There is no need, I think, for women to define themselves by men. The idea of relinquishing your name after marriage - as if your prenuptial identity was something transient and you weren't truly defined until you became a Mrs. - seems archaic and phony to me. The practice of covering your hair or your body from head to toe because everything under the fabric is only for your man makes me feel as if women will never be taken seriously. I do accept these things in stride; it is not for me to make life decisions for any other woman. But as a woman who notices and feels the perpetual encroachment of a patriarchy, however subtle (and often not), I do feel obliged to share my experiences.
Today several of the foreign teachers had to run some mundane errands around Bursa - registering our addresses, getting online banking set up. At our first stop, we were declaring our residence. Cement walls, stained a light pinkish color, gave the whole place the feel of a well lit and overcompensating subway station. A translator, who had put all necessary paperwork together, lead Jake and me to the desk. A woman who sat behind s pane of glass with a large circle in it gave Jake his papers. He signed in two places and she confirmed his identity by looking at him, at his ID card, and back again. She handed me my paper. I signed where she indicated and handed them back to her. Then she handed my paper to Jake and indicated that he should sign my paper, too.
Confused, I asked, "Why didn't I sign his paper?"
The translator sort of smiled and sort of giggled and said, "He is your husband," as if that were a totally acceptable answer. As if I cannot be trusted to sign my own paper. As if my signature isn't valid unless his is there, too.
I know this seems like a small thing. I know many of you are thinking I'm blowing this out of proportion and that I should think about where I am or really consider whether this small act is of any actual substance.
Make of it what you will. I'm just sharing my experience.