Sunday, March 20, 2011

Writers and Name Changes

There was once a writer called Josefina Rodríguez. She was quite a promising writer and wrote well. Then she got married to another writer whose last name was Aldecoa. So she added her husband's name to her own and became Josefina Rodríguez Aldecoa. Gradually, her personality became even more diluted in her husband's and her own name shrank to a simple R. She was now Josefina R. Aldecoa. As her own self grew smaller, her writing became weaker. Eventually, she dropped the R. and became simply Josefina Aldecoa.

People say that she is the only writer ever who wrote under four different names none of which was a pseudonym. She is also a sad example of how women used to give up on their identities in order to please some guy who couldn't have possibly been worth it.


fairykarma said...

1. I've been thinking about your posts where you say Westerners frequently misappropriate and in some case enforce their concepts (like democracy) on other countries. You also say Westerners don't know what's good for that country; well, sometimes I don't even think those countries know what's good for them (but I won't emphasize that point lest I be marked a colonialist).

Isn't feminism in some sense a Western concept? Is it ok for Westerners to promote female equality in these other countries but not the general rights of everyone?

2. Also another thing. There seems to be a certain group of people, both genders, who find it better to be bossed around by someone else. I've seen cases where a woman has a man more or less "trained"; he seems to be ok with it. If freed, he would probably run back to his cage. This horrifies me naturally because as a guy I like to lift heavy things and not be told what to do. But I think we all have to come to terms with the reality that some people just don't want to be free. We can't force them to exercise their equality. But the vacuum these people leave, creates the opportunities for people who naturally like to dominate others. Us egalitarians are left to balance everything out; sounds rather Freudian but it truly does seem that way.

Clarissa said...

Josefina Rodriguez Aldecoa is from Spain which is a fully Western country.

I don't think feminists are trying to impose their views on other cultures because that would be impossible in practical terms. I, for example, in no way suggest that women in Saudi Arabia should be prevented from wearing burqas in their own countries. If they come to my country, though, I'd prefer for them to abstain from practices that degrade me. I wouldn't spit on the floor of Taj Mahal. Don't I deserve a similar courtesy?

Of course, you are right that the main problem of feminism today is women fighting tooth and nail for their right to be dominated. That's what my doctoral dissertation was about. Being subjected is very beneficial in the sense that you don't have to be responsible for your own life. Patriarchy infantilized women. Today they infantilize themselves. That's the main conclusion of my dissertation.

fairykarma said...

I think you posted of a woman surgeon in Saudi Arabia who couldn't drive and had to give up some of her salary to her father. That's a country begging for gender equality. Having the intellectual capacity it takes to be a surgeon doesn't seem compatible with being subservient.

But is your dissertation online somewhere? If you don't mind, I'd be interested in reading it.

If it's in Spanish, I might need year or so =)

Pen said...

This reminds me of "The Heidi Chronicles."

Anyway, back on topic: my cousin changed her name officially upon marriage, but refused to change her professional name for a similar reason. As a person who has conducted and published research in her area of study, the change wasn't really feasible. However, the infeasibility was compounded by the fact that she works with children (many of whom are very young), and they would undoubtedly get very confused. And no, I'm not saying that the kids are clueless--it's just that somebody will be confused, and she says it'll be too much work to explain to every single one.