I have been wasting time lately on Facebook.com looking for old friends. It occurred to me that one can mine the "Friends" lists of Friends for people one knows and invite them, thereby finding out who lives where and what they are up to. It is fun.
It is frustrating.
Men are there, to be plucked like apples from a tree for your "Friends" list. Joe Dixie then is Joe Dixie now.
But the women? More elusive. Married and not going by the same name you knew them as when you knew them in high school or college or the early years of a job. Or even if you were at their wedding, now 25 years later, they might be remarried and have a new name again.
I kept mine when I married, though it was accident that gave me the reason to follow through with that whim.
I anticipated much progress for "women's lib" in the 80's, after I had been told in 1976 that I should not bother to go into architecture because women would just quit to have babies, and after signing up anyway to find I was one of 3 girls in a class of 80 some architecture students, and after giving up due to a terrible couple of quarters where the instructor would not give me or the other girls the time of day or any critique or guidance on our projects. I switched to interior design school where the genders were represented more equally and treated more fairly. There, one of the senior projects was to, at great expense, make a resume to be printed at a print shop and a portfolio of photographs and design statements of our projects. Without thinking, I used my full name on those items. So keeping my own name when I got married that summer meant I didn't have to redo the expensive resume and letterhead. I might not have had the nerve, "women's lib" progressing or no, to fight the tradition and keep my maiden name but for the great investment in the resume and portfolio coupled with the odd notion that a quirky last name might be of benefit in a creative field.
I wasn't too worried about bucking tradition because I figured it would soon be the norm. What did it matter that a woman had a different last name than her husband and maybe even her kids? It was my name. I expected keeping ones name for life to become "normal".
But apparently few of my generation or even generations since have felt this way. Making it very difficult to recognize from a first name and a 50-plus-year-old-face in a photograph whether Sue Harper is the Sue Wilson I knew in college or not.
What happened to "women's lib" anyway?
Why hasn't this been part of the "progress", that women get to keep their names their whole lives?
Women, why haven't more of you kept your names when you married?
Men, do you really need a woman to take you name to feel married? Why don't YOU encourage women to keep their names?