I Have A New Name!

Las Vegas Wedding

Just a quick little update to say a) I’m really busy (what else is new?!) and b) I just got married! I’ve taken my new husband Dan’s surname of Drakett. The name/domain for this blog will be changing to reflect this, just as soon as I’ve got a bit of time to myself to do the tweaky admin gubbins and tying up of loose ends without the jetlag and weird sleeping patterns. Bear with me – sooooo much admin! I’ve changed my Twitter handle already though, and you can find me @JessicaDrakett

So… I’ve weirdly felt that I’ve had to justify this decision, even though nobody has really questioned it. It’s like I’ve been pre-emptively going to defend myself about it. What’s that all about? Internal feminist freak outs, that’s what it’s all about. Worrying about being judged by other feminists in my life, or being called out as doing something not-very-feminist.

There’s been a lot of internal feminist angst going on during the wedding planning, and sites like Offbeat Bride have been absolute havens for me. There’s a great post on feminism and weddings there, that discusses some of the weirdness around name changing. This little bit sums it up neater than I can:

We currently live in a patriarchal country where surnames are generally passed down through men. Even if a bride were not to take her husband’s last name she would still have her father’s (or some other familial male member’s) last name. There are multiple reasons why a woman may no longer want to keep her last name. Perhaps, she has negative associations with that name such as it is a constant reminder of an abusive or absent father or she may not like the way it sounds or more simply, she wants to mark this transition by changing her last name to her husband’s.

Ultimately, this country unlike others, give women this choice. If a woman wants to change her last name then it is HER choice to do so. Now, if the future husband is a complete douche monkey and is forcing her to do this, or other patriarchal forces pressure her into it, then it is no longer a choice.

Choice. Magical word. Before we even officially decided to get married, name changing in the event of marriage was one of the things we’d discussed at length. Keep our surnames? Dan take my surname? Me take Dan’s surname? Double-barrel? Create a new name? I’m lucky enough that Dan proudly self-identifies as a feminist, not a complete douche monkey (let’s face it, if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be my house mate let alone my husband) and is a respectful and thoughtful gent. In the end, me taking his surname was my decision, my choice. A free choice from a selection of many, after careful consideration. It’s just, you know, I chose the “traditional” one. This choice does not make me less of a feminist.

So why did I choose this option? Well first off, I really dislike the name Lowndes. I share it with some random celebrity (though I guess she shares it with me, as I’m slightly older) and I’m sure that can’t be good SEO. Nobody can pronounce it or spell it, though I’m sure Drakett will perhaps have similar problems… Keeping it was out of the question for me. Creating a new name didn’t interest us, and would have been more hassle than it was worth, and we certainly didn’t want to be messing around with double-barrelling anything. Drakett-Lowndes? Lowndes-Drakett? That just looks rubbish.

My new name is unique. Like, REALLY unique. I think I’m the only Jessica Drakett in the world right now, and that IS good SEO. I’m also at an early enough stage in my career adventures to not have any publications, and that’s hopefully about to change. Rather than messing around trying to tie up loose ends in the future, it makes sense for me to take my new name now. Also, sloppy sloppy love and gubbins reasons.

Now I just have to get through the mountains of admin and paperwork associated with changing my name… along with all the work I didn’t do while I was in Las Vegas actually getting married.

Feminists – how do you feel about the changing of names with marriage?

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