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Women changing their names after marriage is a common practice. But, I believe asking someone to change their name is like questioning their existence!
It is no longer a surprise to me when women change their names after their marriage. They let their family name dissociate from them without a single thought. Some find it cool while others correlate it with an act of love. And some other professionally successful women add their husband’s last time to their maiden names. I believe it is another act of hypocrisy. And I also believe that it is a question of women’s existence beyond names.
Existentialism is a philosophy which focuses on individual existence and their freedom. It means an individual is solely responsible for his or her life. They are free to make choices of their own. We are not essentially anything, except that we are essentially free.
We become self-created beings through our actions and our relations with other people. Name identifies us in space and time. It makes us unique. Names have the power to relate nameless and faceless generations.
Shakespeare may have said, “What’s in a name? A rose, by any other name will smell just as sweet.” But is it really so?
I disagree, especially, when it comes to the name of an individual. A name is the blueprint of the thing we call character. It is not merely a name, it is an artefact of our parent’s lives, culture, and dreams for us. A name is something one usually carries all their lives.
Naming a child is the most important task for an aspiring parents, be it a girl or a boy. I must appreciate that boys continue to pursue and respect their parent’s legacy but it isn’t the same with girls. Ironically, we are living in the age of gender equality. Yet, girls as a whole, fail to respect their parent’s traditions and efforts. They simply surrender it before a stranger who never contributed in her upbringing.
Throughout history, people are so proud of their names that they try to perpetuate it any cost. For many centuries, nobles, artists, musicians and authors dedicated their creative works in their name. People have donated money to bear their names.
That a girl, at the same time, is not entitled to keep her name is really unfair. When a person asks a girl to change or modify her name by any means, they are not less than a culprit; one who dares to ruin her integrity and the bond she shares with her family. This needs to be realised in depth.
Simone de Beauvoir says that a person is not born a woman, but becomes one. Changing name after a customary ritual is not an exception. A name is the single item which is wholly and completely owned by the person. Surrendering it before other is the most cowardly act in the history of civilisation.
Gordon B. Hinckley, a religious leader, says, “be true to who you are and the family name you bear.” Women should make choices wisely and rise above their gender roles.
They can build themselves, without any interference from anyone. Of course, women might have to face challenges but this is not something that discourages us from pursuing what needs to be done. After all, it is a matter of our existence.
Picture credits: YouTube
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