@jillfilipovic @kristinrawls @jamilsmith @scatx I want to know why we're evaluating women's choices at all rather than social pressures?
— Ana Mardoll (@anamardoll) March 7, 2013
I feel pretty okay with that.
I am a woman who changed her name at marriage -- twice! -- for complex social reasons that I would like to see meaningfully discussed and addressed rather than being told that my reasons were nonsense and that part of feminism is being "fundamentally opposed" to a choice that I and many other women knowingly make for their own protection in a misogynist society. I think we can have that discussion about society without judging women for making that potentially very painful choice.
Nor do I think it is valuable to approach this conversation without acknowledgement of the fact that many men do attempt to take their wives' names in marriage -- and have been legally discriminated against for doing so. It is not helpful to obscure that context or to invisible those men who are being discriminated against by the kyriarchy by removing them from the discussion and framing the issue of name changing as nothing more than a choice that either party in a mixed-gender marriage can make with equal social pressures and legal tools on either side.
Nor do I think it in any way appropriate to insist that one's name is one's identity, or that it "situates [one] in the world" for eternity. That sort of thing should be confined to I-statements, and does not mesh with ally-intersectionality for a number of different groups: trans* persons who do not believe their name reflects their self, people from abusive families who do not wish to be tied to that family through a shared name, and numerous other marginalized groups who have the right to reject any framing that insists that the name given them at birth is part of their intrinsic identity.
On a related subject, you need to go read this from Amadi at Amadi Talks because it is amazing.