Hat tip to Felicity for sending this one through for my attention.
Under the auspices of standing up for feminist values, Hanson has called out the Sun’s editor (and soon to be chief exec of News International, apparently) Rebekah Wade on her decision to take her second husband’s name after her recent marriage. Wade (sorry, Brooks now) is, in Hanson’s view, disrespecting the achievements of feminist and suffrogettes.
“she’ll be letting down all those thousands of women, from 1850s Massachusetts suffragette Lucy Stone onwards, who have fought for women to retain their own names and independence. But there’s clearly no arguing with her. She will be Mrs Brooks.”
I would like to say; indeed she shall, Ms Hanson. Because that is her choice.
It intrigues me that while critisicing Brooks for being, essentially, anti-feminist, Hanson also levels abuse at her for her lifestyle which is nothing if not an extreme demonstration of a woman succeeding and seemingly having an absolute ball in a man’s world.
“one has to contemplate her lifestyle, because it is relevant. It’s so full of grandeur: flying backwards and forwards across Europe for lunch, chumming up with prime ministers, trying to have news of her promotion delayed until after the general election because it’s so momentous (the promotion, not the general election). She’s the last sort of woman you’d expect to opt to take the back seat, yet here she is, giving up her own name like an ordinary little wife.”
I reckon you don’t have to like all women and their choices to be a feminist. But I do believe you have to fight for their rights to make those choices. And please ladies – stop putting each other down!
If keeping your name matters to you then keep it. If you want to change it, change it. In this modern era of pre-nups, law changes to give married women status and the like, changing your name no longer signifies handing over your independence in the way it once did.
There are many reasons a woman may want to take her husband’s name (and indeed vice versa – I read this article on the BBC a couple of years ago which shows it does sometimes work the other way too!) I love my surname and, like Hanson, am the last one of my line – what with both my sisters being married off, having changed their name, then produced more girls anyway! But I want my children to have the same name as both their parents and double barrelling isn’t really an option with my name.
The issue is not whether a woman takes her husband’s name, but whether she has the choice not to. Brooks had that choice (and indeed exercised it in her first marriage to Ross Kemp when she resolutely stayed Wade for seven years). Please can we let her have that choice again, and not insist that her life is decided for her by a public jury of feminists?