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November 18, 2018

SCOPHINE OTIENO: Society breeding weak men whose egos are pricked by mere names

"Women taking up their husbands’ name in this era of smartphones is a choice born either by the desire to follow tradition or agreement between the spouses."
"Women taking up their husbands’ name in this era of smartphones is a choice born either by the desire to follow tradition or agreement between the spouses."

A lot of ink has been spilt over the discourse on whether or not a woman should take her husband’s last name.

What boggled my noggin, however, was an opinion article published in the Star on August 31 where the writer labeled women who have elected not to adopt their husbands’ name as 'immature'.

A wise man once averred that people tend to criticize and rubbish concepts, ideas and generally things they do not fathom or which do not fit into their paradigm of understanding.

Chauvinism, misogyny and intellectual balderdash carefully crafted in flowing prose in the name of advice to women must halt in 2018.

Feminism is not a fight to pee while standing like men, rather believing in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

Pardon me for I am a legal pagan but taking up a husband’s name has no legal basis - it’s purely a socio-cultural issue and if I may borrow the words of my most enamored Writer Chimamanda Ngozi - Adichie: "Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture."

Women taking up their husbands’ name in this era of smartphones is a choice born either by the desire to follow tradition or agreement between the spouses.

In the same breath of Choice, there is nothing wrong with the ilk who feel they do not need to adopt hubby’s name to feel married, gratified or whole. ​

Winnie Byanyima, Uganda Opposition Chief Kizza Besigye's wife who is such an accomplished woman in her own right, Chimamanda Ngozi a decorated Novelist, Chrissy Teigen married to International singer John Legend are amongst women who respect their unions but are not bearing their husbands names.

There is nothing ratchet about them and they are role-model powerhouses young girls strive to emulate.

A woman must be allowed to choose to be identified by their personal achievements rather who they are married to for marriage is a milestone in life and not an achievement.

The society has churned out a click of weaklings who despite vaunting classroom knowledge are still held down mentally by shackles of patriarchy and to them- a woman’s ultimate purvey of respect to the sanctity of a marriage is if they answer to his name.

Their egos are like eggshells, their self-esteem low like end-year sale discount that needs constant massaging; they need to exert authority even in unions that emphasise on partnership just to feel like men.

This twisted mentality is a huge setback to female emancipation the African Society so much craves for.

Here is Teigen’s response on why she did not take John Legend’s name.

"I am not anti-taking the last name at all,” she said. “I was going to. I just never got around to it and it isn’t even the name he goes by. It wasn’t some grand statement not to. I just don’t see how the choice affects anyone else – why do people care so much!"

True. Couples- read women should be free to choose whichever names they want to after marriage or simply stay as they are.

Because, as Chrissy Teigen suggests, it’s really nobody else’s business!

 

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