Post # 1
I’m asking this question with respect, so please answer respectfully 🙂
I’m taking my fiance’s last name when we get married. For me personally, it’s important to have a unifying family name, especially when we have kids. I was talking with a friend the other day who calls herself a feminist, and she said (in not so many words) that I should be ashamed this day in age to take his last name. She went on to give a mini-speech that it was a leftover affect of man’s possesion of women etc. etc.
My question is this. Why am I less of a woman for wanting my last name to be that of the MAN I’ve chosen (future husband) instead of keeping the name of a MAN I was given (my father).
I have a very close relationship with my father, so it isn’t that I don’t want to be linked to him, but, if it’s one man’s name vs. another…why is it considered more empowering to keep your father’s vs take your husband’s?
Post # 3
It shouldn’t be! I myself am a feminist, and I cannot wait to take my FI’s last name. It’s unifying. It has nothing to do with me being a possession. Your friend seems to have some relationship fears/issues. If you want to, hyphenate. Or keep your maiden name as a middle name. But really, nothing wrong with taking his last name. You’re still his equal.
Post # 4
OMG I asked this exact same question multiple times to feminist studies classes in college. Never got a good answer!
Post # 5
I think there’s many different types of ‘feminism’.
I don’t like labels but I guess I’m a feminist but basically I think that women and individuals are capable of making decisions for themselves without someone else dictating their actions for them. You want to cook all day barefoot go for it, I do it often. You want to go out and work 80 hours a week, go for it, I do that often too. So umm…..I don’t know what your friend was talking about and agree with you that it’s your choice.
Post # 6
The great thing about being a woman in today’s day and age is that we CAN do whatever WE WANT! Your friend is wrong. To be truly a feminist means you give yourself the freedoom to do what you want to make yourself happy — whether that mean keeping your given family name, taking your new husband’s name, staying home with children, working full time at a career you love, etc. I personally am keeping my name, because I happen to love it!!! I have always loved my last name and always knew I would never change it. I am not TRYING to be a feminist, or trying to make a statement. My last name is just a really awesome name and I am happy that I was not born 100 years ago where is was completely unacceptable to keep my name.
Post # 7
I will be taking my FI’s last name and it has nothing to do with possession! It is what works best for us.
Many women have personal association (or sentimental feelings) to their name or have established careers and other work based on their maiden name, so for them, it absolutely makes sense to keep their maiden name.
I think it depends on what is best for you – both as individual and a couple – and for your future. From a feminist point of view, it is often about the choice of whether to keep you name or not – not the actual name itself.
There is not one right answer!
Post # 8
As a self-proclaimed liberal feminist who is taking her fiance’s name because I, too, prefer the cohesiveness of a family sharing a single name, I’ve often wondered the same thing. Keeping my father’s name is fighting the patriarchy how?! LOL!
Post # 9
You aren’t less of a woman. We don’t need to be so militant about name changes. You either want to or you don’t. I’m taking my BF’s name when we marry. It’s simpler and right now it’s a part of our culture in the US. In Iceland they take their dads last name and add Dottir….so like Carlsdottir. And then they keep it, even after marriage.
In this country we can change our last name or not….or hypenate….beautiful!
Post # 10
That’s the thing about being a strong woman. In this day and age you get to do what *you* want. Isn’t it great? So if you want to take your husband’s last name, you (and you only) get to make that choice. You should point that out to your friend.
Post # 11
For what it’s worth, I agree with the other Bees — choice is a great thing! But it does irk me that so many women behave as if keeping their maiden name is the ethically superior choice. They’re MEN’S names either way! Just sayin…
Post # 12
feminism is about women having the freedom to choose. you are choosing to change your name. once upon a time the choice was not yours to make. the judgement of your friend is anti-feminist in my POV.
* full disclosure: i took my husbands last name, but only because he made a BFD about it. i think the whole “family cohesiveness” argument is crud. If us having the same name was so important, he would have changed his last name to mine. so while i consider myself a feminist, i also realize that relationships require compromise.
Post # 13
I suppose I would consider myself a feminist and growing up I always thought that I would keep my name. Fast forward to now and I just went to the social security office last week to change it. While I don’t like the outdated ideas that the name change stands for, I am practical and, like you, I changed it for practical reasons to have family continuity. But the point is that I CHOSE to do this. To me, it is not anti-feminist if it was my choice. My husband even said that he would change if I asked him to, but that is not what I chose.
Post # 14
@MissDallasCowboy: The simple answer, honestly, is that almost none of our future spouses are considering changing their names.
I agree that it is great that we all have a choice whether or not to take our husband’s name, and that both choices are more or less respected. And while I’m keeping my name, and that is super important to me, it also isn’t something I go hard on. I have no problem with other people’s choices, there are plenty of considerations in this decision.
But where I diverge is on the fact that this is not still a vestige of patriarchy. Name change isn’t an issue men face. There is no pressure for men to consider changing their names. Why is that? While I totally understand wanting the whole family to have the same name, why do so few people consider taking the woman’s last name?
Now, I don’t say that to come on hard. There are plenty of things I do that I probably wouldn’t do if it weren’t for the patriarchy. I’m wearing high heels, make-up, and a fitted outfit at work right now, for example. So I’m not really one to judge, honestly.
I had no choice in my last name. Or my first, for that matter. But it is mine now. For me, it will never feel like an equal choice until the question is not, will I take my husband’s name, but, will either of us change, and changing to the woman’s name is just as much of an option.
Post # 15
I have been confronted with criticism about my decision to change my name, and typically answer it with what I call “what’s in a name?” mentality. If a person had just met me moments before and I was introduced as “Mrs. Lastname”, would this new acquaintance feel the need to ask “wait, is that YOUR name or HIS?” and wait for my response before deciding to continue our conversation? Unlikely.
Therefore I see it as personal business, whether the decision was made for unification purposes, preference, or I-like-his-initial-better reasons.
A professor at my University told me I was “blindly subjugating myself to the domination of my future husband, reinforcing the patriarchal society structure, and contributing to the dissolution of female strength.” My answer? “Beliving that women are blindly subjugated by men is reinforcing that image; voluntarily taking my husband’s name when it is not required proves I am confident in my self-identiy as a woman.” She didn’t have a reply.
It used to be both assumed and required for women to take on her husband’s name, but hasn’t been that way for a long, long time (I’m an 18th-century marriage scholar). Dowries, inheritance lines laws, and divorce ordinances no longer reflect a male ownership but rather a partnership, and so-called feminists argue mostly based on historically accurate but currently irrelevant concepts.