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My name is Saima and I live in London, England. Welcome to my blog where I have been writing since November 2000. Please make yourself at home.

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December 22nd, 2010
Princess Banana-Hammock or Why I Kept My Surname After Marriage

Yesterday, I asked this question on Twitter: Why do women still change their surnames after marriage? I’m genuinely curious.

I didn’t get many replies so I remain curious and a little perplexed why a woman, who may be a feminist in all other aspects of her life, takes on her new husband’s name. Before I go any further, let me say that I respect the right of everybody to change their name to whatever they choose. I just don’t understand the motive(s) behind the automatic change after marriage in this day and age.

The reason the subject interests me so much is that I didn’t change my name after getting married in 2007 and ever since, my husband and I have had to correct an endless number of people who automatically assume you have the same surname. I’m also always surprised when a woman returns to work after her wedding and has to get her email address, nameplate etc changed. But I had you down as a strong minded career woman…does not compute!

The Rhyme and Reason with a Special Note on Tradition

I’ve spoken to a few people about this issue over the last few years and these are some of the reasons I’ve heard.

Because I love him so much: This is a genuine reason I’ve heard but let’s just call bullshit on this right off the bat. Why does a change of your name equate to love? Does that mean your husband doesn’t love you because he didn’t change his name?

Tradition: I expect many women change their name because of this reason – it’s the way it’s always be done. But as with many things, traditions shouldn’t be followed blindly.

I have a great story about tradition I can share with you now. A woman was teaching her daughter how to cook a pot roast. Her daughter asked her why she cuts off the end of the joint of meat before placing it in the pot. Her mum told her it’s something her own mother had always done so she always did the same. Her daughter then approached her grandmother and asked her the same question to which she received the reply that her pot was small and the joint didn’t always fit. Moral of the story – don’t just do something because it’s what’s always been done, you might be wasting good meat!

You may be surprised to know that this tradition of changing your surname isn’t a universal one; the practice being mostly widespread in English speaking countries (Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Ireland, India, the English-speaking provinces of Canada, and the United States). In fact, such practices were abolished in Arab countries after the dawn of Islam (Muslims as feminists, oh my!). The reasoning behind the change was that the practice of a woman taking her husband’s last name in marriage was thought of as a pagan tradition. Women used to be the property of their fathers until marriage and then when they took their husband’s last name in marriage that meant she was now the property of her husband. Islam opposed this with clear instructions in the Qu’ran and Prophet’s teachings that a woman should keep her family name. Of course, in Islam the child always takes their father’s name which brings me to the next reason.

Having the same name as your children: I can partly understand this reason because not having the same surname as my husband creates issues and with kids, multiply that by n where n is the number of children you have. Perhaps everyone in your family having the same surname is important to you for convenience or other reasons.

This brings up another important point however, why does a child always takes their father’s name? Why is there no link to any of the female ancestors? I expect this is what drives the preference for a male child that has plagued many cultures over the centuries and still to this day.

I’m a Lucy Stoner

Lucy Stone was an “American abolitionist and suffragist, and a vocal advocate and organizer promoting rights for women” who lived in the 19th century. She became famous for insisting on keeping her own name after marriage, a practice that was unheard of back then. She is quoted as saying “A wife should no more take her husband’s name than he should hers. My name is my identity and should not be lost”. Woman who choose to keep their name after marriage are often referred to as Lucy Stoners.

When I got married three years ago there was no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be changing my surname. I hadn’t given it huge amounts of thought previous to this, perhaps a couple of conversations with my sisters or best friend, all who agreed they’d do the same. It wasn’t something I had an official nerve wracking conversation with my then fiancée about it either. He has never had a problem with it and frankly I wouldn’t have fallen in love with and married someone who would insist I take his name.

I have post-wedding given it more thought and wondered what my reason is. It’s simple really, my name is my name. Why should I change it because I am getting married? My husband doesn’t have to change his name, there is no expectation for him to so why is there an expectation for me? I believe it is because of tradition and that tradition stems from a time where women were classed as property. This just seems wrong to me and I don’t want any part of that kind of tradition and practice. (I did toy with the idea of double-barrelling the name but thought that wrong too unless my husband did the same…equality and all that!) I guess it’s my primary reason for not changing my name that makes me question why others do. Perhaps they don’t understand the history, perhaps they do and they’re fine with it or perhaps I’m making a lot of assumptions that are completely untrue. Maybe it’s just a name and not such a big deal after all. Either way, I’m still curious!

Posted at 5:23 pm | 7 comments | Category: General

December 15th, 2010
Michael Jackson’s Michael: An Album Review

When certain albums come out I will buy them on CD. This is because if there is some sort of Armageddon and the whole of the Internet is wiped out, at least I’ll still have my favourite music on hand. Of course, in this scenario I fail to take into account that I no longer own a CD player so I’m not sure where one will magically appear from after a nuclear holocaust but let’s not look too deeply into that. The last album I bought on CD was “FutureSex/LoveSounds” a few years ago and then on Monday I went into HMV and bought Michael Jackson’s posthumous release “Michael”. Here’s my song-by-song live review.

Hold My Hand – Duet with Akon: I’ve never liked an Akon song and this is no exception. This is like no other song Michael has ever done. It’s so Generic McShit; in fact I think I heard a similar song on the NKOTB album.

Hollywood Tonight: Okay, this is more like it but this is “Michael Jackson” not Michael Jackson. It would have been a really good song if the vocals were better.

Keep Your Head Up: I skipped this, a bit too Gone Too Soon for me.

(I Like) The Way You Love Me: There’s a little bit of MJ magic going on at the beginning and it’s very telling of what this album really is.

Monster (Featuring 50 Cent): I got excited when this track started, it sounds very promising. That’s just not his vocals (sounds the least like him out of all the songs) but the song is a very good one. Nicely produced.

Best of Joy: Not MJ, in fact sounds like me on helium. I have to skip this.

Breaking News: Oh yas, I’m liking this. But the autotuning is becoming tiring. If I look past that it’s a great tune.

(I Can’t Make it) Another Day (Featuring Lenny Kravitz): Pretty rocky and strong vocals on this. I think this is one of my favourites on the album so far.

Behind The Mask: 80s sax?! This reminds me of a song from The Lost Boys OST at the beginnning but thankfully it does get better. There’s a really nice hook about a minute in and one of the strongest vocals of the album.

Much Too Soon: Ballad. Skipped.

Overall: I wish it was a Michael Jackson album I was reviewing but it really isn’t. Take Hollywood Tonight as an example of what this album really is; bits of recorded Michael sewn together with Teddy Riley thread. In fact all the songs that don’t sound like MJ are the ones produced by Riley. Oh Teddy, I know you like autotune but was this really necessary? There’s more autotuning on this than an X-Factor live show. I know Riley likes to claim that the album is all Michael Jackson but it’s not just about “take vocals from here, put it with vocals from this“. MJ was a perfectionist and there’s no way he would have released this hodge podge of songs in the guise of an album. Just look at Dangerous which also had some tracks produced by Teddy Riley but is leaps and bounds better than this album.

When Michael Jackson died I was sad that I would never get to see him live but now I know the real tragedy: no more albums.

Posted at 4:58 pm | 2 comments | Category: Music | Tags:

December 12th, 2010
Secret Santa Gift Ideas Under £5

At this time of year, there are countless offices around the world preparing for Christmas parties. This means there are also countless people wondering how on Earth they’re going to manage to buy a Secret Santa present for a measly £5. Come on people, does inflation mean nothing to Santa?! To help those in this conundrum here are some suggestions for semi-decent presents for a fiver. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Hologram Chamber

Hottie Heart Handwarmer

Fairy Cakes Lip Gloss Set of 4

Perfect Badge

Notebook and Pencil

Blackboard Message Mug

Finger Food Spoons

Drumstick Pencils

Posted at 4:40 pm | Leave a comment | Category: Occasions, Style | Tags: , ,

December 12th, 2010
Global Warming: The Facts

If anyone you know becomes a global warming skeptic come Autumn, show them this sketch by Armstrong and Miller.

Posted at 3:52 pm | 2 comments | Category: Comedy, Current Affairs | Tags: ,

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