Je suis une housewife….among other things
Welcome to the Madame Perrier section of my blog. It is a personal blog – as opposed to being about books, business or otherwise – in which I will write about daily life, motherhood and the general concerns of a 21st Century woman trying to juggle too much. If you wonder about the name, it’s because Mrs P is my alter ego: a not quite surrendered wife to Le Bloke.
Before Christmas a friend emailed to say that she was “dropping her feminist principles” when addressing the mountain of greetings cards on her desk. Writing two names for couples where the wife had kept her maiden name would take too long. I could sympathise, but the trouble is addressing me as Mrs P means addressing someone who doesn’t exist. Does it matter? Well, it does to me for a number of reasons.
Of course there is the standard feminist objection that taking my husband’s name infers I am his chattel, a word, I am informed, provides the root for cattle. Okay, you probably knew that, but come on, who wants to be called a cow? I like being a woman in my own right, not someone obliterated by the name of someone else. If I had a terrible surname, then perhaps I would take his on board. Likewise, if he had a terrible surname, he could take my name if he wanted.
There is also a professional argument. I have spent a long time building a name for myself as a journalist, commentator and industry expert. My byline has meaning. If I suddenly changed it, I would be starting from scratch. As seasoned marketeers will tell you, you don’t mess with the brand (unless it’s gone all Ratner). Besides, you try growing up in ’70s Manchester with a name no one else has. One day I will tell you about how I was called “Samantha” for a fortnight. I have fought hard for this name, I am not going to relinquish it easily.
Also, I – and here my logic breaks down, as it does occasionally – want to keep my surname because it is a remnant of my father, who died 10 years ago. Sentiment in these matters has a place. Anyway, have you seen the paperwork involved in changing your name? Bank accounts, bills, ownership documents….business cards… passports. Those who know me well know that in my life if admin is unnecessary, it is jettisoned in favour of a more interesting occupation, like writing blogs about life as the wife of Le Bloke.
© Danuta Kean 2012