Marital Name Change

October 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

I recently stumbled across an article that caught my attention. It was called Should Women Change Their Name After Marriage? Consider the Greek Way. For many years I have met and heard of many women who have decided to change their last name and also those who have decided to keep their maiden name.  The article brings to light that many people take different sides to this argument.

Many women find that keeping their last name is better than changing it. After reading the article mentioned above, I looked for an article about women changing their last names. This past July the Huffington Post released an article that had eight women discussing why they decided to keep their last name. I find each of the women’s responses and reasons very interesting. One woman decided that as she looked at herself in the mirror and said the new name. She also practiced saying it like she was introducing herself at work. In the end she decided that she didn’t know that person. It was interesting to read that many of the women kept their maiden name because of identity. They didn’t want their identities to be lost. One woman stated that changing your last name was an “identity eraser.” If friends from high school tried to look you up after the name change they wouldn’t be able to find you.

These women made excellent points. I believe that my identity would change. When I get married I plan to change my last name to my husband’s. But for me, I believe that after marriage I would be a different person. I wouldn’t just be Erika. I would be connected to someone else. I would be making a new life and I think that it would affect both my personal and professional life. That’s why for me I would change my last name.

Speaking of professional, a few of the women didn’t change their last name because of professional reasons. Many of them had decided to keep their name because they had built up their name and didn’t want to start over with a new name. This makes complete sense. If I get to the point where my career is partially dependent on my name I would probably reconsider changing my name. For me at this point in time, I would change my last name but circumstances could change where I reconsider.

In the article Should Women Change Their Name After Marriage? Consider the Greek Way the author discusses how women in our country and other countries have the dilemma of choosing to keep their last name or to change it.  She tells of how maybe we should look at how the Greeks do it. It explains how in 1983 Greece enacted a law that all women had to keep their maiden name. To this I say that we shouldn’t consider the Greek way. I believe that whether you change your name or not is your choice. To have the government say whether or not you can choose your last name is not the way to go. Whether a woman decides to change her last name, in my opinion, is based on her individualistic views of the situation. She may or may not decide to discuss with her future partner if she should make the change but in the end it is up to them.

As I began writing this blog, I asked one of my friends if she was going to change her name when she got married. She said that she is going to hyphenate her name because she likes her last name and she believes that her future partner’s last name is a gift. She told me that she believe that it is like he is saying I am giving you everything, right down to my name. I really liked how she put it. However what I like the most is that we have the option. If we want to keep our maiden name, hyphenate it, or change it altogether, it is our right to do so. I just don’t think the Greek is the way to go. I like having the choice.


Links to the above mentioned blogs:

Should Women Change Their Name After Marriage? Consider the Greek Way

Last Name Change: 8 Women Reveal Why They Kept Their Surnames After Marriage


National Women’s Health Week (May 12-18th 2013): “They Said Months, I Chose Years”

May 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

In light of National Women’s Health Week (May 12-18th 2013), I was inspired to share my account of a battle for good health and wealth of life.

“You have malignant melanoma”. The oncologist told my father that he would only have months to live. My father struggled through chemotherapy, one of the only options the doctors gave us. At the time, we thought that this was our only hope, our only option. We put all of our faith in what the professionals told us, and did not seek any unconventional aid. My grandmother and I watched as my father withered away in hospice. Soon, it would be just my grandmother and I. James “Rhio” O’Connor was faced with a similar faith. Diagnosed with the fatal cancer malignant mesothelioma (, he was given a mere year to live. Mesothelioma is most commonly and indisputably caused by exposure to asbestos, in which cancerous cells arise in the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many internal organs.  The most common symptoms of mesothelioma are chest pain and difficulty breathing. Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult since symptoms are similar to other conditions.  There is currently no FDA approved immunohistochemistry assay, and no universal protocol for screening people who have been exposed to asbestos (often leading to misdiagnosis).  Prognosis remains disappointing. Treatments include: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy, multimodality therapy, and alternative medicine. However, surgery was not an option for Rhio due to the position of the tumor located near his spine. The damage chemotherapy would do to his body drastically outweighed the improvement in his lifespan.

Rhio survived a bewildering seven and a half years longer than expected by thinking out of the box and not accepting the status quo for treatments. “Take a cruise with your wife, and start hospice care upon your return”. This was the faith that professionals had determined for him. He was only given months, but he CHOSE years. Although it was hard for him to breath, he took one hopeful, deep breath and charged into the battle against his cancer. Through extensive research, spending hours in the library and seeking copious medical advice, he was able to create his one personal therapeutic protocol. There are so many diverse treatments…how can one professional say that one exact treatment will be the right one, or even the only one, for you? Rhio believed that therapies should be personalized, based on the needs and reactions of the individual. His ability to exercise informed consent was revolutionary, and his optimistic spirit should be an inspiration to all who suffer or are affected by “terminal” illnesses. The insurmountable will that Rhio possessed should be a beacon to others to think outside of the box; do not accept the plans that others have in store for you. Rather, educate yourself and mold your own. “Even here, in a place I never imagine I would be, I am determined to survive.” Possess the will to live.

Individuals read of James Rhio O’Connor’s story across the world and are inspired to share their own survivor stories, to make a difference for those they care about, and to encourage others to think outside of the box and take their lives into their own hands. In response to the never-ending question of how he was able to manage his “Mr. Meso” as he called it, he wrote an inspirational book entitled “”They Said Months, I Chose Years: A Mesothelioma Survivor’s Story”. Nearly a hundred medical articles are cited to help Rhio support the concept that nutrition can help manage a chronic disease, and why we should seek outside of the conventional medicinal box. Be a soldier in the war against cancer.

I was recently diagnosed with pre-cancerous cervical cells. Having read Rhio’s rousing account of his battle, I thoroughly researched the various options I had in trampling this before it developed into cervical cancer. I have had two Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedures (LEEP) performed. While I know that my risk of complications with giving birth rises with every procedure, I know that if I do not take action now than I am choosing to let cancer decide my faith. Rhio convinced me to improve my diet, and with every new day I am feeling even fresher…more alive. Had I not been inspired to take control of my own future, I might have succumbed to the notion that I had only one option, or frankly no options. I remain hopeful and knowledgeable about my condition and feel fully capable of going into battle.  I am a soldier.

My father would not see me graduate from high school, go to college, be able to walk me down the aisle, or see me commission into the U.S. Air Force.  If I would have thought out of the box as Rhio had, would my father be able to see me graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology?  Would he still be alive?

-Brandi Strickland

james rhiowomens health weel

This is what it looks like to support a survivor….

March 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s been hard not to see the atrocious media coverage of the Stuebenville rape case and all of the victim-blaming, rape culture-perpetuating comments that have been made around the case. However, there have been some really incredible responses that have challenged all of the nastiness and Melissa Harris Perry’s letter to the survivor, Jane Doe, is one of them. If I could sign this letter with her I would.

 Update: The embed code isn’t working this morning so head on over and check it out

Happy Pi Day, Y’all!

March 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

She’s our kind of grrrrl. She can recite Pi to the 100th digit, balance a stack of books, and solve a Rubik’s cube all at the same time. Just sayin, she’s pretty awesome.

PCOS: A Women’s Health Issue

March 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

This week I would like to talk about an issue that as many as 1 in 15 women are currently facing. PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a disease that affects women’s hormone levels and can ultimately cause serious health problems including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. To raise

Bolt_picawareness and funding for the disease, my community service sorority, Omega Phi Alpha, is holding a 5k run this weekend.

Before becoming involved with this event I didn’t even know this disease existed but have now come to realize that it can be a real issue for women. For many women it begins in the teen years and results from a hormonal imbalance. Symptoms can include anything from acne and hair growth to fertility problems. These issues result from cysts that grow on the woman’s ovaries, causing the hormonal imbalance. With diagnoses and treatment, the symptoms can be controlled and long term adverse affects can be prevented.

I think it is important to not only look at the political and social issues that face women but also remember the health issues that many women struggle with. I’m glad that events like these are out there to raise awareness for this type of women’s issue, especially since I did not know that this particular disease existed before . I hope awareness continues to grow for this and other women’s health issues and that through efforts like the Bolt 5k this weekend, research can continue.

Just a Little Something to Think About

February 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Though by no means new, the subject of body image is still a very important one when thinking of issues that women face. I didn’t initially set out to write about this issue as it is one on which there is no shortage of opinions. However, when I saw the following cartoon, I loved it so much that I wanted to share it. I’m sure it’s not new or by any means radical but I just love how simply it conveys its message: no matter what you think is wrong with yourself or your image, you’ve still got a pretty “sweet body” and should be proud of it and comfortable in it.


It also shows that being overweight is not the only complaint women have about their bodies. Even the girl with the perfectly long legs and skinny waist might think she’s too flat like the banana or that she doesn’t have the right skin tone like the orange. The cartoon effectively showcases the wide variety of uncertainties women face about themselves beyond just being overweight. It also reminds us, in what I think is an adorable way, to look past all of these insecurities. Most likely, people are not picking us apart the way we do ourselves. Instead, the people that matter will see more things about us than our bodies like how much fun they have when they’re around us or how dedicated we are to the things in our lives. There are other things that make up a person than what they look like and it is the people that see and acknowledge those things that you want to keep in your life.

Sometimes I think it is small, cute cartoons like this one that most successfully convey simple but important messages and remind us about what is important. All it can take on a day you’re feeling down is to look at these fruits and be reminded that despite how you might be feeling in that moment, someone out there thinks you have a “sweet body.”

– Kim U.

Happy VDay and One Billion Rising

February 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

Eve Ensler’s VDAY is hosting the One Billion Rising Campaign today. If you are unfamiliar with One Billion Rising, the goal is to have 1 billion people join in solidarity today in the streets, parks, and the media to raise awareness and demand justice about violence against women and girls.   For more information or to view a live streaming of a rising,

If you wish to participate here are some things you can do:
PLEDGE: Have you taken the One Billion Rising Pledge & found a way to make sure everyone at your event does too?
SHOW THE WORLD: We want you to document this historic day! Ensure you have people in the crowd videoing, photographing, recording your event.  Then post on facebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram and Google+ so that the world can see what you are doing to end violence against women!
#1BillionRising: Get #1BillionRising Trending! Join our #1BillionRising online flash mob on Thunderclap! And please ask your friends and followers to join us too

Join the movement #1BillionRising.

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