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Last Names
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Men keep their last names throughout their lifetime. It is a permanent connection to their past, to their family lines, to a sense of self.

Children take their fathers' last names, boy children and girl children as well. They are their fathers' offspring.

When a girl child marries, she takes the last name of her husband. Yes, there was a cultural "blip" called the Women's Lib Movement which supported young women who wanted to keep their names and, yes, professional women, if their careers are established before marriage, often keep their professional names, but

by and large, women change their names upon marriage.

I wonder what it does to their personal identities? Do they feel themselves part of a partnership? Maybe so, with the man as the CEO, chief partner, and head of the family. Still makes the woman a second class citizen.

What does it do to a woman to lose her primary identity? No longer herself, no longer centered in her own life, but an adjunct to someone else.

No wonder more women than men have to deal with issues of mental illness and emotional crises. They don't even know who they are who is trying to cope, say, with a life emergency. It's a double whammy.

I have tried it three ways. First, my last name as a child was my father's. Second, I dropped my father's last name (I hadn't seen him in 20 years and felt no attachment to him) and took my middle name as my last name (my middle name was a family name on my mother's side).

When I married the first time, I kept my name. My first husband was in complete agreement. When I married the second one, he was so insecure that I took his name to reassure him that I wasn't going to leave him. Stupid, I know, but his first two wives had each walked out on him. He thought I would, too. Which shows how poorly he understood (understands) me.

So now I don't really feel like a whole complete person. My first name is my identity. This silly second name is just an appellation of social convention, not my real name.

I don't like our culture's last name conventions.

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