By JAMILA RIZVI
I woke up this morning irrationally annoyed by news that international lawyer Amal Alammudin is taking her Hollywood husband’s George Clooney’s surname.
The litigator will from now on be known as Amal Clooney. Her name has been officially amended on the website of her law firm, Doughty Street Chambers. (The website has since crashed, because fame).
Let me provide some context for my illogical frustration at the perfectly reasonable decision of a woman I have never met nor am ever likely to meet. I am getting married in December and won’t be changing my surname.
This decision has prompted a whole range of responses when I’ve explained my choice to those who inquire. But the general gist goes like this: “Such a shame! It’s tradition!”, “Don’t you want your children to have the same name as you?”, “Oh that’s right, feminist!” “I suppose people know you by your current name” and “But then you’ll never get to be a Mrs!”
Here’s some pictures from Mr and Mrs Clooney’s wedding. The post continues after the gallery.
The reaction has annoyed me because I thought that in the 21st century, keeping your own name was a sensible and even normal thing to do. I’ve been quite surprised that the very vast majority of my married friends and colleagues change their surnames after marriage. To me it feels antiquated; a throwback to time passed.
And so, when this brilliant, famous lawyer who wears excellent frocks changed her name, I felt genuinely disappointed. I thought she was definitely a player for Team Keep Your Name. But I was wrong. How does it affect me? Not in the slightest. Do I care all the same? Abso-damn-lutely.
And with that, I invite you to take a look inside the rambling and slightly hysterical mind of Me, Earlier This Morning.
Disclaimer: The following paragraphs are likely to be confusing, poorly argued, contradictory, hypocritical and nonsensical.
Me: Why would Amal change her name? Why? Why? Why? Here she is, international refugee and human rights advocate, speaker of about a billion languages (well, three, but that’s a lot when it comes to languages) and winner of all sorts of awards. And she’s going to let herself be defined by her husband and his name.
Other Me: Well, hang on a sec. Changing her name doesn’t take away from her many achievements under her old name. Amal still represented Julian Assange, she still learned to speak Arabic, she still passed the New York Bar – whether she’s called Clooney or Alamuddin.
Me: But why change? The world knew her as Alamuddin before she married Clooney and became the ‘wife of a heartthrob’. Why wouldn’t she want to keep the name under which she accomplished so much? This feels like she’s just accepting a life as Clooney’s partner and giving into the tabloid reporting where he is the one to be admired and adored, rather than her.
Jamila – debating with herself.
Other Me: She’s in love! She’s excited, she just got married and probably thought it was romantic. Stop nit-picking.
Me: It felt like an achievement for smart women everywhere when Amal married George Clooney. It seemed that someone in Hollywood was finally saying: You know what? Looks and glamour are all very well and I won’t say no to them, but what is most important in a partner is a brilliant mind.