Anybody else out there roll their eyes when they see a "Future Mrs. Beiber" shirt or a "Future Mrs. Pattinson" shirt? SubVerse Clothing seems to be of the same mindset: They're sick of women being defined by their relationship status and created this shirt ("I'm not Future Mrs. ANYTHING") for those who feel the same way. As someone who took my husband's last name, I love these shirts, and here's why.
First, here is SubVerse's take on the matter, in the description of the shirt for sale on their site:
Young boys aren't taught that their entire identities and happiness center around a relationship with a woman. Why do we teach young women that their identities and worth are so tentative and conditional, and dependent upon the validation of a man? Why must the markers of a woman's identity change so drastically in response to her relationship status? Why is a woman defined by her relationships, and how society views those relationships?
Just like the French feminists fighting to ban the word 'Mademoiselle,' SubVerse doesn't agree with the inequality of traditional methods of identity in regards to women, since men don't even have to consider changing anything after being married. In the United States, when a woman becomes legally married she has the choice to change her last name to her husband's name, to hyphenate their names, or to keep her own.
And therein lies my point: She has the choice. There could be a million reasons a woman would want to change her name or not, just like women who want to get married or not. I'm a feminist who chose to get married when I fell in love, and I chose to share his last name. My reason? Dear Lovelies, my original last name (Parker) made everybody after 1999 associate me with Sex and the City -- and especially after I moved to New York. Handing over my credit card at a store, I got so many Sarah Jessica Parker comparisons I was truly sick of my last name. Plus, as a lady who grew up in the military her whole life, moving from place to place every two years, I LOVE CHANGE. Getting a new last name was a big change, but I liked it. It was my choice. My husband nor family would have cared whether I kept my last name or hyphenated it. It wasn't too big of a deal, because the person I am is not defined by my last name.
That's where these 'Future Mrs. Timberlake' shirts get it wrong -- they're proposing that the girl wearing the shirt is defined by it. I don't walk around with my last name emblazoned on my shirt showing off that I'm married. These 'Mrs.' shirts are saying that in the future, the girl won't be Jane Doe, she'll be somebody else's object; her identity will become that of someone else.
The SubVerse shirt is clever because it shoots these 'Mrs.' shirts down -- they're not talking about your actions (though they could be), they're talking about how you define yourself. I never use the term "Mrs." as a married person. That's the thing that really irks me: When I have to decide a title before my first name. Just recently it was an option when buying an Amtrak ticket, but I left it blank -- ladies get all the choices:
Why would the train conductor care if I'm married, single, or ambiguously 'Ms.'? They certainly don't care about the men's relationship status. So, I stay blank. I'm Jessica -- and for most people, that should be all they need to know.
What do you think, Lovelies? Do you dig the shirt? If you're planning on getting married someday, will you change your name in any way? Do you think it's fair for women to be defined by their relationships?
As for me, at $22, I'd wear it!