You might want to refuse to believe this, but there is a time and a place to defend the ever pilgarlic, the reality TV star, unpredictability successful businesswoman, and famous amongst other things, Kim Kardashian. Let’s not pretend that we’re not fully aware she recently eloped with the rapper Kanye West in Florence, IL and after the nuptials, not only has her uploaded pic of her and Kanye kissing as a married couple become the most “liked” photo on Instagram with over a million tapped hearts, you could also see in her bio that she had added “West” to her name (she also did so on Twitter).
I had noticed and thought nothing of it, but apparently I was in the minority. On Yahoo’s homepage slide show of its latest news stories, there was an article on how Kim “changing” her name was a reflection of the state of women’s rights in the marriage department.
Oh. Come. ON.
I know Kim K. at this point is a national treasure when it comes to quick, easy jokes on the demise of western civilization and whatnot, but this time I had to offer a side eye to the commentary. She isn’t the first female celebrity to add her husband’s name after marriage (remember Eva Longoria Parker? Or even her sister Khloe Kardashian Odom? Jessica Simpson actually added Lachey on legal documents when she was with Nick), so why is it any different when Kim does it? And much more importantly, what this age-old debate of a woman taking her husband’s name is really asking us is, is this argument even still relevant? Yessssssss…and no.
It is relevant because our system, our society is still battling on equalizing the many imperative decisions of American life that for so long was largely based on a patriarchal or patrilineal style. Today because there are so many more voices than ever before in the defense of women from women on equal rights and the woman’s prerogative, when a concern like this comes up, it gets a bit sticky. I think even the most feminist woman would still appreciate a man who gets down on one knee and asks the big question with an awesome ring in tow. At one point, there was little support for woman doing this major move on the man if she felt compelled to take it to the next level, but that never really caught on. So while the average woman wants a man who will still adhere to certain gender roles, is it fair for us to pick and choose those moments alone?
I don’t necessarily think that a woman taking a man’s name or adding it to her name is anti-feminist, and this is coming from I, the epitome of “make your own damn sandwich!” and “Don’t tell me what the f**k to do!” You can ask my ex for confirmation. I’m not going to lie though. Even when I was little, I told my mother if I was to get married I would keep my maiden name which is my mother’s last name. I derive from a matriarchal family which I carry proudly. I didn’t tell her this last part, but it seemed fitting to me considering that she alone raised, so in honor of strength, I knew even as a little girl I would keep my name and the plus was that, yes, I would still feel I was an individual.
Some had attacked or questioned Kim for adding “West” to her name because it may show a diminished or decreased sense of “self”, as some women fear when one chooses to carry a man’s name. The legacy, while in a perfect world should be a shared gift to the next generation from both parents, in the afterthoughts of some modern way women worry that in the man’s name being passed along, the women’s contribution is instantly forgotten. There are also uproars that a woman taking the man’s name makes her a property of sorts. And I get it. I really do. Like, look at the character Mrs. Ari from the HBO show Entourage. Mrs. Ari. Just Mrs. Ari? Her first name is no longer applicable? The debate this time seems a little less sincere because it’s just chance to take another jab at Kim when feminism’s got bigger problems if we’re going to use celebrities as the scapegoats.
When it comes to this, I definitely believe a woman should have the right to think about it and hopefully she’ll be married to the kind of guy that doesn’t look too deep into it, whether or not she does. I could imagine that it’d be a bit hurtful if your now wife chooses not to, but again, here’s hoping every couple can work it out.
I certainly do not support anything that would belittle a woman’s identity, and luckily on American soil, options for women are a lot more exhausted than in other countries, as respectful as they can be in treating women more like genuine gems. Despite all my hussing and fussing on a woman having her own, I know this is kind of contradictiory, but I will say that in regards to taking your husband’s last name, go for it even if you want to. It is the equivalent of traditional romance it the beginning stages of married life, like when he proposed to you (at least I think so). Besides, if he turns out to be an asshole, you can always change it which is the secret silver lining.