Priyanka Chopra removes Jonas and Chopra from her handles on social media and suddenly the entire media is trying to decipher if she is going to part ways with her beloved husband Nick Jonas. Doesn’t it seem a tad rushed, considering that Jonas had just thanked her for being an amazing wife on Diwali? Does the entire discussion reek with sexism and the belief that a woman cannot drop the name of her husband or father? So what if she dropped her last names, does it make her less of an actor or a loving wife?
What business do people have speed-guessing a woman’s personal life on the basis of her choice to go by her first name? The argument would be- she is a public figure, whose life is an open book to media and audiences. Fine, but how does removing last name lead media to the conclusion that the Chopra-Jonas marriage is in trouble?
Well, her close friend called it “amusing” and dismissed any reports of separation while Priyanka’s mother Madhu Chopra had to publicly rubbish the reports and ask media houses not to spread rumours.
Priyanka is an Indian actor, model, film producer and entrepreneur, who has won two National Film Awards and is a Global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. With so much to her name, should we fuss over her surname at all?
The reason for alarm bells here is Chopra’s marital status. Had a married male star decided to drop his surname, would there be such a big debate about his personal life? But since it is common for women to use their husband’s last name, it bothers us when a woman parts ways with her surname, because in a way that means moving in a separate direction from your husband- which is frowned upon.
According to societal notions, the last name generally represents the father’s family name or the husband’s family name and it also denotes a person’s caste, community and religion. No matter what last name a woman uses, it ends up linking her to a man she is related to by blood or matrimony.
Things are gradually changing as more and more women are questioning the patriarchal roots of our last names. Indian courts are letting children keep their mother’s name or women are sticking to their name or opting for a new surname altogether, thus detaching their identity from that of their father’s and husband’s family.
But the surprising bit is we are in 2021 and still there are places where women’s last name is the issue or the breaking news of the day. The only hope lies in the fact that more women come up and speak about this streak of sexism and misogyny and insolate the issue for the public to understand that it is a woman’s choice to keep or not to keep the surname. There is no breaking news here.