"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Friday, March 06, 2015

Dear future child of mine: you're taking my name.

Now Playing: Mary's Song by Taylor Swift (we'll rock our babies on this very front porch)

'The most dangerous phrase in the language is "we've always done it this way"' 

- Rear Admiral Grace Hopper 

If you know me irl, as the kids are saying now, you'll know that I'm an extraordinarily clucky person.

I know, right? A feminist who doesn't hate children. Who knew.

I am not pregnant. I am not living with anyone. I don't have a boyfriend; I haven't even reached a point in life when I think a partner would be a good idea. My uterus is comfortingly empty.

And yet I have decided that my children, when I have them, will be taking my name.

I know that sounds like an extraordinarily stupid thing to say, or an extraordinarily weird thing for a single, not-pregnant, nineteen year old not-quite-done-with-uni girl to worry about. But here's the crux of the matter: patriarchy has decided for all my male friends - from the clucky to the chronically terrified of small people - that they will be passing on not only DNA and their baby blue eyes, but also their name. It is not even something they have to think about or consider. It just is.

Now, I have a super cool last name. In Korea, it is synonymous with aristocracy; with the power of bygone eras of warlords and kings and queens in glittering palaces. I am part of one of the oldest extant written genealogies in East Asia. I also have no brother; nobody to pass on the name. But that's not the point.

As a feminist, the thing I am most afraid of, the one thing I push hardest against, is just because. The status quo. Tradition. I'm not pushing for all children to take their mother's name; I don't know if there is a way round this patriarchal dilemma. All I know is, for myself, my children will take my name and everyone will just have to roll with that. Any argument against children taking their mother's name I could throw back at you and use as a reason why children shouldn't take their father's name. It's a default that I don't know how to challenge on a large scale but, personally, I want to make a point; the point that women are erased from the product of their own biological function, and that is not okay.

I'm claiming this right because there is no good reason why I can't. Every guy I know takes this as a given; so, so will I. It's a condition of having children on me, and I ain't budging.

Why? Well, give me one good reason: why not?

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