Another book I took on holiday with me was blogger Jessica Valenti's 'young woman's guide to why feminism matters' Full Frontal Feminism. Reading it, it became quite clear that - thanks to the many supporters of conservative and religious movements in the country - sexism seems to be on a whole different level in the US from what it is here in Germany (and it's bad enough here, trust me). Especially when it comes to the craziness that surrounds the issue of marriage. Apparantely, a 2006 study showed that the average amount spent on U.S. weddings is almost $28,000!
One of the passages that stuck with me the most (besides the one where Jessica explains how the Bush administration ordered the spending of $100 million dollars per year on religious-based programs that tell women with lower incomes that getting married is the best way out of poverty - all this money could have gone into education, child care and job training!) was this one:For the life of me, I will never understand why a woman today would change her last name. It makes no sense whatsoever. You want future kids to have the same last name as you and your hubby? Hyphenate, bitch!
To Jessica, changing your surname represents an exchange of ownership, presumably from your dad's last name to your new husband's. I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable changing my name (and not just because of all the bureaucratic hassle it implies), and Jessica's take on things made me wonder what my educated married girlfriends were thinking giving away their identities; it could hardly have been that all of them had unpretty surnames before, and I doubt that the decision to alter your name should be vanity-driven. Romance... Hardly! Any better ideas?