Some months ago, I wrote about a question that I get quite often when I mention that I am a feminist. I do get a lot of FAQs about feminism so I decided to answer those questions on my blog. More often than not, the questions are rife with misconceptions about feminism; the asker is usually an anti-feminist trying rather poorly to be a smart ass. I rarely get questions from people who are genuinely curious about feminism ideology and politics so my answers are usually very sarcastic. However, I’m going to assume the people reading my blog are willing to learn about feminism so I am going to properly answer the questions and share my little knowledge.
[Disclaimer Alert: I am NOT a feminist scholar but I’ve read a lot of books on the feminist political movement.]
The second most frequently asked question that I receive after declaring myself a feminist is “So, you’re not going to change your last name?”. I suspect I get this question a lot because Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who is my best friend (in my head) and the most popular Nigerian feminist, didn’t change her last name. So, a lot of people incorrectly assume that feminism is against a married woman changing her last name to her husband’s. Feminism is NOT against women changing their last names to their husband’s BUT, it against the system/society that requires married women to change their last names and vehemently criticises them for refusing to do so (Just look at how many people criticise Chimamanda for not changing her last name). Feminists want women to be able to choose if they want to keep their surname or change their last name to their husband’s BUT that choice should be free from socio-cultural and religious pressure because when people are pressured into making certain decisions/choices, then that isn’t really a choice.
Am I going to change my last name? As I have stated in a previous post, I’m not keen on getting married; I’m fine being a spinster for the rest of my life. If I do get married, I will not change my last name. I will not change my last name because I am very attached to it. My father died when I was very young and I don’t remember much of him but he left me his last name; a name that I am proud of because of his integrity, a name that is respected in my state because of his love and respect for his people. I love my name because it is very harmonious and inspiring and I have accomplished a lot with my name(If I do say so myself) so I am going to keep it.
Sidebar: I may hyphenate my last name depending on how cool my intended’s last name is or how much it rhymes it mine. When I was in Germany, I met a guy whose surname is “Von Bismarck” (I think I had a crush on him just because of his surname); I wouldn’t mind hyphenating with that name at all.