A young self-described feminist surprises friends and colleagues by adding her husband's last name to her own. Why? Because she wants to.
By Emily Alpert Reyes
As a kid, I played with toy dinosaurs and dolls alike. At 13, I insisted that a female rabbi perform my bat mitzvah ceremony. I didn't shave my legs during high school and much of college, in protest against sexist and generally pain-in-the-rear beauty norms. I have a career I love — and no plans to leave it.
So how did a modern woman like me end up changing her name?
I am now Emily Alpert Reyes, instead of Emily Alpert. The decision took friends and family by surprise. My bemused and wonderful husband told me, "You know you don't have to do that, right?" My editors found the decision so baffling that they prodded me to write this column.
"She was the last person I would expect to go along with what really is a patriarchal tradition," a college friend wrote in an email she later forwarded to me. She added, "I am routinely surprised by the number of my well-educated, feminist friends who still change their names without question."
Why did I do it? Not because anyone made me. Not because I disliked my old name — it's still there in plain sight, sandwiched between Emily and Reyes.
What could be more Spanish-surnamed and thus affirmative action-worthy than "Alpert Reyes?" I mean Alpert is already a Spanish-surname, isn't it? I know it has something to with Tijuana ...