Why is it so common for babies born out of wedlock get the man’s last name?

posted 2 years ago in Babies
  • poll: If you had a child without being married, whose last name would the child get?


    The father’s

    I’d hyphenate

    The baby won’t have a last name at all

  • Post # 61
    329 posts
    Helper bee

    Why? The patriarchy.

    Post # 63
    199 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: July 2019 - Vineyard in Italy

    View original reply
    cmsgirl :  I hear you. I migrated from Southern Italy to the US 8 years ago, and am planning to take my boyfriend’s last name when we marry, not only because of US traditions, but especially because I hate the way everyone here mispronounces my last name… and my bf’s last name is adorable (vain, I know).

    Anyway, when I hinted that to my mother and sister… they got soooo mad at me!!! It’s not something the is ever done in Italy. My sister didn’t even know it was a thing at all.

    Post # 64
    283 posts
    Helper bee

    I said “his” because when I got pregnant with our first we were already engaged and I agreed to take his last name when we married (he immigrated to my country for me, I did this for him). Both of our kids have my last name as a middle name instead. If that wasn’t our situation, though, I would want baby to have my name or hyphenated. Different strokes for different folks, but I do admit that I find it interesting/strange when mothers who have no relationship with or are estranged from the father give the baby the dad’s last name. 

    Post # 65
    9878 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    If I was planning on marrying the guy some day, I’d give the baby his name.

    If he was just some random hookup accident, my name.

    Post # 66
    849 posts
    Busy bee

    View original reply
    happiekrappie :  Why do married couples give the child the father’s last name? Why does the woman take the man’s last name?


    (PS- this is a really interesting history about “ownership.” Back when, women were property of men and so the last name signified ownership. Slaves also took on the man’s last name–again, ownership). 

    Post # 67
    1476 posts
    Bumble bee

    I think usually it’s due to these reasons:


    -Expectation of getting married and mother taking the father’s name

    -Pressure from the father, his family, friends, society etc 

    -Public declaration of paternity

    I personally think it’s foolish to give your children the same name as their father if you have a rocky relationship and/or no promise of marriage. If he wants them to have his name then either it’s a double barrel name or he’s at least proposing first imo. Seen too many women let their children have the dad’s name when he’s not even committed. Why should the woman have a different name to her own children if they father can’t even commit to getting engaged first? It’s all well and good just hoping he marries you, but most of the time it never happens if the couple aren’t even engaged first in my experience. 

    Post # 68
    3353 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2017

    View original reply
    happiekrappie :  you could ask the same thing about children born to parents with different last names. i’m married, didn’t take my husband’s last name, and have no idea what last name any hypothetical child would have (we’re CFBC). actually…more likely than not, the kid would have MY name, which also happens to be DH’s mother’s last name. so my name is just a trump card in terms of family names anyway.

    fwiw, DH’s mother kept her maiden name when they married. she and her husband had 2 children, a boy and a girl. the girl (my SIL) was given her mother’s last name, and the boy (DH) was given his father’s.

    Post # 69
    2368 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: January 2013

    For me it would depend if the father is in my life and the child’s life or not. Like if I was in a committed long term relationship with the father who was going To be in the babies life then I would give the baby his last name. But if it was a circumstance where the baby daddy isn’t around or whatever, I’d give the baby my last name. 

    Post # 70
    4054 posts
    Honey bee

    I gave my daughter her father’s last name, and I really don’t have any other reason but I was just young (19) and that was the “traditional” thing to do. When I married him, I took his last name too. When we divorced and I married again, I didn’t take his last name. I think at that point I had grown a lot and become much more independent, and also more aware of outdated patriarchal traditions. And thank goodness I didn’t change my last name again, cause that one ended in divorce too lol. 

    Post # 71
    3821 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: April 2017

    It’s purely tradition and the fact that a lot of guys are macho idiots about kids having to have their last name!

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