if I grew up knowing my whole life that if I chose to get married (which you don’t have to do)
Yes, I am heterosexual, and married.
Jake Repko
57

But the way things have been, girls grow up thinking that if they want to be “normal adults” and/or have a family of their own, they have to find a man and get married. That’s just the status quo. I grew up in a home where my parents both worked and worked together, but my dad was the captain and my mom, first mate. I took this for granted as the natural order of things.

I grew up thinking that one day I was going to be like my parents; I assumed I would play the same role my mom played.

It took me nearly all of my 20s to realize: I’m not my mom. If anything, I’m my dad, an alpha. Nature and nurture, probably, both contributed to this.

I’ve been in relationships where I was the breadwinner and housekeeper and cheerleader; working at a desk while my SO pursued his art at home. I believed in him and thought that one day he’d be more successful than me, affording us both the opportunity to live comfortably without being chained to a desk 60 hours per week. He’d finally be team captain, I’d change my name. We’d get married and be a family.

But this is crazy talk. When I found myself wanting him to “earn” the role of team captain to justify my eventual name change, I realized just how much importance I’d put on the archaic convention in the first place. And how extremely I’d managed to allow it to paint my perception of (pragmatic) reality.

You’re right that names are just labels and as an adult, I can appreciate their limited value; but it’s not the same for kids or especially girls.

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