Before the wedding preparations, I made it clear to my fiance that I plan to keep my last name along with his, a decision that caused a bit of friction. At least, initially.
Now, my husband-to-be is a kind, supportive, and understanding soul but he’s also a traditionalist. Him being wary of my decision to keep my last name is understandable because Filipino traditions are annoyingly patriarchal.
The fact is, I am a proud, fiercely independent woman who doesn’t care for conformity. I am also inflexible when it comes to my principles.
Of course, he had his own issues when I voiced out my opinion to use a hyphenated last name but the boyf probably knew better than to talk me out of it. Though he relented, he pointed out that my being a feminist is the reason why I refuse to drop my last name. That turned into yet another long discussion.
The poor dude was worried that his friends will think less of him because his wife wanted to keep her last name. I told him that if that’s the case, maybe he needs to rethink his circle of friends.
You know, I do feel bad that I have to hurt my fiance’s precious ego, I really do. Especially since he let me get away with so many ridiculous shit throughout our relationship but I was like, “no, this will not do.”
While it’s true that I am also a feminist who believes and strives for equality, this has nothing to do with feminism at all. I feel that we, as a society, impose these imaginary – not to mention ridiculous – boundaries that confine and suppress our authentic selves. And sadly, women always get the short end of the stick.
Why should women drop their last name after marriage along with our identity, residence (traditionally, a woman will marry into a man’s family, not the other way around), and status? How come men are not traditionally forced into keeping their spouses’ last name?
Fuck conformity and long-standing traditions. I am me and I was born with this name. I spent 33 years of my life building this name and I intend to keep it until the day I die. No man will ever make me change it. I refuse to be pressured into changing my name just because society expects it.
Does my refusal to dropping my last name meant I don’t love my husband? Surely not. This tradition is dated, sexist, and unnecessary.
When I come into this marriage, I go on equal ground with my spouse. I will not start from scratch with a new last name. I came into this relationship as me and I will remain as me until I turn to dust. I won’t let a sexist tradition dictate which family I belong to.
In the Philippine constitution, there is no law that requires women to change their last name after marriage. Apart from opting to not change your last name at all (ex: Tina Lee), the law gives married women three options:
1) Her maiden first name and surname + her husband’s surname ex: Tina Lee-Almazar
2) Her maiden first name and her husband’s surname ex: Tina Almazar
3) Her husband’s full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as “Mrs.” ex: Mrs. Joel Almazar
I will be gunning for option 1: Tina Lee-Almazar. Quite frankly, I want to drop the “Lee” and use my mother’s maiden last name which is “Coliamco” and go by Coliamco-Almazar, but I think that’s pushing it a bit.
For the record, this is not a rant but I want to educate women about their rights. If you have a strong connection with your maiden name and you feel like you are “losing” your identity by dropping your last name after marriage, you don’t have to make that sacrifice at all.
The law is not sexist. You are not required to change your maiden last name at all. In fact, you can still use your old passport, government IDs and whatnot after getting married! A supportive spouse should understand your need to keep your last name if it meant the world to you. Luckily, my fiance is super supportive :3
NOTE: Of course, out of respect for my husband-to-be, I asked his permission before posting this 😀