Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Monday, December 06, 2010

PSA-What I am is what I am

And what I am not is Mrs Bob.

Don't get me wrong. I love my husband dearly, and am delighted to have taken his last name, mostly because in the time I've known him, he's done more for me in more ways than the father I never knew who saddled me with a name I know nothing about, a name that belongs to strangers.

But... When I get a piece of mail addressed to Mr and Mrs Bob, I get angry. It's the erasure of my identity as a person in that casual address, as if I am an adjunct to Bob and have no meaning or purpose without him. This is very much not the case. Bob and I love each other very much and are very much a couple, but we are not a single unit.

Women have been expected to disappear into how men define them for most of civilized history. I refuse this. Men are not compelled to discard their first or last names. Nor are they compelled to declare their marital status in their form of address, why should women have to do so? I am Ms Jamie, not Mrs. Bob. I will not be defined by any societal mannerism that diminishes me.

I took Bob's name because it was a way for me to both honor him and shed a name that that came to mean very little to me once my grandmother passed away. My father brought me nothing but pain and emotional damage. He ruined my ability to trust people, ruined my capacity for interacting with men in a healthy manner for most of my life, and ruined any chance of a normal, healthy relationship with his family. In fact, I feel his behavior robbed me of half my family. I was happy to get rid of his name and take the name of a man who loves and respects me, who would never abandon me, who treats me like a valuable part of his life and not like an unfortunate accident who should not exist.

(Plus, Bob's name only has one syllable, and I've always wanted a name with one syllable.)

So, if you're sending me a card this year, do me a favor, and address it to the people who live here, Bob and Jamie Fritz. It signifies that you acknowledge me as a person, and not just an extension of an admittedly wonderful man.

Thanks.

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1 comment:

Jody said...

Love this entry Jamie, I'm with you 100%!