Political Flavors

Whose Last Name? A Response to Dierks Bentley

Posted in Editorials, Videos on June 22nd, 2012

I haven’t thought much about the fact that I didn’t change my name after I got married since last December when my husband was annoyed by all of the holiday cards addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Adam Lee.” But there was a recent discussion on Reddit, started by someone who asked, “Straight males of reddit, do you expect your wife to change her last name when you marry? Straight females, do you have a problem with changing your name?” Reading through the comments, most of the men said either that they didn’t want to change their names, so they didn’t expect their wives to, or that it would be nice but not necessary. There were a few chauvinist outliers though. The women were much more divided, with many of them talking about how they look forward to changing their names when they get married.

One user responded,

I had an ex who I told I didn’t want to change my last name to his “when” we got married.

He made me listen to this wonderful song, in hopes of getting me to change my mind.

Somehow I was still not convinced to change my name. Then he did some other weird manipulative shit that was extremely transparent.

She got several upvotes and another poster responded that one of her ex-boyfriends had done the same thing. The song in question, Dierks Bentley, “My Last Name”

Lyrics fisked below.

I learned how to write it when I first started school,
Some bully didn’t like it, he said it didn’t sound to cool,
So I had to hit him and all I said when the blood came,
It’s my last name

If someone teases you about your name, you should hit them so hard they bleed.

Grandpa took of to europe to fight the germans in the war,
It came back on some dogtags nobody wears no more,
It’s written on a headstone in the field where he was slain,
It’s my last name

This was the part where I could feel my blood pressure in my face. Because there are people in my family who served in WWII, and apparently they don’t count because I don’t have a penis.

Passed down from generations too far back to trace,
I can see all my relations when I look into my face,
May never make it famous but I’ll never bring it shame,
It’s my last name

Daddy always told me far back as I recall,
Son, your part of somethin’, you represent us all,
So keep it how you got it , as solid as it came,
It’s my last name

Passed down from generations too far back to trace,
I can see all my relations when I look into my face,
May never make it famous but I’ll never bring it shame,
It’s my last name

Women have no pride in their heritage. Fuck you Dierks Bentley.

So darlin’ if you’re wonderin’ why I’ve got you here tonight,
I wanna be your husband, I want you to be my wife,
I ain’t got much to give you but what I’ve got means everything,
It’s my last name, oh, it’s my last name

How about love? How about fidelity? Aren’t those the traits that make your name mean something. I was really hoping that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, but the YouTube comments section is chock full of women gushing about how their partner proposed to them with this song, or…I just felt my last meal lurch up into my esophagus…danced to it as their first dance as a married couple at their wedding.

I asked the poster if she had anything to add, and she was thinking along the same lines,

Its a horrible shit song. I think it perpetuates the importance of the man’s last name a lot. My last name, I want to give it to you. Its so important let me tell you about it.

But if his last name is so important to that guy, shouldn’t he realize that the woman’s last name is just as important? It seems like the men who like this song and use it as an argument for their spouse to change their last name seem to completely miss that the woman’s last name probably has all the same meaning as theirs. Just like how it is the man’s identity, it is the woman’s too. Why should she feel so proud to take on his identity, as if her’s was not that great?

Yeah, it’s a stupid, sexist song. And the airwaves are full of them. But the fact that men are using it to coerce women into changing their names is damn disturbing. I have heard of guys throwing temper tantrums over this issue, both the whiny and screaming type or the passive aggressive pouting type. I’ve read all the stupid MRA/PUA bullshit about how if she doesn’t change her name you shouldn’t have any wedding reception at all. But now I know men can rely on the pop music industry to support a tradition that serves no rational purpose as well.

For a palate cleanser, here’s the Tim Minchin video I think you should show any prospective spouse. If they don’t laugh, don’t marry them.

Leave a Reply