Post # 1
As the wedding gets closer, I’ve been thinking a lot more about the name-change issue. Years and years ago, when FI first started dating, I knew that I would want to change my name to his after we got married. Here are my reasons:
1. My last name is almost universally mispronounced and misspelled. I’m tired of having to spell out each individual letter and then still having it misspelled. Hearing the most common mispronunciations literally makes me cringe.
2. We will have the same initials if I change my last name to his, which I think is pretty awesome.
3. We both have unusual names, but his is much nicer and sounds good with my first name.
4. I have always wanted a family that shares the same last name.
As solid as these reasons are, I found that as I was planning the wedding and unearthed so many other sexist traditions that are still practiced today (giving away the bride, asking for permission from the bride’s father, announcing the bride and grooms as “Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirstname Hislastname”, etc.), that this really is just another one of those sexist traditions. I have done my best to exclude all sexism from our wedding, and the more I think about it the more I feel like I am giving up a part of my identity for something that goes against all of my strongly feminist views.
When someone asks me if I am changing my name, I find myself automatically getting defensive about my reasons to change it, as I wonder if they will judge me. I feel like a complete hypocrite for doing it, but I am still going to do it because I feel like the reasons above are very important. I also feel that a true feminist is free to make any choice she wants, regardless of her reasons. But sometimes I wish I had an awesome name and he had a crappy one so we could be truly progressive and he could change his name to mine. Wouldn’t it be great if it was socially acceptable for a man to change his last name to his wife’s? That would certainly make me feel better about my choice.
Anyone else feel like this? How are you dealing with it?
Post # 3
I look at it from a biblical view. Your future hubby is suppose to be the head of your household, you are to summit to him under God. Taking his name is part of that submission, here is part of what i will be saying in my vows:
I will love, serve, and obey you as long as we both are alive. Christ told us that the wife must submit herself unto her own husband as unto the Lord. For as Christ is Head of His Church so is the husband head of his wife
Plus when else can you change your name to something you like better? NEVER! I dont think it is sexist AT ALL! Be proud to show you are taken and care enough about him to take his name for the rest of your life.
Post # 4
I don’t think it’s “sexist” to change your last name to your fiance’s. Who cares what other people think. Just do your thing.
Post # 5
I’ve never felt guilty, or thought twice, about changing my name. I don’t think you should have to defend your answer, whether you change it or not.
Post # 6
@HeatherShane: Hmmm. I appreciate your advice, but these would be the exact reasons why I WOULDN’T want to change my name. All this “head of the household,” submitting to, serving, and/or obeying your husband crap, this is the stuff I, as a feminist and an agnostic, am trying to fight against. I’m sorry, but it’s very archaic and outdated. In this day and age, the husband and wife both usually work, and in many cases the wife makes an equal or greater salary than her husband. Women have choices and free will, and may marry and divorce freely. “Submitting” to your husband’s every whim is what leads to domestic abuse. Just because it’s in the bible, does not make it right.
Post # 7
I understand the feeling! I always knew I would take DH’s name, and I did, but I didn’t realize I would feel a little “twinge” when the time came to actually do it. And there are a lot of things we didn’t do at our wedding because of the sexism in their history. For example DH and I walked in together during the procession (no dad-walking-me-down-the-aisle). But, my biggest reason was that, well, my old name was a food. It made it easy to spell but I always got teased growing up…to be honest, I waited my whole life to unload that one (if it had been Cheeseburger I would have kept it, though).
In a way, at this point, making the decision to change your name is POST-feminist–i.e. you do it (or don’t do it) for any old reason you choose. Even a reason as silly as mine! As a society we’re past the point (for the most part) where taking a man’s name or not is a Statement. So look at it that way and don’t feel like a hypocrite!
I do know a groom who took his wife’s name and it was awesome.
Post # 8
I think true feminism is supporting a woman’s right to make choices, whatever they may be. So for example, I don’t think it undermines feminism for a woman to be a housewife or stay-at-home mom if it’s what she wants.
It’s perfectly reasonable if you want to get rid of some wedding traditions that bother you on principle, but stick with this one because you have solid reasons for it and it achieves your objectives. I don’t get the feeling that you are changing your name because it’s tradition – it seems like you really have practical reasons for doing it. I don’t find that sexist or hypocritical at all. I get the whole double standard thing, but that type of thing really doesn’t bother me. So what if it’s not as socially acceptable for a man to take his wife’s last name? Doesn’t impact my life in the slightest. Sometimes attitudes and traditions only keep women down if you believe they do, you know?
If someone asks if you’re changing your name, you don’t owe them anything but “Yes” or “No.” If they’re asking why you’re changing it – which is not their business – I’d just say something like, “I’m going into the witness protection program.”
Post # 9
@Ms Spitfire: Thanks. This is the kind of advice I needed 🙂
@kperry3: Same to you 🙂
Post # 10
@MsJeep23: You’re absolutely right about it being post-feminist. I just need to keep that in mind and stop being so hard on myself. Oh, and that is AWESOME about the guy changing his name. Did he get any obnoxious comments about that?
@GreenGables: LOL excellent comeback!
Post # 11
I’m in a weird position – I have to keep my surname for work, but FI has said that he wants me to change it for ‘real life’. Because I can live with that, I haven’t had to deal with the issue of whether I’d change my name for all purposes.
I love my name. It’s not particularly unique or unusual, but it’s mine. I’ve had it for the last 27 years and it’s me! I’m not changing my signature; people will just have to deal with the fact it looks nothing like my married name!
Post # 12
@Oribel013690: I agree with Melanie11. If anyone gives you a hard time about changing your name, it’s because they don’t really understand what feminism is about. I’m not changing my name for a lot of the reasons you mentioned, but I’ve got no problem with women who do, and I don’t think it makes them hypocrites in any case. In terms of your own discomfort, you really have to work that out on your own, but you don’t need to feel guilty about whatever your decision is.
Post # 13
Well, technically your current last name is your father’s, so you’re stuck with patriarchal tradition whether you take your FI’s name or not 😉
“I also feel that a true feminist is free to make any choice she wants, regardless of her reasons.”
Own this and stop explaining yourself to people. You won’t go *poof* into a 50s housewife in the eyes of others for deciding to take your husband’s name. So just smile when someone asks you if you’re taking his name, and go “Yup!” with confidence.
Post # 14
Like you said feminism is about choice, not about making certain choices to make a statement. If a woman chooses to be a stay at home mom or a “50’s housewife” for her own reasons or chooses to only wear dresses its her choice. The ability to choose is what feminism is about and not that you choose what every other feminist thinks you should because that just puts us back to square one where we have to choose certain things to be acceptable.
People should not condemn you for taking his last name they should condemn themselves for thinking you shouldn’t have a choice one way or the other (eiher not taking it or taking it). To me being a feminist doesn’t mean choosing things that are the opposite of other things but having the freedom to choose for yourself.
Taking his name is not against what you stand for. Now if you didn’t feel you had a choice in either taking it or not taking it then it would be because you would be letting social contraints (and there are feminist social constraints) dictate how you should choose.
Sorry this is long
Post # 15
Since taking the husband’s last name is common, you really don’t need to explain WHY you are changing it.
I, however, live in an ultra conservative area and have been given the weirdest looks and been told “oh, well, you could do x, y, or even z!” AFTER I say I’m not changing my last name!
and, for what it’s worth, my FI talked me into KEEPING my current last name (which belongs to my ex-husband…go figure). It’s a really cool last name and I even know the history of how people GOT this last name.
As for the kids part: we have two kids with my current last name, and one is my FI’s daughter (her initials are IMP!) and he REFUSES to have it changed. BUT if we have another (ok, more like WHEN), it will have HIS last name (and if it’s AFTER we’re married, by law the child gets the father’s last name, otherwise Daddy has to be there to sign the form. At least, that’s how it is in VA.)
So, it’s a choice and it doesn’t have anything to do with giving up being an independent woman.
(oh, and I’m totally with you on that “submitting” crap with the husband. If I even TRIED that, not only would my FI think I’ve gone insane, but I’d check myself into the local mental hospital! LOL! It SOOOO is not me! LOL!)
Post # 16
Even though I don´t like it, I don´t really think it´s sexist at this point.. I mean, you have the right to choose, so it´s not an imposition… However, I would not used a “married name”.. I´ll keep my own lastname, first of all that´s my own identity. I love my boyfriend with all my heart and more than anything in this world, respect him more than anything and really look after his opinion for important things (and we´ve been together for more than 9 years, since we were 16), but I have a very particular view of one´s self.
And second of all, in my country that´s an “old lady” thing.. old fashion, you know? Almost nodoby takes the husband´s lastname these days.. My grandmom uses her married name, but that´s it, my mom and aunts use their own name…
And men don´t give a damn about what name women choose after getting married, mind you!
Sometimes we lightly name a woman we´re talking about after her married name because we don´t know her own lastname, but then we do that with men too! lol!