it seems my academic interests are always finding their way into my blog posts. if you don't care for women's issues in the france, please follow the links in the column on the left for more interesting posts by 'a few of my favorite people.' i would recommend this post by jourdan on love, and anything by chase is pure, peaceful poetry. oh and amy always, always has good stories to tell. often illustrated, for the win.
in any case, i'm spending a lot of time reading and thinking about women's issues in france starting in the mid-18th c. lately. i found this treasure i thought worth sharing.
the journal "la femme libre," and later "la tribune des femmes," was a newspaper written exclusively by and for women in the 1830s. what is most striking is that the women published under their first names only - suzanne, marie-pauline, jeanne-victoire - because they felt that "to use their husband's name was to perpetuate their condition of slavery."  these women were about 130 years ahead of their time, eh? i think i hear the crackle of torched corsets mingled with the smell of burning microfiber bras.
i guess this is interesting to me because lately i've been a bit preoccupied with the idea of exchanges in relationships. what does it mean to take your spouse's name when you get married? is it a sign of "slavery" as these women (and so many others) believe? i've tossed the idea around of keeping my nom de jeune fille if/when i get married, but i think sharing a last name with your spouse is probably an important part of the unity necessary for a durable relationship.
i also got into an interesting conversation/mild tiff with a (yes, male) friend last night about wedding rings - another symbolic exchange. this friend wants to buy his wife a nice ring - "bling," he called it. me? i want nothing to do with a capital-R rock. it's just that something like this marks an exchange in which the ring is a sort of guarantee for a well-provisioned future. "hey!" says man, "i can buy you this shiny thing now, and that means i can buy you more shiny things later!" i don't want to be convinced of someone's earning potential by the size of the ring they can offer. i guess i tend to look at oh-you-fancy-huh rings as a status symbol: man buys ring for wife to reflect his paycheck. and while i know that's not what everyone sees in shiny wedding rings, it's certainly what i see.
spend five minutes talking to me about relationships and you'll see how far removed my paradigm is from that one. now, i'm not going to claim an real expertise in relationships, seeing as i am far from wed + bed. however, i want my marriage (again, if/when, friends) to be one founded on partnership, joint effort. we're equals here, partner. fancy rings aren't my taste, and i won't wear one to your corporate dinners as a sign of how well your latest investment is doing.
on the other hand, a simple gold band is perfect. keep the symbolism, lose the materialism.
i know, i know... burning microfiber. i just want to have an evaluated perspective on this kind of cultural symbol: rings, names? all great, if done for the right reasons.
 McMillan, James. France and Women, 1789-1914. Kindle for Mac, Loc. 2,019.