Sunday, August 16, 2009


I am the last of the line.

Let me start at the beginning. My grandfather was the oldest of five - three boys and two girls. Of those three boys, my grandfather was the only man to have a son- my dad. My father, for all his trying, was blessed with three girls.

Like I said, I am the last of the line.

That fact, paired with the ten years I've spent establishing a career, compels me to at least entertain the idea of keeping my name when I marry someday.

I am prepared for the traditional backlash.

As a progressive woman, I am comfortable with dynamics that go beyond societal norms, but it turns out most people aren't.

Seventy percent of Americans either strongly agree or somewhat agree it's beneficial for a woman to take her husband's name when they marry (USA Today).

The study indicates people who support marital name change do so because they believe it helps establish marital and family identity. Women who support keeping maiden names do so while focusing on establishing a professional or individual identity.

I find the philosophies tied to these beliefs interesting because I prescribe to a thought that a common name is not adequate foundation to cement a marital or family identity. Trust, commitment, honesty, passion and engagement are the bricks-and-mortar for those goals.

I also find it preposterous that some people would propose the government mandate women to change their names when they marry.

Reasoning would tell me that the very people who offered such an opinion are conservative. And conservatives should know Republicans have traditionally backed less government and less regulation. I think it's a riot that the same voters who support a party that endorses free trade and personal responsibility would support a law that strips women of a choice that is far less significant than the choice they have involving their womb.

Whew, time to pipe down.

Study spokespeople say the idea of name changing isn't a political powder keg - but reactions to the concept are a bellwether for how people will react to other, more significant matters.

But I won't bring up that can of worms. Again.

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Kelly said...

I think the solution is obvious. When you meet Mr. Right, have him change *his* name.

That way, you'll have that cohesive family identity everyone's so het up about, and if anyone objects, they won't be able to hide their sexist beliefs behind cries of "what about the chillll-drennn?"

Kerrie said...

I've been teetering on the fence about keeping my name in honor of my Grandfather. All but one of dad's sisters married and changed their names - the hold-out is 65 and has no children. My big sister has married and changed her name. Dad's brother's oldest daughter, too. Leaving just his youngest daughter and me to keep the last name alive. I almost feel like I owe it to Grandpa. It seems a shame to have brought 7 kids into the world and have the name die out after that generation. But on the other hand - my fiance's father is no longer with us, so taking on his name would also be important to keeping their family name alive. I've never wanted to be a "dash" name. Which leaves me...yeah...on the fence.

Unknown said...

I can't wait to change my name - sick of my last name and considered changing it on my own just for the heck of it.

Plus I like the tradition of taking on someone's name...makes the joining seem more meaningful...

NB-C said...

I'm just gonna be husband's last name is TERRIBLE. Add that to the fact that I had grown quite an attachment to my maiden name in the 29 years I had it and I decided to hyphenate. Professionally, I kept my maiden name. Funny thing is that most places have no idea how to handle a hyphenated name....even in the year 2009.

True story- my OB/GYN's computer system doesn't recognize a hyphenated when I had the ultrasound showing us what CC would look like when she was born they labeled the CD "Baby Brewer." They also had her baby crib in the hospital labeled the same way.....I'm glad Jason has a sense of humor.

Tina L. Hook said...

The great part about getting married at this point in my life is I no longer care what anyone else thinks. I think I might take my hubby's name because I love him and I know how happy it would make him. But if I had strong feelings in the other direction than I wouldn't. Period. I do, however, refuse to clean his bathroom.

caltraveler said...

I have a friend who's husband took her name when they married (he's European and his name sounded better in his native language than in English), but he took her name because she is the last of her family name. Her father was an only child and only had daughters. She wanted to preserve the family name, so whether her husband took her name or not, she wasn't changing hers.