Name Change – I am AGONIZING over this

posted 4 months ago in Names
Post # 31
Member
355 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2019 - York, ME

satedmeg :  Your comment that his exwife kept “his” name after divorce being an annoyance is why I won’t drop my maiden name.  Your married name is never “yours” then, your name that is tied to your identity is really just dependent on your relationship status and that’s so wrong to me. Men don’t face that. 

OP, do what works best for you and if you don’t know what that is, just wait until you do! I don’t know yet if I’ll be adding his name onto mine to double barrel, and I’m not going to make any decisions until I have clarity on that.  A name is important, you should feel good about yours no matter what choice you make.

 

Post # 32
Member
666 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

It sounds like you’re making it into a far bigger deal than it needs to be. After all, it’s just a name. If you take his last name it won’t suddenly crush your feminism. And if you don’t take his last name it won’t make you more of a feminist. Just decide what’s more important to you! Also, just a heads up it’s going to get super complicated if you start changing his middle name too. That’s a lot of extra paperwork. I think if you’re dead set on keeping yours it should be YourFirst YourMiddle YourMaiden HisLast. It’s the least complex way to move forward especially if you plan on having children. Sure you could hyphenate but as someone who works with the government and deals with names on a daily basis I assure you that hyphenated names are a huge pain in the a** when it comes to legal documentation.

Post # 33
Member
330 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

brideandblue :  It might be “just a name” for you, but to many of us (OP included, obviously), it’s something significant to our identity. It IS a big deal to us. 

Post # 34
Member
542 posts
Busy bee

justforkeeps :  I didn’t read the comments, sorry, but this caught my eye as I had the same problem. I move my maiden to a second middle name. Poltically I go by my maiden name. I could not lose that. At work I go by my maiden name just cause it’s easier 3 letters vs 8 and hard to pronounce. Socially I use my married name. Now I can use whatever combo I want and I’m happy and hubby’s happy and my state had no issues with it. I think I have heard that some states do… But I talked to a couple other people with two middle names and they haven’t had issues with passports or the federal government in any way. 

Post # 35
Member
1887 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

dianaj17 :  Sure, you were born with that last name, but it originated from your father. Depending on when you get married and your lifespan, you could have more life with your new husband’s last name than with your maiden name, if you chose to take it. At that point, which last name would be yours – the one you were born with or the one you had longer?

The point of all of this is that feminism is not evidenced by keeping your maiden name (which most likely originated from your father – a man) or by taking your new spouse’s name (most likely originating from his father – a man). Neither is more feminist. Feminism is the right to choose. It’s the right to equality.

Post # 36
Member
330 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

knotyet :  Ha, I responded on the other thread as well! I think we just have a sort of fundamental disagreement/outlook. How did my father/FI get their names? They were given them at birth. They went to school with them, they got degrees with them, they worked jobs with them. By framing it as saying “you can choose to keep your father’s name or take your fiance’s name”, you’re stating that by virtue of being men, they somehow get to own their names. I got my last name in the exact same manner as they did, which makes my last name exactly as much my own as it does my father’s or fiance’s.

And of course people can choose to do whatever they want with their names…in fact, I’m adding FI’s to the end of mine, so I certainly don’t judge the choices of others. I just absolutely abhor the line of “well you have a man’s name anyway”…no. Nobody says to my father or Fiance that they have their father’s name. When you’re bestowed a name at birth, it becomes yours, just as much as it would for a man. 

Post # 37
Member
1887 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

dianaj17 :  By that token, if you were to take your husband’s name there’s more choice in it than the name you were born with. You chose to take it, versus it just being handed down man to man to man with the wives taking the name. You’re saying the man doesn’t own the name, and it’s just as much the daughters’, because they both were born with it. The difference is in the origination. It came from a man, who came from a man, who came from a man. You’ve inherited the name from a line of men (most likely), not your mother. That’s why I see it as your father’s name. It came from him, not the matriarch.

The other scenario, which will likely become more common as we move forward, is if your name came from your mother, as then your inheriting something from a woman. 

However, I will concede that my views will likely differ from yours due to background, because I’ve never gotten on well with my father, had no desire to take his name (it’s his name because my mom gave up hers upon marriage. I know her maiden name – so maybe it could have been a feminist choice to take on her family name?). I was ecstatic to take on my husband’s name, and if I hadn’t gotten married, I was considering taking on a new name altogether because I didn’t want to inherit my father’s name, and I didn’t want to be a part of his legacy. My childhood had a supreme impact on my very powerful feelings about this though. 

Post # 38
Member
330 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

knotyet :  I reread my posts, and I certainly didn’t intend to be judgy. My issue is (and always has been) the semantics…the choice of name is either choosing to “keep your father’s name” or choosing to “take your husband’s name”…in both instances, the name belongs to the man, and you do not own it despite obtaining it/living with it the same way. My argument is merely that we all own our own names (it doesn’t matter where it came from, once given, it’s yours) and can choose to do whatever we want with no quasi-feminist platitudes that “it’s a man’s name anyhow”. I’m glad you made a choice that made you happy!

Post # 39
Member
9 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: April 2019

This is a great topic!! I think there is some great advice here and I like the idea of waiting to decide too! I am going to keep my maiden name (my mom actually did the same – I have her maiden name and now will keep it!). We FH will also keep his last name. We then plan on hyphenating the last name for any future children! 

We toyed around with the idea of creating our own new last name by combining our names as well – but ultimately I think we are both too traditional and wanted to pass along our family names. 

Just know that whatever decision you make will be the right one! And waiting to see how you feel is so okay! There is something about the wedding that makes you feel the excitement and desire to “finalize” the name change – but I think giving it some time is okay – you can still use a single name hashtag etc. at the wedding if that makes the process feel better! 

Post # 40
Member
1 posts
Wannabee

 

This is a great topic to bring up, and it’s a big decision fraught with a LOT of conflicting pressures, so don’t feel bad for struggling so hard. I think if you’ve found a potential solution that makes you feel calm (First Hislast Yourlast & equivalent changing by him), you should go with it! I think it’s awesome and super sexy when the male partner gets in on the name changing too.

That said, you don’t have to change it right away. If you live in a state where you have to put your married name on the certificate, just write it down in whatever format you choose, and either use that to change your name after or just don’t. I’m 2 years out from my wedding and frankly STILL haven’t made a final decision. At the time of our wedding I decided I wanted to change my last name to my partner’s, but we were living abroad at the time so I didn’t want to deal with the paperwork. Back in our home country, I’m trying to decide whether to go through with it or not. For me, the debate is my very strong feminist conviction against doing something that VERY few men do or even consider, vs. a nebulous feeling that it would be fun to share a name with my partner and our children (and his is the last name I like best, plus the admittedly un-feminist fact that he doesn’t want to change his).

Anyhow, I actually came here to leave this resource, a beautiful list of reasons why a feminist/womanist might change her name at marriage, by Melissa McEwan: http://www.shakesville.com/2010/11/pro-choice.html The comments are pure gold as well. Good luck and congratulations!

Post # 41
Member
388 posts
Helper bee

I don’t know what to do about this either. I already have a long name with my parents name double barreled onto it, so if SO and I have children what do I do, give them all 3 names lol?!

Post # 42
Member
61 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

We were joking that in the name of equality Fi should take my maiden name, and I – his :-). 

Post # 43
Member
429 posts
Helper bee

It only originated with your father because of a sexist traditions the way to break that tradition is to…….break it. My children’s names won’t come from their father (we agreed) so it won’t be true. Your comment reflects the very archaic notions that are precisely why women should not change their names.knotyet :  

Post # 44
Member
4989 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I just think it’s interesting that you keep referring to it as your/ a woman’s father’s name but you never say that for your husband. You apparently aren’t taking his father’s name, for some reason due to him being a man he gets acknowledged as having his own name and a woman never has her own.

knotyet :  

Post # 45
Member
54 posts
Worker bee

I haven’t read all the comments but I will say tradition as we know it today is misogynistic. From the man asking the father for the woman’s hand to holding proposing over the woman’s head to the woman taking the man’s name, traditions of today are rooted in misogyny and the ownership of women. Once that really sunk in for me it made my choice easy and I was no longer conflicted.

i have no intention of changing my name. My fiancé can change his or not but for me it’s a hard stop and no negotiation. My children will also have my name because it makes logical sense to trace your lineage through the mother. People who trace their lineage through the father have NO guarantee whatsoever that great great great uncle Henry was in fact his mother’s husband’s son, lol. 

I feel part of being a feminist is to work to deprogram yourself from the patriarchal construct and how we have been indoctrinated. Many customs that we know as “tradition” are oppressive to women. When you really think about it it’s kind of obsurd to expect a human to give up thier name/identity they were given or that children born from a union are usually given the father’s name without a second thought. 

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