A loaded conversation, that’s what.
Just listen to all the talk Beyonce stirred up with her decision to take her husband’s last name while on her latest Forget the Bank Account, Let’s Fill the Entire Damn Vault adventure, otherwise known as The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour.
The Web is lighting up, with sides clearly forming. One camp argues that Ms. Knowles, er, Mrs. Carter is setting women back centuries, by subverting her own identity and choosing to be known by the name of the man she wed. The other champions her as a model for all women, showing the world she is her own person, making her own choices freely, and separate from the man she took as her husband.
It all leads to one very important question: Who the hell gets married these days?
Aside from that, though, the decision by the pop star is just the latest in a string of interesting name-related choices. Remember when she was Sasha Fierce? It was a persona she said she adopted to give herself permission to be sexier while performing (and if you caught her Super Bowl halftime wrigglefest, which left strippers agape with envy, you’d have to say it worked).
And how about the time she married a guy with a single-letter surname, Jay Z (which loses street cred in Canada, where it comes out “Jay Zed”)? Or the time she dubbed her kid Blue Ivy (thereby ensuring, once the little one reaches legal age, that name changes will be a family tradition)?
Perhaps Beyonce has a few issues with identity. Or maybe she just likes filling out name change request forms (though she can hire HitchSwitch.com for 40 bucks to do it all for her).
Regardless, her celebrity status has put the spotlight on an issue facing many women in modern times. Do they keep their own name? Take their partner’s? Hyphenate? Use one name personally, and another professionally (but not necessarily in the way that Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton did)?
They still face societal pressures, as exemplified by this “opinion” offered by Steve on The Art of Manliness forum, commenting on the duty of a new bride: “If she didn’t take my last name I’d be highly suspicious. She’s probably a radical feminist socialist lesbian.”
(Steve, it should be noted, might be a little stressed by trying to learn to walk upright without his knuckles dragging on the ground. And also by not having had a date in, oh, ever.)
Let’s hope that’s not the deciding reason for the 86 per cent of women who take their husband’s name upon marriage. Brides should do whatever is most comfortable for them. It is clearly their choice, and whatever they decide should be accepted, respected and even applauded.
And if that doesn’t feel right to you, gentlemen, ask yourself how secure you would be in taking your lady’s last name at the altar. Jay Z, after all, could just as easily start touring as Jay Knowles.
Now do you get what’s in a name?
Above: Singer Beyonce performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Image credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images