A reader rebuts Filipovic:
How is my father’s surname more my identity than my husband’s surname? Both, if you want to get all feminist about it, highlight the fact that females are “owned” by the males to whom they are born or wed, right? I am more than a name and I’ve had a lot of them. My birth parents saddled me with an atrocious moniker that only teenagers could have come up with and a surname that is now deemed a state secret. My parents stuck me with a vanilla Catholic saint name. My late husband offered me a new surname and my second husband gave me another. Don’t even get me started on nicknames.
And still, none of these arbitrary arrangements of letters are me. If I tried, and I have now and again, I don’t think I could put a name to me that sums me up. My names are like a history – snapshots of me at different points of my development and always a step behind as I evolve.
Jill Filipovic’s case for women keeping their surname strikes me a bit romantic. Yes, our name is our identity, but what if you do not want to be associated with the identity? I had three fathers growing up (a non-exsistent birth father and two abusive step-fathers) and so changing my surname to my husband’s was my first choice at creating my own identity separate from the childhood I wanted so desperately to leave behind. I loved shedding the identity of my youth (abused) for my new identity (happy adult, wife and mother).