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That's how you make a family identity, not by shoving the woman into the man's family.
Oh wait, all the men are against it?
What century is this? They think women should be REQUIRED to change their names? To what, reflect new ownership?!
I never considered it, not for a second. a) it's my NAME. That's who I AM. and b) I'm lazy. Changing your name takes a lot of fucking work. And why does the woman always have to be the one to do it?
1)I was proud to be his wife
2)Hyphens annoy me
3)It represented a change from my past to my future
4)I like Russell better than my old last name
Ironically..I am so lazy that even though we've been married almost 3 years.. only 1/2 of my IDs have been switched over..whoops
1. She's not my property
2. There is no way in hell I would change my name for her (I really love my last name)
She says she'll change it when the bean is born, but I secretly doubt her.
I somehow doubt the kids are going to wonder whether we’re really a family.
After close to 20 years though my mother in-law still sends all mail to our house as if my wife changed her name.
Still, most "feminist" women have no problem flashing the engagement ring without feeling "owned"...how is this different from the name thing, really?
2. Wife doesn't want to have different last name from children? She doesn't have to--they can have her last name. Oh wait, the men are getting upset again.
I know that the tradition of name changing is fraught, but I think we've come to a time when this is an area where women have more freedom than men. We can change or not; it's a lot weirder for a man to change his name for any reason than for a woman to not change her name. I like the idea that if I'd felt weighed down by my name I could take another, any other, still could at any time.
This year, however, an idea suddenly occurred to me. Now I'm thinking of taking her last name to use as an occasional penname.
That worked fine.
Even in the dark ages of the early 20th Century (and undoubtedly before that, in certain instances) there were women who didn't take their husband's names, for a variety of reasons. It may have raised a few eyebrows, but no one really cared then, so why even ask about it now? It's like doing a poll on whether people approve of "inter-denominational dating" or whether they think mixed race babies should be called "Mullatos" or just "high yellow"
When I married my wife, I married her for who she was, identity included. We like to have our autonomous identities not absorbed into some abstract concept like a family or a marriage. Legally, it wasn't the PITA it might have been 40 years ago. For us, it was more annoying having to tell friends and family who knew her for all these years her name was actually still the same one they already knew. I can only imagine what our friend who took his wife's name had to go through :).
When our child was born, we gave her the last name we both hated least. It happened to be my name. It wasn't because I was the "Man Of The House" or any horse shit like that.
I took my husband's name as I wasn't terribly fond of my surname. Much of it was out of extreme disdain for my estranged Father -who actually picked that particular surname in his twenties. There is kind of a history of people in my family changing their surnames for all kinds of entertaining reasons.
Though taking my husband's name has created some minor hilarity when you match it with my first name. I like to think of it as a good conversation piece.
It is a bit wack-a-doo to think that many people think it should be a legal requirement for ladies to take their husband's names upon getting marriage. One of the delightful aspects of feminism is that a person is free to make choices about how the live their life -right down to having the surname of their choice.
or, even Michael Strange-Hamm
No, wait, she not.
Which, since our wedding certificate is buried in a file somewhere, raises an interesting question about the, er, sanctity of marriage. If I can avail myself of some of that sanctity just by saying "but we're married" even though our last names are different, and no one ever wants to see, you know, PROOF, or anything, what's to stop us from lying about it? Maybe there IS no Mrs. Fnarf, and she's just some woman I'm trying to check into the motel with?
@29, have you ever seen Uncle Buck?
Our daughter has my last name, mostly because the only in-law who cares is my dad. So the only way the name survives another generation is for my daughter to keep her last name if/when she gets married.
Ultimately we kept our own names. The reason was a mixture of: we both have professional recognition with our names; we couldn't think of an exciting alternative; most importantly, we couldn't really think of a compelling reason to change anything.
It makes perfect sense to me why she'd keep the last name. It's a sign that although the relationship didn't make it to the aspired morbid measure of success, that it was successful none the less.
= very feminist.
Besides, whether to change surnames at marriage shouldn't have to be so controversial. It's only 1/2 to 1/4 (or less, if you had weird parents) of your full name anyway, which is a small part of your total identity. I'd say that your identity changes more just by getting married than it does by changing your last name.
I had considered a hyphen for our names but we have long last names (and how would that be for the kids).
I did consider a new name that co-joined our names (hence Westello - kind of WASPy yet ethnic) but my husband said nah.
So we have different last names. Twenty-five years later, it still works. (Although my mom still addresses letters to me with my husband's last name. Sigh.)
As for legally requiring it, well... that's obviously not necessary.
20 yrs later she has my name AND I get my blowjobs. LOVE!
Bygones. And I'll have you know I dropped one hyphen when I moved back to America, so stop with all the hyphen hating, you meanies.
I forget which 70s feminist said: "Of course I'm keeping my own name. He's marrying me, not adopting me." I feel the same way. Taking his name signifies you as his property—although no longer literally (though it was so a short time ago), but certainly does so socially and psychologically.
@10 No judgment here, but I do find it interesting that you think it's outdated and bigoted for a woman to take a man's name but then go on to say "she's not stoked about having the initials RR… but she doesn't want to have a different last name to any kids we may have."
Why can't your children have her name in that case? Or is that going too far?
That said, I don't know why people are surprised by the poll results. Get out of the urban core and most people are pretty traditional.
What's baffling is the only people who ever said anything about my wife's last name (10 yrs with hers, 10 yrs with mine: changed after kids) were angry feminists. MY old fashioned, Republican mom didn't say a peep for 10 yrs.
Move to Seattle though and the womyn are up in arms (which, btw, they need to shave under occassionally). Of course, these also look like the kind of womyn who don't give blow jobs either.
Thank God I married a smart, hard working, successful, independent Asian-american woman with none of these stupid hangups.
We considered all changing our last name to "Awesome" but the idea never took off.
I always found it ironic when self-identified feminists are insistent upon keeping the name that was passed down by their fathers. Making up a new name makes more sense to me.
5280, I used to work with a divorce woman who kept her ex-husband's name. It was because her maiden name was Fish. What was your ex's last name? (You don't have to answer, just a possible insight for you to consider.)
Ironically, many children in this demographic have customized first names, and therefore rarely need to be identified by their last names. (When you have never even heard of another person named "Shade" or "Sultan," why should you be required to also write out your complicated last last on your homework? It strikes them as pedantry.)
I think the ultimate test of maiden name retention comes when two hyphenate children have children of their own. Eventually, some names will get dropped, regardless of politics. I'd be interested in a study that analyzes which names are retained by subsequent generations.
we're not having kids, hubs was the last male heir of his name, too bad so sad.
My friend's oldest girl, now 18, has her own daughter, but I don't know whose name she got.
I sometimes think my last name sounds silly, but seriously? I wouldn't change it. No matter what, it's not my name and there's no reason for me to have it except I happen to be in love with someone who has it. It's my parents' name (originally my father's) and I think it's a bit of an insult to change it.
Children are not a good reason either for changing my name. How come it has to be the father's name? I would never argue that it should be the mother by default either (although seriously, I think she has the better argument) but why doesn't she get a say at all?
The main thing that bugs me about many of these feminist issues isn't that women are being oppressed or owned or whatever. It's that a lot of the time people aren't thinking about these actions. They do it automatically, then justify it retroactively (often with the lame "it's tradition"), and that's intellectually dangerous.
I just want people to think about the choices and then choose one for a good reason. If you want to change your name for a reason you sincerely believe in, in my feminist eyes it's just as good as someone who stridently keeps their name.
For the record, if I marry, I'm keeping my name. If I have kids, we're flipping coins or pre-assigning names by gender.
@52: It's not my parents' fault that there wasn't really any notion of naming children with their mother's name. I'd still keep it because (1) my father is my father and he isn't evil just because he's a man and (2) it's still a family name.
If I ever get married again, I might change my name. I like the idea of a family unit, and shared names signify that.
So if Jane Elizabeth Smith married a man with the last name Jones, her new name would be Jane Smith Jones. This was pretty common in America I think up to the 50's.
and then my husband got shit for having a wife he couldn't "get" to take his name. uggh.
i have actually been really shocked by the number of my independent, liberal, career-having female friends that have huge rocks and have changed their names.
w/different names, people assume we're not married. annoying but worth it. i actually even like his name better, but the principle is worth standing up for.
Was that in Denver? I had no problem adding a legal second last name in LA, and when I moved to Portland they didn't blink. Now, I have four total names, and it took forever and a day to sign all our house refinance documents.
The choice about names seems to be determined by geography and education, in my experience. About half my married friends in Seattle kept their names. Here in Wyoming, the only women I've met who kept their names moved here from urban areas and all of them have graduate degrees. I'm keeping my own name and if I have kids, I'll give them their dad's last name. That tradition actually makes sense to me. It's generally not a question who a baby's mother is. Parents give the child the father's name to claim paternity.
I realize it goes much deeper into other variables than something so simplistic has having a common name, but there is something to this theory.
It figures that lots of hipsters who don't come from traditionally strong family units, would be so indifferent or adamant about the same last name. Something to consider that the average person on this forum doesn't represent mainstream society....
The groupthink on this forum is quite hilarious on some topics.
In many cultures, for example, China, women do not take their husbands last name. Taking one's spouses last name is likely a Euro centric tradition. One could argue that the Chinese have stronger family bonds, then we in the US have.
And it's just plain idiocy to think that a family with different last names couldn't possibly be as bonded to one another as a family with the same name.
People are going to have all kinds of reasons for changing or not changing their names -- they should make the choice that works for them and everyone else should shut the hell up.
sure, yeah, like people with a coat of arms never had any illigitmate children, they were some paragons of virtue there, yup.
god yer a dumbass.
the people/families who have or have historically had a coat of arms are among the most vile, deplorable human beings ever. full stop. and as far as family values, oh yeah, lets look to them, they never got any annulments, divorces, or started any wars over bullshit family alliances.
so @ 68, man, just stfu about crap you know nothing about.
I don't feel like my birth name was a piece of my identity that I abandoned, I feel like it was an albatross that I cast off my neck. I'm still the same person, but with a name I like. Politics had nothing to do with it.
No sane person would combine my girlfriend's first name and my last name. It would sound like a mouthful of mud. If she wanted the same name (I know she doesn't), I'd rather take hers... Her parents had the same last name, but that's a convenience not everyone can count on.
@68 - Never have I seen a more appropriate opportunity to use the word "asshat"
Future boy and I are going to have a catfight to establish last name dominance. Hairpulling encouraged.
This is why blue states have a lower divorce rate than 'family values' red states.
In fact, the women of my family for 3 generations have chosen to keep their names, mainly because we are independent types who have lots of degrees and professional licenses by the time we decide to "settle down".
And most of the people I'm related to have a wide variety of names involved in each family, from Adams to Gonzalez to Pagenkopf to Friedli, for reasons ranging from personal choice to divorce, death, and plain old laziness. Your name has nothing to do with your family stability, but it has everything to do with identity.
I come from a blue state, the product of college- and grad school-educated parents, and I hold several degrees. I still changed my name to my husband's when we got married. It was for the sake of the "future kids" because there won't be any. It's because my family name was West, and if you append that onto any other name, you get something that sounds like a retirement home or a suburb.
"@9..I get annoyed with "feminist" women who make this argument. Using the same logic, you could say wearing an engagement ring brands a woman as a mans property (the guy doesn't wear a ring until after the ceremony..yet the woman wears a ring showing that she is "taken" while they are engaged).
Still, most "feminist" women have no problem flashing the engagement ring without feeling "owned"...how is this different from the name thing, really?
Posted by julie russell "
In response to this woman, I am a feminist who is appalled by my friends who say they are feminists and yet absolutely expect the man (or the butch) to pay on dates. Somehow this makes him (or her) a 'gentleman'. I didn't know that about the engagement rings but it does seem unfair.
I'm for equality, actual equality which means women's names are not worth less than men's. I understand women change their names for all sorts of other reasons, but I do think there is societal pressure to do so.
My mom kept her name and me and my sister have my Dad's last name.
If I had it my way, I would do it Marilyn vos Savant's way though, since I'm a lesbian, I would base it not on gender but on who birthed the children. My girlfriend doesn't like the idea, however. In her mind, a family should have the same surname. Well, I grew up having a different last name from my mother and don't think it affected me badly in the least.
It did contribute to me becoming a feminist, a fact I'm very glad about.
Oh, and to the person who said they don't understand women who get up in arms about keeping their father's name. It also happens to be my name. This isn't a man-hating thing. This is an identity thing. This is a connection to my past. I want to keep that and pass it onto my kids.
So, if me and the g.f. go the kids route we'll probably combine our last names to make the kids' last names. I like Dan Savage's solution, though, if we do open adoption.
Sorry for the long post.
My parents were together from 21 and 22 up until my father's death, for 35 years. They were very much equals and loved each other so much.
Brrrrrrmpt, wrong. I looked into changing my last name and taking my wife's name when we got married. The reason I didn't? B/c they were going to charge me $500 to do so and that's $500 we don't have. I was thinking about filing a discrimination lawsuit but the rigors of grad school sort of put the kibosh on that. We also looked into fusing our last names but ran into the same problem; she got it for free but I had to pay $500.
It's really interesting, I just found out that in Puerto Rico it's illegal to change your last name (in all circumstances) so you couldn't do it even if you wanted to. They have an interesting system there, when you get married you keep your last names and then the kids fuse the last names. Theoretically your last name stretches back into infinity covering all your past relatives and acting as a family tree but for practical reasons they stop reciting it at 3 or four last names.
Typical...and pretty funny
How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?
1 to screw in the lightbulb and 1 to suck my dick:)
The only way to use the "what to do with the last names" issue when you get married to make a statement about equality is to pick a new last name and have both people getting married change their existing last names to the new last name. Even hyphenation (if both parties take the hyphenated name) doesn't get the job done, because that's still your dad's name you're keeping, and then there's the issue of what order to put the hyphenated names in.
We didn't come up with a new last name that both of us would take (changing a man's name after marriage is a much bigger, more time-consuming, and more expensive deal than a woman changing her name after marriage, I suppose because it's not enough of a "norm" for them to consider it a special case) so I just went ahead and took his last name. I don't see the particular difference in keeping my father's last name or taking his father's last name. Neither of them represented a female line in any way, and having the same last name is simpler for so many mundane reasons. People who suggest this makes me anti-feminist had better be braced for a fight, or at least a nasty look.
Second - I have never seen my last name as being my father's name. It is my name, the name I've had my whole life. In the same way, my husband views his name as his name, not his father's. His father was somewhat of a deadbeat dad and hasn't been in his life for some time. So, initially, when I was thinking about whether to change my name, I though, why would I change my name to his father's name? But, he doesn't see his name as his father's at all.
Many people I know (myself included) who didn't change their name, weren't trying to make some statement of feminist equality. My name was my name, and I couldn't think of any good reason to change it.
* Clarification: single individuals may only change names once or twice in their lives, but I am frequently tasked to adjust to calling one associate or another by their new name.
Reality Check @68 perhaps you'd like to share with the class exactly which problems you associate with the breakdown of the traditional family unit; somehow even without knowing which, I wager these societal issues probably have more complicated paths of causation than you surmise.
But the collapse of the traditional family unit, (and the tradition of regarding family as sacred) occurred during the industrial age when children from agrarian families splintered off to the cities to seek their fortunes in factories. Before then, relations from your marital families weren't differentiated as in-laws; you were all one big happy clan, and if your brother-by-marriage, a known cheat and liar, was caught in a dispute with an allied clan, you were obligated to take up arms by his side. Feuds lasting centuries were started that way.
You can relax, though, I'm sure any day now, the whole of the United States will see the error of its hippy ways, revert the status of women back to chattel, burn down our libraries and start taking our Sunday sermons in Latin.
I didn't want any kids we had to have only one of our names
any hyphenated version of both our names would sound ridiculous, in our case
I think making up names is silly (personal preference)
it's far easier legally, if only one partner is to change, for it to be the woman
My new initials are C.C.C., which I think is awesome.
If only we'd taken a chill pill and kept our own last names!
I wouldn't have considered changing mine, except that my last name is awkward, difficult to pronounce, and ugly, and I had aspirations that would have been greatly enabled by having a nice normal name. So I changed it.
Three years later I was divorced and had to go through the whole process AGAIN just to get my weird, ugly name back. It was an enormous pain in the ass, and I found the process of trying to get people to use my old name sort of humiliating.
In retrospect, changing my name was one of the stupidest decisions I've ever made. I would not recommend it. (I would, however, have adopted a neat-o stage name years ago if I had it to do over again...)
In college I identified myself as a feminist...read The Second Sex...worshipped Simone de Beauvior, etc. My husband INSISTED I post that crass joke... couldn't help myself.
Still the hypocrisy is annoying, but whatev.