Sorry if my reply came across as insulting to women who take their husbands’ names. I think that every woman should do what she thinks is best, and I definitely wouldn’t think any less of someone for choosing to take her husband’s name. It is just a Wedding Bee pet peeve of mine, that when you ask a question with definite choices for answers, someone inevitably posts a solution that you’re clearly not considering.
The reason I think that changing your name represents becoming your husband’s property, is that women have historically been considered the property of their fathers. They had their father’s name until then they got married, then their name switched to their husband’s name, and they became his property. Obviously, most people don’t think that wives are their husband’s property anymore (in much of the world), but it’s still a chauvinist tradition. Even my fiance, who is a total feminist, wouldn’t seriously consider changing his name to mine, which makes me mad.
I realize that hyphenating can be annoying, but we don’t have a better option, and it is the most equitable way to do things. My fiance wanted to keep our names (we’re both published scientists), which I was initially on board with. But, what name would we give our children? I didn’t want to give them his name, and then not have the same name as my children. That seems just as chauvinist as taking his name. We thought about giving each child one of our last names, but that might be confusing.
I thought about it a lot, and decided I wanted to hyphenate, which he was initially against. I got really upset about it, and he finally agreed to do it. Now, we’re both excited to have the same name (or he’s acting like he is). He can still publish under his original name if he wants to, but I honestly think our hyphenated name will be better, since his original name is very common.
I think the difficulty associated with hyphenated names stems from the fact that it’s still an unusual thing to do, which I think is all the more reason to do it. It’s not that difficult of a concept, so form makers should be able to catch on!
Note: I work in a very male-dominated field and get sexually harassed a lot. A lot of men also act like I got to where I am because I’m an attractive woman (even when my credentials are way stronger than theirs), which is infuriating. This has definitely made me more of a feminist. It seems like women who work in traditionally female-dominated fields don’t (always) get harassed as much, so some of them don’t see that women’s rights are still an issue (which I totally understand). I didn’t realize how much of an issue it still is until I started working.