This is a guest post from Chally, a scary feminist. Among other things, she’s a non-white, heterosexual, cis, disabled, middle class woman. She lives in Australia and enjoys knitting, Doctor Who and cake. You can find her at Zero at the Bone.
My mother changed her name back to her pre-marital name a few years back now.
She’s the most darling person I know. She seems to have gotten on many charities’ phone lists over the years. When we’re hanging out together and the phone rings, this is what I all too often hear as her side of the conversation:
‘Hi, yes, that’s not my name though… It used to be Mrs Oldname, now it’s Ms Name… I mean you’ve got my details wrong… Actually, I donated some money when you called me before and the operator promised me they’d changed my record then. And this has happened before… My name has changed, can you remove my old name from your system?… I think you do really good work, it’s not that… I just want you to have my name right because this is getting- … I know charities aren’t a part of the do not call scheme, I’m asking-’
You’re asking the woman for money. Don’t deny her identity while doing so.
One organisation with which I was registered required me to yearly fill out a form listing my personal details, including my parents’ names. This was primarily aimed at correcting any out of date information they might have on file. When my mother changed her name and title, I submitted these changes. I did it again and again. In letters, in forms, in everything, the organisation ignored these changes. I made a fuss every time. For years. Eventually I ended up yelling, tearful, in public. Someone nipped off to the registration office and got the records to reflect my mother’s actual name. But she was still listed as a Mrs, not her preferred Ms. She probably still is.
None of this shit happened when she changed her name upon marriage.
How dare this amazing, wonderful being claim her own identity?
Note: I got her to read this through before publishing. An objection: ‘Can a lady say “shit”?’ My response to this sort of thing is always ‘well, I’m a lady, and I [whatever], so yes.’ It’s one of our running jokes.
Note II: Regarding the title, yes, I know it’s a mishmash of quotes. I went to drama school, I can do what I like.