Monday, October 7, 2013

What's So Special About Your Family Name Anyway?

I not-so recently had the following conversation with one of my male cousins:
Cousin (talking about my uncle who recently re-married after his first wife’s death): How is Ikenna’s new wife sef?

Me: I really dig her and I think she’s great with the kids.

Cousin: Hmmm, I hear she’s almost 40 and so I wonder why Ikenna married someone who was that old. I’m concerned about her child bearing capabilities because you know Ikenna really wants a son and so that was one of the reasons why he got married again.

Me: So I heard o, but abegi, after 6 daughters, what is he finding with a son again? I think that he just needs someone to help him take care of his girls…besides, in this same quest for a son, he ended up with a boatload of girls, so I think he should just relax and fashy this matter of having a son. What if the next one that comes is a girl too?

Cousin: You don’t understand. Ikenna wants someone to carry on with the family’s name and so I don’t see a problem if he wants a son. After all, most men want sons that can carry on with the family’s name…

Me: Na wa  for you men and your fixation with sons to carry on the family’s name. So if you and your wife have a bunch of daughters, would that be an issue?

Him: By God’s grace, I know that will not be our portion.

Me: *Zipped lips and quickly moved on to the next topic*

And that was that, as I jejely minded my business and dropped the matter.

And then in the more recent past, I was talking to somebody who has 2 daughters and wife who is expecting one more child. He said that he really hopes that the 3rd one is a boy as he wants at least one son. And so I posed the same question that I posed to my cousin – If you guys have a bunch of daughters, would it be an issue? His response was – “Houston, we would have a problem” before he quickly interjected with “Just kidding”. But I wasn't buying it…
I asked him why some men are so hung up on having sons and he gave me the very typical “I want somebody to carry the family name and to inherit everything that I’ve worked for".  He then added "My daughters will get married and join another man’s family and everything that I’ve worked for will go to another man’s son (i.e. his daughters future husbands), so I want a son who will inherit the fruit of my hard work” . I said ookay and kept it moving. I couldn't even pretend to understand it because I didn't and I still don’t.

All of this talk got me thinking about all these men that keep on harping about wanting a son to carry on with their family name. I mean absolutely no disrespect and all, but the pressing questions that I have are: What is so special about you and your family name? What is so wonderful about your legacy? What exactly are your sons supposed to be carrying on?

I totally understand wanting a son because you want to do daddy-son things like going to watch a basketball game or whatever it is that sons do with their fathers. What I don’t understand is wanting a son because you want them to carry your name forward.
The way I see it and with the way that our generation is going, I doubt that in the long run, anyone is checking for you and your lineage. Like someone once said, if you’re not a Dangote, Adenuga, or any of those big names, why should we be concerned about your so-called family name? I mean, what great thing have you done that you want people to be carrying on your family name? Like I said, no disrespect to you men out there and the family names that you hold so dearly to your hearts, but I think it’s beyond absurd to still be on about this whole “I want a son to carry my family name forward” in this day and age. Feel free to shed light if you want to help me understand.

Who says that your daughters cannot also bring recognition to your family and carry on your so-called family name? In my opinion, if I do anything epic in this lifetime, whether I am married or single, people will always say “that is Papa Mgbeke’s daughter”, or “she comes from so and so’s family”. Look at the Adenuga’s for instance…even though that he has a married daughter, I always think of her first as Bella Adenuga, the daughter of Adenuga. People know her as her father’s daughter first, before they recognize her as her husband’s wife…if that makes sense.

Now, imagine a scenario where you have a son who turns out to be some notorious serial killer or something crazy. That your precious son will send your family name that you worked so hard for, to the pits. So much for carrying on the family name, guys. So, really my dear brothers, I will keep this short…boy or girl, whichever one God gives you, please take it and be content with it. Treat your daughters with respect and view them as more than able and capable to take on and bring pride and joy to your family name. And really, if you haven’t worked for shiz and are just a regular average 9-5 Joe, sit back, relax and ask yourself what exactly you even want your imaginary sons to carry on.

*Rides my blazing chariot out of Blogsville*


Berry Dakara said...

I was going to bring Bella up. She's even more of his star child than any of his sons! Yes, she's married but as you said, she's first thought of as Adenuga's daughter.

Even though I'm getting married soon, nobody can take away from me that I am my father's daughter. Thank God my fiance doesn't care about male/female children. Any children we have is fine with him.

My godmother has 5 girls and she was just telling me how much of a blessing they are to the family.

1 + The One said...

LOL....Post is too on point!

Me too, I don't get the family namer hype... Maybe because I'm female *shrugs shoulders*

HoneyDame said...

I was going to disagree with you initially, but then, when you mentioned a couple of reasons which you could have reasoned with, I agree with you, totally.
What's so special about the family name that word will not be heard?!
Okonjo-Iweala is there, even if she didnt hyphenate her name, she is a herself....with her husband almost totally in the what are we not saying?! Mchewwwwww
When Ikenna reaches 15 females, he and his sperms will go and sit down somewhere!

Nutty J. said...

'I mean, what great thing have you done that you want people to be carrying on your family name?'

Ask them oooo... sometimes all we need in this life is common sense. Not tradition

LadyNgo said...

Ask them o! Its like you reached into my mind and pulled out almost all my thoughts on this topic. Especially the one about your son turning into a serial killer lol.

Ms Salewa said...

Last time I checked males determine the sex of a child... so it's probably a good idea for him to give up looking for a son. I don't think God wrote that in the books for him.

MPB said...

You bring up so many great points. I hope more males comment and enlighten us.

Atoskin said...

I absolutely agree with this post. Children either male of female are blessings from God. There is nothing special about the family name.

Kenett said...

CONCURED. I agree with you totally. You can take the man out of the bush and he will still be bush. Nigerians floor me with that. The worst part about it is that its the most forward thinking guys that behave that way.

Toinlicious said...

Please come and take this super hug. Is Oprah married? She had a brother but who knows him? Not me because HER name is going to be around for a long time.

What every parent should be concerned about is helping their kids become the best they can be, male or female. Fini

Eniola Prentice said...

I love the ending of the post. lol Sad but true, most African men think that way, to each his own, Its a mindset that I dont think thy will ever change from

Gee said...

I really don't think when people talk about family name they mean "legacy", even a "broke" man would most likely make that sentence. It is just the idea that your name would be lost in "transit" since it is assumed the daughter would take on her husband's name (like I did of course, lol).

PS: Biko remove this word verification thing nah???

Anonymous said...

Girl, nene leakes said it best "i am not marrying into money or politics, so what is so special about the name anyway" mssschew. Imagine your cousin saying that will not be our portion, like girls are a bad thing. Double mssschew!!!!!! even if the boy is a boko haramist, as long as na man its ok, triple mssschew!!!!

Frances Okoro said...

And in dis day and age where people change their surnames to their own names,where does d lineage thing stand?
This preference of a male child is just an old,outdated issue that has no more relevance.sensible men should forget it already...

Fragilelooks said...

i totally agree with you on this post. i know of a woman who killed herself after she discovered her last baby was a girl all because she wanted a male child. now her girls are doing so very well and a proud father is smiling while she's gone.

Colored Misfit Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colored Misfit Girl said...

I think it is cool and make sense that someone would care about their name continuing. I like my identity with my last name now and how it makes me relate with other people that have that name/who are family members. When a name dies out because there is no one to carry it on, it is a bit sad.

I really am curious to hear more from Men who are married or getting married about their views on this.

Also this is strongly based on the tradition that males are the one that carry the names. Some cultures are based on the Matriarch and have ways names are carried on.

I do agree with you in some ways, but I also think it is tied to a more complex system.

Lohi said...

Please help me ask these people!!! What dead legacy do you have? who cares if you family name dies? did the family name put automatic food on your table for free? scraps!