Sunday, June 6, 2010

Regarding Mrs. ______________: name changes after wedlock

Woke up at 6:15 a.m. and couldn't sleep...so did some catching up on my blog reading. Found this blog post over at Bitch Ph.D. about why women should consider not changing their names when they get married.

It's highly personal for the writer, as she is about to get married, and many of the commenters mention the fact that she is, after all, following tradition by getting married. This is, in fact, a good point, since she ends the post by saying tradition sucks.

As many of you know, I didn't change my name when we got married nearly 20 years ago. I saw no reason why the woman should change her name when the man wasn't. It troubles me to hear about men who insist their wives change their names, or guilt them into doing so. Quite frankly, I couldn't have married a man like that...for so many other reasons.

The arguments for name changing are similar (hollow) to the ones advocating infant circumcision, in my opinion. And it all comes down to "tradition." The thought that a boy should look like his dad (hello? when does a small boy's penis look like a man's penis?) is as effective as saying that people will be confused if the woman has a different name from her husband, or that people will be confused if the mom has a different name. (That issue can be addressed, anyway!)

(A friend at work--who happens to be very liberal and a feminist--added her husband's name to hers when she got married, but gave her son her last name as his first name. I thought that was a great way to make sure her son had both parents' names.)

I hope that one day more women will keep their own names upon marriage rather than change them--it seems that we are going backward on that.

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