Tuesday, May 23, 2006
So Happy You Are Mine
Reader Shyam Nunley writes me a mail regarding my post on freedom and feminism, in which she explains why she chose to change her name after marriage. She writes:
When I became engaged several years ago I had several people ask me why I would ever take another person's name. My answer was and always will be: "My maiden name is not my own. It is my father's father's father's name. My first and middle name are not my own either, they were given to me by my parents. What difference does it make whether I keep the patriarchal name I received at birth or I choose to take the legal name of the person I now share an address with? Everyone has been given someone else's name. Wives are the only ones given an option of changing our names or not. Men are saddled with a name which carries all the weight of their fathers since the beginning of the family. Seems to me I am the one with more social options than my love."And just at the time when I begin to wonder how a lady can have a name like 'Shyam,' she explains:
As a post script I feel inclined to say that my real first name is Shyam, however it is not an Indian name. I only mention this because others have been confused and on occasion insulted when they find out I am an American. My parents were "free spirits" and when my father had to join the military to support his pregnant wife he often wrote to her while away. Every letter he signed S.H.Y.A.M. This stood for So Happy You Are Mine. When I was born my mother graced me with that name never having heard it before. It was not until years later, when my circle of friends widened, that I started to hear it as an Indian name.Wow.