Aurinĭa wrote:Do you know why that law was created in 1900?
No. It's on my list of things to investigate, but I haven't gotten to it yet.
Aurinĭa wrote: Varislintu wrote:
Everybody needs to make their own decisions, but my opinion is (...) that it makes the most sense that children get their mother's last name. But my son is still an oddity, getting my name, and I have gotten weird comments about it already.
Why do you think that?
Please read this only after you've explained your reasons.
Okay! I think it makes most sense to go with the mother's name because:
1. I think matrilinear societies make more sense in the first place. It's usually clear who gives birth to someone, while biological fatherhood can always fall under doubt. The patrilinear naming that came with patriarchal society and family structures in my view led to a huge insecurity about biological lineages, and the women were the ones who suffered for this as men and the society working for the patrilinear system felt the need to increasingly control them and the access to their reproductive systems. We're still trying to recover from the eons of this misery even in our culture. Of course, biological lineage is not that important anymore (not like it used to be), so one can argue that this is irrelevant already. But... how many children get their names from their mother again? We still live with this ghost, and the only way to dispel it is to normalise the opposite custom. Okay, this ended up being two separate reasons in one, kind of like two shades of the same issue.
2. The mother makes the baby, almost literally (the fetus of course is the most active instigator of the process -- the mother's body mostly tries to fight the whole process, interestingly). It grows literally from her body, her body's building blocks.
3. Related to the previous, being a mother is an extremely physical experience in the first months, in a way that it is not for the father. The intensity and duration of this physical involvement depends on things like how does the breastfeeding work out, who stays how long with the baby, how laid back is the baby, and how involved the father wants to get. But in the typical setting, where the mother stays home in the beginning and brestfeeds, or pumps milk, etc, the degree to which your body as a mother is not yours but both yours and the baby's cannot be compared to the father's involvement in the beginning. And yet, it is so essential for the new little person. Taking into account this and reason 2 above, the father will never catch up. The sheer, crude biological investment is mainly the woman's, and it affects her biology the rest of her life. I think that's a very good reason to go for the mother's name.
I haven't mentioned this before here, but our baby fits pretty well into what is described as the high needs
temperament. It has required me to invest physically even more than an average, easier baby requires. I haven't, for example, slept a longer stretch than two hours more than a handful of times in the last 8 months. This will affect my health long term. I'm wearing the baby in a manduca right now because he can't sleep without my physical presense. (This is actually a huge improvement -- until 6 months of age he didn't like the manduca and was not able to sleep in a sling either.
) I know this will sound like I'm bemoaning my fate (a no-no for mothers if ever there was one), but I'm aiming for an actual point
: I'd love to have three more babies if I'd get to be the father! As it is now I'll need to seriously recuperate before deciding whether to have even one more and risk it being another high needs one. And if I'd get to be the father, I'd absolutely feel that those babies should get the hypothetical mother's last name, if the mother just wants to give it. I would not be able to match her sheer physical investment, and I'd be so ridiculously grateful to get to have children without having to make the investment myself.
These are of course just my personal experiences, but I am only talking about my opinion here, too.
Aurinĭa wrote:I agree that everybody needs to make their own decisions, but I think it makes sense to give a child the father's name. After all, the mother carried the child, which is a connection the father (or non-carrying other mother) can't have, so giving his (her) name to the child name would be an extra connection between father and child.
I think that's admirable.
This was the main reason that I considered giving up my wish for the baby to have my last name. I think it's a good and valid reason. It's like a gift. One thing that I realised when mulling these things over, was that nobody else will see it as a gift. They won't even notice, or think about it. The baby getting the father's name is just the father's unquestioned privilege in this society, he will just be getting his due, because of course babies are named after the father. This wasn't the reason we ended up choosing my name, but it did make me feel a bit sad. You can't give a privileged person a gift related to that privilege in society's eyes. On a personal level of course, the receiver may realise what the other one gave up in giving it. It's a bit like male authors of PhDs or novels, thanking in the acknowlegements theirs wives for running the household and kids and typing up their manuscripts and proofreading them so they themselves could focus on other things. Like, I'm sure on the personal level the wife feels warm inside being thanked, because she may know the husband actually knows what she sacrificed, but on a societal level it's more of the same structural sexism.
Aurinĭa wrote:Other reasons to choose one name over the other could include: one name is nicer, easier to spell, rarer, sounds better in combination with the given name, etc.
Yeah, these would have weighed heavily in our case, but as it happens, we both have simple, easy, internationally similarly easy-to-pronounce names.
I almost wish I was called Äyskäröinen or something, just so it had been easier to decide.