December 09, 2004
Name shame game
Dean Esmay has a fascinating discussion and thread about a pet cause (if not obsession) by some leftists and feminists:
It looks like some well-known left-wing bigots are now attacking Michelle Malkin for keeping her maiden name for legal purposes, but using her married name for most other purposes.(Michelle Malkin did a pretty good job of defending her name here.)
What's in a name change, anyway? There's a tradition about these things going back many, many years (Roman women added their husband's names upon marriage), and some people respect it, some don't. No one can force anyone to change his name, to take someone else's name, or even to keep his own name. (My father, by the way, told me that my life would be a lot easier if I changed the spelling of my name from "Scheie" to "Shay," but I prefer the misery I have always known.)
Who the hell is anyone to tell a woman (or a man, for that matter) what name to use? Isn't that the business of the individual? The idea that someone has any say in the life of someone else -- to me that's one of the most ugly aspects of human behavior, and because I'm likely to overreact and do exactly what such people tell me not to do, the trickiest part of life has been figuring out how not to be influenced by it at all.
Michelle Malkin was said to be a hypocrite for changing her name (to her husband's name) but leaving her maiden name on some form somewhere for the leftists to discover. For that she belongs in a concentration camp and has no right to criticize Teresa Heinz for adding the "Kerry" only for politics or something. (I admit, I'm having a bit of trouble following the logic.)
But hey, wait a second! Isn't Teresa's full name really "Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira Heinz Kerry?" Why pick and choose, stopping with the "Heinz?"
How are we supposed to parse this insanity in political terms? She took and kept one husband's name, right? She might want to lose the Kerry, right? (I wouldn't blame her; in the long run, "Heinz" will probably retain its value and have better name recognition than "Kerry.")
So what's the big deal?
Why must personal decisions be seen, criticized and analyzed in terms of crackpot theories of dominance and subordination, anyway? Suppose they legalized same sex marriage. Would anyone criticize one spouse's decision to take the name of the other spouse? I doubt it.
I suspect this has to do more with judging and shaming the woman (there's that hideous shame topic again) than anything else. These are personal, private decisions, and they're public only to the extent that one's name is public.
The topic does lead, however, to something that has long intrigued me about feminist theory. It's wrong for women to be dependent, right? OK. I can accept the idea of independence and individuality for anyone who wants it -- male or female. To be less than independent is akin to slavery.
So that would appear to make me a feminist.
So what I want to know is: why do the vast majority of feminists believe in socialism? Feminism has even been defined as socialism (perhaps as environmentalism too) but it makes no sense, and libertarian feminists are left out of the picture.
Socialism means dependency on the state. Why would anyone supporting independence be in favor of socialism? Slapping the label of "feminist" on it only adds insult to injury.
If (as the logic goes) dependency on men is bad, what makes dependency on government good?
I mean, isn't there a power imbalance there too?
I also strongly suspect that there's a power imbalance going on with the very name "Socialism." I think it's another one of those true names that dare not speak its name.
posted by Eric on 12.09.04 at 10:01 AM
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Welcome to the 117th Carnival of the Vanities! With the holiday shopping season in full swing, I'll be taking you folks on a trip to the Carnival of the Vanities Mall to get your weekly ration of rich, bloggy goodnessTM.... [Read More] Tracked on December 15, 2004 6:22 PM
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