The Paradox of the “Men’s Rights Movement”

All the problems that *certain men* complain about — male suicide, mothers gaining custody of children more often following a divorce, men dying from hazardous occupations, men going to war, and so on — are problems directly caused by patriarchy.

Men raised without the weight of toxic masculinity from their fathers, their brothers, their male friends, and their male coworkers, who felt encouraged to express emotion in the relatively uninhibited manner typically associated with femininity, and who felt like they could be open with their partners, seek therapy when needed, and ask people for help, would be less likely to commit suicide.

If half of all time spent on childcare was done by fathers, then the idea of granting custody to a father would bear no connotations different from those of granting custody to a mother.

If men did not harass women in male-dominated occupations, then more women would work in them. This includes the trades. This includes physically dangerous occupations that some women would take, both because college is expensive and because these jobs pay more than the retail and other service industry jobs that women with no college education are relegated to. That would make more women, and fewer men, *die at work*.

I oppose the draft. I oppose the Selective Service. It is unconstitutional. But if, for the sake of argument, the draft/Selective Service were allowed to remain, then I would support female inclusion. For every man who can serve on the ground, there is a woman who can serve in the air or at sea.

Maybe some men get sucked into believing that the aforementioned problems are WOMEN’S fault, and feminists’ fault, because most among this group have no concept of how millennia of legal, institutionalized, structural, systemic, and totalitarian oppression compounds and completely overtakes a society. They have no concept of the magnitude of the power of oppression based on innate, and easily identifiable, traits to erase the oppressed group. They do not understand the concept of supremacy. They don’t understand that “causing all problems” is a corollary of “controlling everything.”

They do not understand how the oppressive group — in this case, men — could possibly cause the majority of the world’s problems. It sounds pejorative. And yet, that is exactly what one would expect to happen when the other group (i.e., women) are not allowed to vote, work anywhere, buy anything, own anything, learn anything in school, even learn to read or go outside the house without a man. If women are all in the house watching children, cooking, and cleaning all the time, then how could they cause more than a minuscule fraction of the world’s problems?

The 21st century is no longer entirely like this, but mothers are STILL five times more likely than fathers to stay at home to raise children. Mothers are still SEVEN TIMES more likely than fathers to be absent from the workforce to raise children under 6. So yes, if there are more men working at companies, then there are more men behind the various problems wrought by these companies. Every American president has been a man. Those who blame presidents for the country’s problems, then and now, are blaming only men. 80 percent of Congress is male. This means men are disproportionately behind the problems that laws and government policies have wrought.

In this context, the idea of “blaming men” is merely a mathematical, logical conclusion. Some men then argue the flip side, that if men caused most of the world’s problems, then they also created most of the world’s solutions. But this argument is invalid, because women were categorically prohibited from creating the world’s solutions. The idea that we never could have if we had had the same freedom as men all along, and will never be able to, is nothing more than pure unadulterated bioessentialist misogyny.

Bioessentialist pseudoscience was just a relatively fancy, nineteenth-century way of saying that BIPOC and women were innately inferior, a *more modern* update to the old adage that their innate inferiority was proven by scripture. The twentieth and twenty-first centuries show a pattern of oppressive pseudoscientific claims being debunked. Because there is a greater genetic difference between different sexes versus different races, the debunking of sex-based pseudoscience has lagged behind the debunking of race-based pseudoscience, but the limit is approaching 0 practical difference in terms of who can do which jobs or tasks. Consider, among other things, the Flynn effect and the fact that greater *cognitive differences* between men and women *magically appear* in countries where women are more oppressed.

Now that we have taken out the bioessentialist trash, we can recognize that, as with every group project you have ever done, or every new person who has ever joined your group of friends, the equal participation of women in society will cause both new problems and new solutions. Because no person is perfect, and therefore no group of people is perfect. And yet, the more ideas there are in a meeting, or a company, or a country, or the world, the higher the quality of those ideas that rise to the top. The equal participation of EVERY group also would provide a sorely needed checks and balances mechanism to the biggest problems that we face today because they have run rampant, unchecked and unregulated, for so long. If two heads are better than one, then 7.9 billion heads are better than 3.95 billion.

In a male supremacist society, virtually all problems disproportionately faced by women versus men, AND virtually all problems disproportionately faced by men versus women, are the fault of men as a group. Because male supremacy isn’t some metaphysical force, it is only still around because individual men keep enforcing it (think of each man who contributes to the problem as one atom from an enormous form).

The goal of feminism is for there to be no problems — other than relatively trivial things like menstruation and nocturnal emissions, and the less than two years out of her entire life that the average woman desires to spend pregnant — that disproprtionately affect women OR men. This means we both go to war and we both die at work. And also that we both raise the children and we both do the cooking, grocery shopping, and housework. That we split the bill at restaurants, and that the concept of marital community property is irrelevant because we both make the same amount of money. No need to worry about gold diggers or hypergamy if men and women, on average, make the same!

Some people really need to stop perpetuating the very problems that they complain about.


Mary Wollstonecraft - Wikipedia
Mary Dixon (aka Wollstonecraft)

The most elemental meaning of “patriarchy” is the father as the head of the family. This ideology, which has wrought so much global oppression against women, is carried on in the tradition of a man’s wife, and all of his children, bearing his surname. I believe that true gender equality — equality of social status and respect, not just things like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — requires an equal passing down of the father’s and the mother’s birth surnames. To this end, I am partial to a matrilineage and patrilineage running in parallel for cisgender heterosexual family members, with case by case egalitarian modifications for LGBT family members.

To illustrate how this might work, as well as just a small taste of its power, I have traced back the matrilineal surnames of notable women a few generations.


(from Sojourner Truth)

  1. Baumfree, Elizabeth (c. 1777)

2. Baumfree, Isabella (1797-1883; daughter of Elizabeth) ~ suffragist and abolitionist

3. Baumfree, Diana (1815; daughter of Isabella)

Baumfree, Elizabeth II (1825; daughter of Isabella)

Baumfree, Sophia (1826; daughter of Isabella)


(from Kim Kardashian)

  1. Campbell, Mary Jo (born 1934) ~ retail entrepreneur

2. Campbell, Kristen (born 1955; daughter of Mary Jo) ~ television host and talent manager

Campbell, Karen (born 1958; daughter of Mary Jo)

3. Campbell, Kourtney (born 1979; daughter of Kristen) ~ fashion designer and retail entrepreneur

Campbell, Kimberly (born 1980; daughter of Kristen) ~ fashion designer and cosmetics entrepreneur

Campbell, Khloe (born 1984; daughter of Kristen) ~ fashion designer and television host

Campbell, Kendall (born 1995; daughter of Kristen) ~ model and fashion designer

Campbell, Kylie (born 1997; daughter of Kristen) ~ cosmetics entrepreneur and fashion designer

4. Campbell, Penelope (born 2012; daughter of Kourtney)

Campbell, North (born 2013; daughter of Kimberly)

Campbell, Chicago (born 2018; daughter of Kimberly)

Campbell, True (born 2018; daughter of Khloe)

Campbell, Stormi (born 2018; daughter of Kylie)


(from Courtney Love)

de Sola, Candelaria

de Sola, Courtney ~ singer and actor

de Sola, Elsie ~ screenwriter

de Sola, Frances ~ visual artist and music journalism intern

de Sola, Jaimee

de Sola, Linda ~ author and marriage counselor

de Sola, Nicole

de Sola, Paula ~ author


(from Mary Wollstonecraft)

Dixon, Clara

Dixon, Eliza

Dixon, Elizabeth

Dixon, Everina

Dixon, Frances

Dixon, Mary ~ philosopher and historian

Dixon, Mary II ~ author


(from Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma)

Dlamini, Gugulethu ~ producer and actor

Dlamini, Msholozi

Dlamini, Nkosazana ~ politician and doctor

Dlamini, Nokuthula

Dlamini, Thuthukile ~ government official


(from Jessica Simpson)

Drew, Ashley ~ actor and singer

Drew, Birdie

Drew, Jessica ~ fashion designer and actor

Drew, Maxwell

Drew, Tina


(from Paris Hilton)

  1. Dugan, Kathleen (c. 1929)

2. Dugan, Kathleen II (born 1959; daughter of Kathleen) ~ fashion designer

Dugan, Kim (born 1964; daughter of Kathleen) ~ actor

Dugan, Kyle (born 1969; daughter of Kathleen) ~ actor

3. Dugan, Paris (born 1981; daughter of Kathleen II) ~ fashion designer and DJ

Dugan, Nicholai (born 1983; daughter of Kathleen II) ~ fashion designer

Dugan, Brooke (born 1986; daughter of Kim)

Dugan, Whitney (born 1990; daughter of Kim)

Dugan, Kimberly II (born 1995; daughter of Kim)

Dugan, Farrah (born 1988; daughter of Kyle)

Dugan, Alexia (born 1996; daughter of Kyle)

Dugan, Sophia (born 2000; daughter of Kyle)

Dugan, Portia (born 2008; daughter of Kyle)

4. Dugan, Lily (born 2016; daughter of Nicholai)


(from Melanie Griffith)

Eckhardt, Dorothea (born c. 1897)

2. Eckhardt, Patricia (born c. 1927; daughter of Dorothea)

Eckhardt, Nathalie (born 1930; daughter of Dorothea) ~ actor and model

3. Eckhardt, Melanie (born 1957; daughter of Nathalie) ~ actor and producer

4. Eckhardt, Dakota (born 1989; daughter of Melanie) ~ actor and producer

Eckhardt, Stella (born 1996; daughter of Melanie)


(from Jane Birkin)

  1. Fulton, Mary

2. Fulton, Judith (1916 – 2004; daughter of Mary) ~ actor

3. Fulton, Jane (born 1946; daughter of Judith) ~ singer and actor

4. Fulton, Kate (1967 – 2013; daughter of Jane) ~ photographer

5. Fulton, Charlotte (born 1971; daughter of Jane) ~ actor and singer

6. Fulton, Lou (born 1982; daughter of Jane) ~ actor and singer

7. Fulton, Alice (born 2002; daughter of Charlotte)

8. Fulton, Jo (born 2011; daughter of Charlotte)


(from Queen Elizabeth II)

  1. Garritt, Mary (c. 1765)

2. Garritt, Frances (c. 1785; daughter of Mary)

3. Garritt, Anne (1805-1881; daughter of Frances)

4. Garritt, Caroline (1832-1918; daughter of Anne)

Garritt, Cecilia (c. 1835-1869; daughter of Anne)

Garritt, Gertrude (c. 1837-1865; daughter of Anne)

Garritt, Ida (1839-1886; daughter of Anne)

5. Garritt, Cecilia II (1862-1938; daughter of Caroline)

Garritt, Ann II (1864-1932; daughter of Caroline)

Garritt, Hyacinth (1864-1916; daughter of Caroline)

6. Garritt, Violet (1882-1893; daughter of Cecilia II)

Garritt, Mary II (1883-1961; daughter of Cecilia II)

Garritt, Rose (1890-1967; daughter of Cecilia II)

Garritt, Elizabeth (1900-2002; daughter of Cecilia II)

7. Garritt, Jean (1915-1999; daughter of Mary II)

Garritt, Margaret (1925-2016; daughter of Mary II) ~ personal assistant

Garritt, Mary III (1917-2014; daughter of Rose)

Garritt, Elizabeth II (born 1926; daughter of Elizabeth) ~ Queen of the United Kingdom

Garritt, Margaret II (1930-2002; daughter of Elizabeth) ~ Princess of the United Kingdom

8. Garritt, Annabel (born 1952; daughter of Margaret)

Garritt, Victoria (born 1953; daughter of Margaret)

Garritt, Anne III (born 1950; daughter of Elizabeth II) ~ Princess of the United Kingdom and Olympic equestrian

Garritt, Sarah (born 1964; daughter of Margaret II) ~ Princess of the United Kingdom and painter

9. Garritt, Zara (born 1981; daughter of Anne III) ~ Olympic equestrian

10. Garritt, Mia (born 2014; daughter of Zara)

Garritt, Lena (born 2018; daughter of Zara)


(from Kamala Harris)

Meenakshi Gopalan
  1. Gopalan, Shyamala (1938 – 2009) ~ biomedical scientist

2. Gopalan, Kamala (born 1964; daughter of Shyamala)~ Vice President of the United States

Gopalan, Lakshmi (born 1967; daughter of Shyamala) ~ policy advisor and lawyer

3. Gopalan, Meenakshi (born 1984; daughter of Lakshmi) ~ fashion designer and lawyer


(from Neil Patrick Harris)

Harris, Harper

Harris, Neil ~ actor and television host


(from Michelle Obama)

Jumper, Malia ~ politicial and television intern

Jumper, Marian ~ secretary

Jumper, Michelle ~ attorney and humanitarian

Jumper, Natasha ~ waiter and humanitarian

Jumper, Rebecca ~ nurse


(from Cynthia Nixon)

Knoll, Anne ~ actor

Knoll, Cynthia ~ actor

Knoll, Max


(from Beyonce)

Lesser, Agnes ~ seamster

Lesser, Beyonce ~ singer and fashion designer

Lesser, Blue Ivy

Lesser, Celestine ~ fashion designer and beautician

Lesser, Josephine

Lesser, Odilia

Lesser, Rumi

Lesser, Solange ~ singer and fashion designer


(from Matilda Joslyn Gage)

Leslie, Dorothy

Leslie, Helen

Leslie, Jocelyn ~ activist and radio announcer

Leslie, Julia

Leslie, Matilda ~ suffragist and abolitionist

Leslie, Maud ~ sewing instructor


(from Elisabeth Luytens)

Liddell, Amanda

Liddell, Constance ~ suffragist

Liddell, Edith

Liddell, Edith II ~ author

Liddell, Eleanor

Liddell, Elisabeth

Liddell, Elisabeth II ~ composer

Liddell, Emily ~ writer

Liddell, Evelyn ~ farmer

Lliddell, Kathleen

Liddell, Mary

Liddell, Ruth


(from Elizabeth Cady Stanton)

Livingston, Anna

Livingston, Anna II ~ radio show host and humanitarian

Livingston, Anna III ~ speech writer and newspaper editor

Livingston, Anna IV ~ librarian and editor

Livingston, Anna V

Livingston, Elizabeth ~ suffragist and historian

Livingston, Harriet ~ suffragist and historian

Livingston, Harriet II

Livingston, Mary

Livingston, Nora ~ civil engineer and architect

Livingston, Rhoda ~ architect and activist


(from Nancy Pelosi)

Lombardi, Alexandra ~ journalist and filmmaker

Lombardi, Annunciata ~ activist

Lombardi, Christine ~ political strategist and attorney

Lombardi, Jacqueline

Lombardi, Nancy ~ Speaker of the House

Lombardi, Nancy II


(from Ricky Martin)

Martin, Enrique ~ singer and actor

Martin, Lucia


(from Whitney Houston)

McCaskill, Anne

McCaskill, Bobbi ~ singer

McCaskill, Delia

McCaskill, Delia II ~ singer

McCaskill, Emily ~ singer

McCaskill, Lee

McCaskill, Marie

McCaskill, Marie II ~ singer and television host

McCaskill, Whitney ~ singer and actor


(from Caitlyn Jenner)

McGuire, Brandon ~ singer

McGuire, Burt ~ racecar driver and businessperson

McGuire, Cailtyn ~ Olympic decathlete and businessperson

McGuire, Esther

McGuire, Sam ~ model and DJ


(from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis)

Caroline Kennedy US State Dept photo.jpg
Caroline Merritt II
  1. Merritt, Margaret (1880-1943)

2. Merritt, Marion (1904-1947; daughter of Margaret)

Merritt, Janet (1907-1989; daughter of Margaret)

Merritt, Margaret II (1910-1991; daughter of Margaret)

3. Merritt, Jacqueline (1929-1994; daughter of Janet) ~ editor and photographer

Merritt, Caroline (1933-2019; daughter of Janet) ~ PR executive

Merritt, Janet II (1945-1985; daughter of Janet) ~ French teacher and activist

4. Merritt, Caroline II (born 1957; daughter of Jacqueline) ~ diplomat and attorney

Merritt, Anna (born 1960; daughter of Caroline) ~ Princess of Poland

Merritt, Alexandra (c. 1970; daughter of Janet II)

5. Merritt, Rose (born 1988; daughter of Caroline II) ~ actor and activist

Merritt, Tatiana (born 1990; daughter of Caroline II) ~ journalist and author


(from Ada Lovelace)

Judith Lamb III
  1. Lamb, Judith (born c. 1732)

2. Lamb, Judith II (born. c. 1762; daughter of Judith)

3. Lamb, Anne (1792-1860; daughter of Judith II) ~ educator and abolitionist

4. Lamb, Augusta (1815-1852; daughter of Anne) ~ mathematician and professional gambler

5. Lamb, Anne II (1837-1917; daughter of Augusta) ~ horse breeder

6. Lamb, Judith III (1873-1957; daughter of Anne II) ~ horse breeder and tennis player

7. Lamb, Anne III (1901-1979; daughter of Judith III)

Lamb, Winifred (1904-1985; daughter of Judith III)


(from Laura Ingalls)

1. Morse, Martha (1782 – 1862)

2. Morse, Lydia (born 1805; daughter of Martha)

Morse, Charlotte (1809 – 1884; daughter of Martha)

Morse, Mary (born 1813; daughter of Martha)

3. Morse, Martha II (1837 – 1927; daughter of Charlotte)

Morse, Caroline (1839 – 1924; daughter of Charlotte) ~ teacher

Morse, Eliza ( 1842 – 1931; daughter of Charlotte)

Morse, Charlotte II (daughter of Charlotte)

Morse, Jane (daughter of Charlotte)

4. Morse, Mary II (1865 – 1928; daughter of Caroline) ~ made fly nets for horses

Morse, Laura (1867 – 1957; daughter of Caroline) ~ teacher and author

Morse, Caroline II (1870 – 1946; daughter of Caroline) ~ typesetter

Morse, Grace (1877 – 1941; daughter of Caroline) ~ journalist and teacher

5. Morse, Rose (1886 – 1968; daughter of Laura) ~ journalist and author


(from Hillary Clinton)

Murray, Chelsea ~ news correspondent and author

Murray, Della

Murray, Dorothy ~ housekeeper

Murray, Hillary ~ university chancellor and secretary of state


(from Alex Sykes)

Niedbalski, Alex

Niedbalski, Olivia


(from Carolina Herrera)

Passios, Ana

Passios, Carolina

Passios, Maria

Passios, Maria II ~ fashion designer

Passios, Mercedes

Passios, Patricia


(from Wanda Sykes)

  1. Peoples, Marion ~ banker

2. Peoples, Wanda ~ actor and comedian

3. Peoples, Lucas


(from Serena Williams)

Price, Oracene ~ tennis coach and nurse

2. Price, Isha

Price, Lyndrea

Price, Serena ~ tennis player and venture capitalist

Price, Venus ~ tennis player

Price, Yetunde ~ businessperson and nurse


(from Carla Bruni)

Planche, Renee

2. Planche, Marisa (daughter of Renee) ~ pianist and actor

3. Planche, Carla (daughter of Marisa) ~ singer and model

Planche, Valeria ~ actor and screenwriter

4. Planche, Giulia (daughter of Carla)


(from Britney Spears)

Portell, Britney ~ singer and actor

Portell, Ivey

Portell, Jamie Lynn ~ actor

Portell, Lillian

Portell, Lynne ~ teacher and daycare worker

Portell, Maddie


(from Olave Baden-Powell)

Robinson, Agnes

Robinson, Anne

Robinson, Auriol

Robinson, Betty

Robinson, Eliza

Robinson, Heather

Robinson, Olave


(from Patti LaBelle)

Robinson, Barbara

Robinson, Bertha ~ domestic worker

Robinson, Jacqueline

Robinson, Patricia ~ singer and actor

Robinson, Vivian


(from Kelly Clarkson)

Rose, Alyssa

Rose, Jeanne ~ teacher

Rose, Kelly ~ singer and television host

Rose, River


(from Dianne Feinstein)

Rosenburg, Betty ~ model

Rosenburg, Eileen ~ Electoral College member

Rosenburg, Dianne ~ senator and nonprofit executive

Rosenburg, Katherine ~ judge and attorney


(from Katy Perry)

Schwab, Angela

Schwab, Daisy

Schwab, Katheryn ~ singer and fashion designer

Schwab, Mary ~ pastor

Schwab, Pauline ~ Alcoholics Anonymous aide


(from Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale)

Sergeant, Edith ~ singer

Sergeant, Edith II ~ model and singer

Sergeant, Maude

Sergeant, Maude II

Sergeant, Michelle


(from Laura Bush)

Sherrard, Barbara ~ activist

Sherrard, Cora

Sherrard, Jenna ~ bookkeeper

Sherrard, Jenna II ~ news anchor and author

Sherrard, Jessie

Sherrard, Laura ~ teacher and librarian

Sherrard, Poppy


(from Aretha Franklin)

Siggers, Aretha ~ singer

Siggers, Barbara

Siggers, Carolyn ~ singer

Siggers, Erma ~ singer

Siggers, Sabrina


(from Demi Lovato)

Smith, Beverley ~ singer and musical theater actor

Smith, Dallas

Smith, Demetria ~ singer and actor

Smith, Dianna ~ cheerleader

Smith, Madison


(from Martha Bulloch Roosevelt)

  1. Stewart, Martha (1799-1864)

2. Stewart, Susan (1820-1905; daughter of Martha)

Stewart, Anna (daughter of Martha)

Stewart, Martha II (1835-1844; daughter of Martha)

3. Stewart, Anna II (1855-1931; daughter of Martha II)

Stewart, Corinne (1861-1933; daughter of Martha II) ~ poet

4. Stewart, Corinne II (1886-1971; daughter of Corinne) ~ congressperson

5. Stewart, Corinne III (1912-1997; daughter of Corinne II)

6. Stewart, Corinne IV (daughter of Corinne III)


(from Cara Delevingne)

van Limburg-Stirum, Anna

van Limburg-Stirum, Cara ~ actor and model

van Limburg-Stirum, Chloe

van Limburg-Stirum, Janie ~ personal assistant

van Limburg-Stirum, Pandora

van Limburg-Stirum, Poppy ~ actor and model


(from Melissa Etheridge)

Williamson, Beckett

Williamson, Elizabeth ~ computer consultant

Williamson, Johnnie

Williamson, Melissa ~ singer

Williamson, Miller

When it comes to women taking their husband’s last name, and/or giving all her kids her husband’s last name, there seem to be two camps: those who support the woman’s choice to do so, and those who hate the woman for doing so. It’s easier to focus on the woman’s role than the man’s: after all, it is her name. But most women report making the “choice” due to intense pressure from their fiance and his family. One Australian family reported that, after passing on the mother’s surname to all their children, the father’s parents refused to have any communication with the children.

Patriarchy is an ideology and system invented by men. The Western brand originated in ancient Mesopotamia with the advent of mechanized agriculture, circa 10,000 BCE. Archaeologists have linked it to the invention of the plow. The plow thing is true of Eastern patriarchy as well. When one does genetic, archaeological, prehistoric, historical, and cross-cultural analyses, one will find that patriarchy is not a biological inevitability, it has not existed “for all of time,” and men’s attitudes toward women varied widely across cultures. Key moments in the proliferation of Western patriarchy include the Code of Hammurabi, the male Greek philosophers, the military exploits of Alexander the Great, the Bible, the Quran, global coercive conversion to Christianity and Islam, and of course, global colonialism by Christian Europeans and the genocide of Indigenous Americans, many of whom had much better attitudes toward women (the Haudenosaunees and the Tainos being just two examples).

The continuance of patriarchal traditions, norms, and stereotypes today are primarily the fault of men. Internalized misogyny, which takes different forms from woman to woman, is also primarily the fault of men: fathers, boyfriends, male bosses and coworkers, harassers and trolls, and sexist movies, music, and advertising written, directed, and financed primarily by men. Misogynistic men are evil because ignorance in 2022 is unforgivable. I obtained all the information in this post for free. “I didn’t know” isn’t true. It’s a lie. What they’re really saying is, “I don’t care to know.”

So while one should not go on a witch hunt (another ancient patriarchal tradition) for women who take their husband’s last name and give all their children, including their daughters, their husband’s last name, it is not unreasonable to hope for, and to even expect, more equitable traditions going forward. Always question the role of the man in the relationship. Sometimes a new surname really is 100 percent the woman’s idea: but most of the time it’s not.

I used Ancestry, combined with old family records of my grandmother’s, to trace my matrilineage back nine generations.


  1. Fitzgibbon, Elizabeth (1749-1814)

2. Fitzgibbon, Bridget (1771-1869; daughter of Elizabeth)

3. Fitzgibbon, Catherine (born 1792; daughter of Bridget)

Fitzgibbon, Margaret (born 1796; daughter of Bridget)

Fitzgibbon, Bridget II (born 1815; daughter of Bridget)

Fitzgibbon, Ellen (born 1820; daughter of Bridget)

4. Fitzgibbon, Catherine II (born 1818; daughter of Margaret)

Fitzgibbon, Kate (1830-1891; daughter of Margaret) ~ housekeeper; immigrated from Ireland to the United States

Fitzgibbon, Bridget II (1833-1899; daughter of Margaret)

5. Fitzgibbon, Anna (1860-1935; daughter of Kate) ~ bridge foreman

Fitzgibbon, Bridget III (born 1869; daughter of Bridget II)

Fitzgibbon, Mary (1860-1939; daughter of Bridget II)

Fitzgibbon, Sadie (1874-1936; daughter of Bridget II)

6. Fitzgibbon, Kathryn III (1880-1964; daughter of Anna) ~ bookkeeper

Fitzgibbon, Ada (born 1883; daughter of Anna)

Fitzgibbon, Lillian (born 1886; daughter of Anna)

Fitzgibbon, Maud (born 1889; daughter of Anna)

Fitzgibbon, Marie (c. 1890; daughter of Mary)

7. Fitzgibbon, Alice (1905-1965; daughter of Kathyrn)

Fitzgibbon, Helena (c. 1908; daughter of Kathryn)

Fitzgibbon, Ada II (1917-1993; daughter of Kathryn)

Fitzgibbon, Camilla (1923-1993; daughter of Kathryn)

Fitzgibbon, Ada III (born 1920; daughter of Ada)

8. Fitzgibbon, Sylvia (born 1936; daughter of Alice) ~ nonprofit executive

9. Fitzgibbon, Dawn (born 1963; daughter of Sylvia) ~ paralegal

10. Fitzgibbon, Brette (born 1992; daughter of Dawn) ~ copywriter (That’s me!)

Fitzgibbon, Darin (born 1995; daughter of Dawn) ~ paralegal

I am going to legally change my last name to Fitzgibbon. When one changes one’s surname in marriage, the process is free and easy. But when one changes one’s given name or surname for another reason, it is expensive and arduous. One must pay $435 AND publish the proposed name change in a newspaper in case anybody objects! More evidence that our society promotes and rewards the suppression of female identity.

But I don’t care how inconvenient it is, I’m doing it ASAP. My matrilineal name will appear on my birth certificate. My social security card. My driver’s license. My passport. My death certificate. Everything I accomplish in this life from that point on will bear that name. And I will emblazon it with pride. My taking this name will honor all of my female ancestors, because for a woman to adopt a last name not assigned by a man is a revolutionary act. By reclaiming my matrilineage, I will be reclaiming my female history and identity, and proving that history need not always be written by the oppressors.

From the time I was an adolescent girl, I was taught not to expect much from a male romantic partner, to take what I could get. That’s not a good stereotype for anybody, but it’s true, this was and is the omnipresent message society gives me. In a country where only 20 percent of men are feminists, all a woman can do is shut up, find love, and not die alone, right? But I encourage every woman to stay true to herself, and to break up (or get divorced) from anyone who pressures her to make a choice she does not want to make. To understand that she absolutely deserves any perk a man gets — including passing down her last name to her children. It’s a way to claim history for a group of people — women — who are wrongfully assumed not to have any.