Well, the honeymoon is over. I really tried to like Jewcy. I did. They were talking about interesting things, in interesting ways, but recently there have been a rash of articles that just make me uncomfortable. Too many in-jokes, unfunny/insulting jokes, it reads like a blog. Which is fine, but I expect a bit more professionalism from a for-profit endeavor. Not even my crush on the death-defying and ever crushworthy Tahl Raz can save it.
For instance, in Amy Odell's latest Dating Blogger entry she drops the f-bomb in the title, and again in the first line. It is jarring and unpleasant, and as I read on, somewhat unwarranted. My mother (who still castigates me if I use the word "butt" at the dinner table) used to tell me that profanity is a symptom of a limited vocabulary. I kind of agree.
But that isn't really what I meant to talk about. One of the bright lights of Jewcy is Tamar Fox who writes thoughtful pieces that I wish provoked more discussion. One of which is about the comparison between Queen Esther and Beauty Pagent winners today. It got me thinking about feminism and names. Tamar cites Betty Myerson (a Miss America winner) as a Jewish woman who refused to change her last name to something "less Jewish-sounding." Clearly a great deal is bound up in last names, and the identity that they provide.
While I was in college I had the discussion with some girl friends about what we would/will do when it comes time to get married and decide on last names. One friend said that she'd keep her last name, the roommate said that she'd make up a new name (ie Cohen and Goldberg would become Cohenberg, or Golden), and I said that I'd take my husband's name. Of course this generated calls of remonstrance against me for abandoning the feminist principles for which I "claim to stand." Here was my reasoning:
1) I want to have the same last name as my children. It is harder to travel internationally otherwise, and to prove parental status in cases of emergency.
2) I don't want my kids to have a hyphenated last name. CJ has a hyphenated last name, and it made me think. How on earth do the offspring of hyphenated families manage in the next generation? If I am Annie Smith, and I marry George Jones, my kids could be Smith-Jones. But what if my Smith-Jones kids fall in love with Harley's Cohen-Goldberg kids? And get married? Can my girls really become Smith-Jones-Cohen-Goldberg? Should they have to? What about their kids?
3) If I don't hyphenate, and instead combine, then it becomes more difficult to trace genealogy.
My mother (two mentions in one post! Clearly I'm a bit homesick) has a hyphenated last name, but didn't pass it on to her children.
In other words, you should pity poor Mischa or Lilit Smith-Jones.
Update 2/1/07: Dear Prudence has a question about hyphenation, and Jewcy talks about names for children