say, "I don't want my future husband to buy me an engagement ring; I'm going to buy him one instead."
No one brought it up in the Happy Feminist thread. You might have thought someone would have, if the underlying theme was 'incorporating more egalitarianism into one's marriage rituals'. So that prompted me to wonder about -- and google -- '"engagement ring" AND feminist'.
Which brought up "The Engagement Ring: It's Time to Let Go" by feminist Liz Rizzo at Blogher from about a year ago. The piece is not Egalitarianism Perfected. There is the common feminist bias that aych referred to above -- 'I'm oppressed! I have to wear this expensive piece of jewelry that my mate bought for me while my mate doesn't have to wear the thing that I didn't buy for him!' But it was pretty sound post overall, and included this exchange:
I couldn't understand why I would [be expected to] change my last name. Most women still do, I know, but for me, my name is a major part of my identity. Plus, I knew for a fact that changing it was a major pain, and I knew for a fact that he wasn't changing his. "Why am I changing my name and you're not changing yours?"
"You have an engagement ring, and I don't."
"I didn't ask for this!"
It was pretty. It was shiny. Truth be told, I loved it. And I felt like I took my soul back when I slipped it off and returned it.
Score one for gender egalitarian feminism.