Father’s Surname – Sexist ?

“What’s in a name ? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet ” – William Shakespeare

I agree but why should children automatically end up with their father’s surname?

Most of us have our father’s name, surname or caste attached to our name. And if you are a married woman, you have most probably adopted your husband’s surname after dropping your daddy’s name, (Though you do have a choice to retain it).

This whole concept of paternal surnames reek of sexism and patriarchy. My point is, why a man’s name ? Why not your mother’s name? (Though I bet her surname must also be her daddy’s name before marraige! Oh the irony!)

Now there are several innocent reasons or explanations to this Paternal-naming system – It’s easier to remember the family tree or Your poor daddy couldn’t give birth to you, atleast let him give his name and so on…..

Do not get carried away because the harsh truth is we still belong to a society where a woman’s identity is based on her father or husband’s family and status quo. She may be a doctor, lawyer or teacher, but people would still prefer addressing her as Mrs. XYZ .

In olden times, women were treated as third class citizens and were considered commodities that belonged to their husband. Haven’t the times changed now? Why are we still following this stupid outdated patriarchal naming tradition ?

Mommies give birth, carry their babies for nine months in their womb, and do majority of parenting. So isn’t it just better and fair for babies to end up with mommy’s name? Think .

Here’s few lines by “Everything But The Girl” –
You must give your child a name some time
Well you mean his and what’s wrong with mine?
Yeah, what’s wrong with mine?
I’m okay and I don’t need his name, thank you
Mine fits me nicely, mine will do
Yeah, mine will do

18 thoughts on “Father’s Surname – Sexist ?

  1. Wow…
    Well thought & well said…
    Until quite recently, I never saw a girl retain her maiden name,but nowadays, I do…
    But giving the child, the mother’s surname is a different conversation, & a beautiful one..
    Who knows,maybe this little change could try to bring a balance in this male dominated society

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written and very inspiring. It is important to keep your own identity and if one wants to keep their mothers maiden name then i believe they should have the right to do so. Here in the UK you can keep any surname you want, and i dont see any restrictions. However even today this issue should be raised to educate the nation. Well done i appreciate your hardwork to spread awareness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to know that in UK, you are allowed to keep any surname you want. Sadly, Indian society doesn’t work this way.
      I mean, ppl need to stand up for themselves especially women if they want equal status here .

      Like

  3. Unfortunately, our surnames are reminders of the fact that we still belong to the patriarchal society, even today. According to this, it seems to me that, even today, the woman is not completely free, but is either her father’s property or her husband’s. However, there is no real justification for this, except that maybe in some societies law regulations are on the side of the man, but even so, this is then a part of the legal discrimination of the woman. The times when women were regarded as slaves should have gone long ago. Why should a woman be deprived of the right to choose whether she will accept her future husband’s name, or retain hers, or even add his surname to hers? And why would her child, straight after birth, be automatically registered under the father’s surname, and not the mother’s? As far as I know, not any father takes paternity leave to take care of his new-born child, but mothers takes maternity leave. Actually, there was only one case of this, but that man was labelled as ‘henpecked’ and was the subject of ridicule among his friends and the society. On the other hand, a self-supporting mother who has no husband can only give her child her surname, and only because of that, her child is exposed to mockery and humiliation from the side of those who have both parents and each of whom has his/her father’s surname. These are only a few cases among many which call for serious attention of the public in every society and which tell us that something has to be changed, starting from our way of thinking to law regulations. Therefore, whether we have our father’s or mother’s surname, or later, whether a woman accepts her husband’s surname or not should be the matter of individual choice, it shouldn’t be an issue, but judging a woman or a child on the basis of whose surname they have accepted IS a serious issue and is nothing but the act of discrimination.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is a very thought-provoking post.
    I am open to even giving up my maiden name in marriage, for the reasons you mention. It’s a patriarchal relic and it’s not really fair considering the fact that the mother does child-bearing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! Well said. It’s not fair, considering its the mother who actually gives birth to the child.
      So let the child choose whose surname he/she wants instead of just assuming and giving him , his father’s surname.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. An interesting and well-written article, Sneha. This is a subject that we have often talked about. I live in the UK, am Swedish by birth and now married to an Englishman. At one point we considered hyphenating our surnames, but then I wonder where it ends?! More women in Europe retain their maiden name and it is good this is becoming more recognised. However, the child still tends to take the name of the father … just as you say. Why should this be?! Talking to my son the other day, he actually said he would have preferred my maiden name as his surname, bless him … I think if I hadn’t spend so many years correcting everyone’s pronunciation I would have kept it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is awesome. I have no issues in a child taking up his Daddy’s surname but shudnt that be his choice Rather than Patriachal surname bestowed upon him at the time of his birth?
      I live in India and it’s sad the way women are treated here without any identity of their own.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Penned well Sneha
    You expressed your thoughts amazingly ….even though I’m against it , I just liked it & enjoyed reading .
    I’m one who deeply interested in this traditional aspects .
    ……Sorry
    According to me it’s always a confidence to hold my father’s name along with my name.

    Liked by 1 person

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