Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Snow Is the Best, or Why I'm Keeping My Last Name

People have been calling me "Sarasnow" my whole adult life, with no space between my first and last names. Once, my friend asked his four-year-old daughter what my first name was, and she said, "Sawasnow." Again, no space. And how fitting. I have no middle name, so it just rolls off the tongue. I love it. I love that other people love it.

When Daryl suggested, then, that I keep my last name, I thought, "What? No! How could I do that? I've always looked forward to changing my name when I get married!" But actually, I hadn't. It was hard for me to admit that for the past five or six years, I've thought about how much I like my name and how much I've disliked the last names of some of the guys I dated: Turbeyfield and Woffinden being the worst of the bunch. It's awful of me to say, I know, but with a name like Snow, I feel like I'm allowed to be a bit snobby. :)

Besides vanity, though, there's something like . . . familiarity or nostalgia at play. I've had the name Snow for 38 years -- longer than most women have their maiden names -- and I'm used to it. I use it in my email address, my social media accounts, and my business ventures and professional life. Why change now?

Finally, there's this, from Laurie Scheuble, a sociologist from Penn State University:
"It's what we're used to [. . .] The tradition of women changing their last names to match their husbands’ has its origins in the property transfer that took place upon marriage. Essentially, women went from being part of their parents’ family to becoming their husbands’ property. Although we don’t have that property aspect anymore, we still have this whole gendered notion that women somehow are obligated to take the last names of their husbands. [. . .] It’s turned over to normative tradition. It's the last socially acceptable sexism." (Why So Many Women Still Take Their Husband's Last Name. Berman, 2017)

When I read that line -- "the last socially acceptable sexism" -- it struck something in me that exclaimed, "Yes! That's true!" I realize people will argue this point, and that's fine by me. It's also fine by me if women continue to change their last names upon marriage, but for me, it feels strange to use any other name besides Snow. So I'll keep it.

Thing I'm thankful for: a "woke" husband. Ha!


Anonymous Daryl said...

Thing I’m thankful for: a wife with a great name like Sarasnow!

11:41 PM  
Blogger cardlady said...

Well, ok. I get your point. Since facebook, I'm Cathy Schmitt Snow. Or Grandma, my favorite name!

7:35 AM  
Blogger Bruce and Cindy said...

Korean women have never changed their last names when they married!

10:53 PM  

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