Friday, April 21, 2006

What's in a Name?

So I was reading WK's column about the Prime Minister's wife, and what we should call her, and my wife commented that she was happy to take my name.

At the risk of outing myself, my last name is Quirk.

You can well imagine how finding someone who was a) willing to marry be b) mother my children and c) take my last name was, shall we say, a bit of a challenge (given my otherwise flawless personality these were the only challenges :-).

I never gave it a thought. In my single days, I always assumed the woman I married would do whatever she wanted. I did think that our children should have my name and not some freakishly hyphenated thing and maybe that makes me sexist, paternalistic but I was the last male Quirk in my family and the proud name must continue. (In fact, there is an ongoing bet from university that gives me $1000 if I can persuade her to name our next boy James Tiberius, but that is for another post).

Isn't the whole feminist thing about giving women the choice to do what they want and then accepting that choice? My wife chose to take my name - despite how weird it is. My wife chooses to stay at home with our kids - despite the fact she made a lot more money than I can ever hope to. My wife likes it when I hold the door open for her - despite the fact that someone commented it on it being sexist. She often says that the result of many of the feminist strides over the years have served to make it more difficult for women to be the women they choose to be and not what the feminist movement expects them to be.

Anyone who knows her, knows she doesn't put up with any crap and no one is forcing her to do anything she doesn't want to do.

Meanwhile, I think that WK has it right. What the Prime Minister's wife chooses to call herself is her business. I just don't think anyone should be offended if they choose to use their maiden name and someone refers to them by their married name accidently.

Q(uirk) out

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