Feminists for some reason were very excited about the marriage between actor George Cloony and acclaimed international lawyer Amal Alamuddin. While the global media carried headlines that Cloony marries Alamuddin, the headlines on The Business Woman were ‘Internationally acclaimed barrister Amal Alamuddin marries an actor’. It was seen as a marriage of equals and unlike most women who marry famous men, her identity was not overshadowed by Cloony’s popularity.
But then this happens. She changes her name. Suddenly, who is Amal Alamuddin? Oh you mean Amal Cloonly?
Isn’t the name a part of your identity that you make for yourself after much hard work? How can you just drop it overnight? I so don’t appreciate this and no sorry, I can’t see this as her personal choice. I am going to judge her. I think every woman’s life is a political battlefield, we have to fight and win a battle against patriarchy and sexism every day throughout our life. Every woman’s every action is a political statement, we have to make the right statement.
A name is also part of your cultural identity, Amal Alamuddin’s Muslim name broke many stereotypes about Muslim women. It was important to have her Muslim identity in the public sphere, but “Now, that Amal’s Lebanese surname is history, it’ll be all so much the easier for the western media to sweep her cultural background under the carpet.” writes Ruby Hamad on Daily Life.
Hamad also makes another very important point about this excuse some women keep giving, ‘personal choice.’ “Choices don’t happen in a vacuum. This “choice” for women to change their names upon marriage wouldn’t even exist if not for the millennia of patriarchy.Choices don’t happen in a vacuum.”
Some more reactions on the name change:
Legal Cheek: “… she 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”
Daily News: Amal Clooney’s name change divides women on a key feminist issue
CNN: Was Amal Clooney anti-feminist to change her name?
Courier Mail: Should women stop taking their husband’s surname? – A survey