Forenames and Surnames
Weird title isn’t it? Well, not necessarily.
There’s a Yoruba adage that says “We look at the family/home before we name a child.” This can also be translated to mean that before a child is named, the circumstances surrounding the birth of that child is considered. In other words, names in Nigeria have very deep important meanings.
You are probably wondering why I am giving you a lecture on names. Well, it just so happens that lately, names have been coming up in many of my conversations with people. Mostly, about why a woman should take her husband’s surname and why children should take their fathers’ surnames instead of their mothers’ or wouldn’t it be better if they had compound names instead?
Now let’s get one thing straight, we wouldn’t even be talking about this if not for the patriarchy that runs deep in our society.
There’s also a Yoruba adage that says “no matter what, the children will always belong to their father.”
Sayings like this, are the problem. I honestly don’t care whose name the children take or even if they have compound names or not, it would all be pointless if the orientation the children have is bad.
What is important is what we teach our children, the way they view gender roles, the way they see women, what they think of their father? Is he a superhuman who must never cry, who can never show emotions? Is he aggressive and chauvinistic? Is he simply the financial provider? Or is he the supreme commander of the family? Is he the perfect definition of who the society say a man is?
What about their mother? Do they consider her weak because she is a woman? Are her opinions respected in the family? Is there mutual respect between the parents? Does she have a say in the home? Questions like these, are what is important.
A lot of women, tryout their first names with their partners’ last names just to hear what it would sound like, if they eventually get married. This is because for some women, it is somehow important that they take their husbands’ last name to prove that they are married. Some even after divorce will join the ex-husband’s name and the new husband’s name together, making it a compound name. What is exactly is the point?
And now there are arguments on whether it is proper for a woman not to take her husband’s last name or if it is okay for her to hyphenate(i.e her father’s name and her husband’s name). Honestly and truthfully, it doesn’t matter, if she wants to keep her father’s name it’s fine, if she wants to take her husband’s name, cool. Even though, I don’t buy the idea of joining the ex and the present together, if she wants to, it’s fine. If she doesn’t even want any of these options and she gives herself a different last name, fine as well.
What’s important is that a woman should not lose the essence of who she is. She should always remember that she is a woman and she is capable of making her own choices.
Thank you so much for reading. I’d really love to know what you think about this topic, so kindly leave your opinions below. In my next post, I’ll be discussing an amazing book I just read. Thank you once more.