Amal Alamuddin has changed her last name to Clooney following her and now-husband George Clooney’s wedding last month. While this may seem like a standard cultural practice to most, it has some feminists crying foul.
The news broke on Amal Clooney’s work website. While it was previously reported that she was going as Amal Alamuddin Clooney, it appears she has at least dropped her maiden name for professional use.
Because of Clooney’s return to work today, the newlywed is in the spotlight as she returns to Greece to work on a case in which she’ll try to win back the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum. And while her work is, of course, important, it seems her new name is the talk of the world.
Some are calling her decision to adopt the last name her conformance to a patriarchal society.
In an article on Legal Cheek, writer Natalia Naish said Clooney’s decision to change her name “is doing the world a disservice by demonstrating that even very powerful and successful women are still less important than the men they marry — even when, as in the case of Amal, this is obviously not true.”
Another article on The Hoopla suggests that Clooney has become the property of her husband by taking his last name. “Let me make this clear: as a human rights lawyer you are giving up a fundamental human right.”
We, on the other hand, think you can still be a feminist and take your husband’s last name. Just as The Hoopla article suggests, the idea of taking your husband’s last name and becoming his property is absolutely archaic. Instead, for me, taking your husband’s last name is a symbol of the teamwork and life growth you are both now committed to together. It is another element, like rings, that bonds two people together cohesively into a pact that signifies their mission to build a life with one another.
Societal traditions, no matter where they stem from, have established that the man’s name is adopted at marriage. But that doesn’t mean he is somehow one-upping his new bride. Because that isn’t the point of marriage at all and to see that bond in that way is debasing something that should be seen as a beautiful tradition of two families becoming one.
Regardless of Clooney’s motivations for taking her husband’s last name — because they most likely aren’t the same as mine — it doesn’t matter. She is a strong, independent, intelligent human being who has the right to make her own decisions. And she has. And we should support her for it instead of trying to make her feel guilty. Those out there trying to make her feel less for her decision are only being hypocritical by cutting down a woman in the same way you claim to stand against.
Feminism isn’t just about equality for women. It’s about equality for all. In an equal society, people can make their own decisions without fear of retribution. Clooney’s decisions within her marriage shouldn’t even be an issue.
Two people fell in love and they are choosing to celebrate that love with one another as they see fit. We should embrace that instead of looking for error.