Sunday, February 14, 2010

Would you change your name after marriage?

The Boston Globe ran a piece yesterday titled The Ms. myth. The article focuses on married women's decisions regarding whether to keep their maiden names after marriage, and claims that fewer married women are keep their own names now than a decade ago.

Though the article cites studies that suggest that about 13 percent of white, married, college-graduate women, age 30 to 34 kept their names after marriage, my own friends are generally fans of the practice. In my office, only one of my close colleagues is interested in changing her last name upon marriage. That being said, hardly any of my want-to-keep-their-maiden-name friends are married, leading me to ponder a few things.

  1. Are women who would prefer to keep their maiden names less likely to get married?
    Maybe the reason none of my I'll-keep-my-own-name-thank-you friends has married is because they have fiercer independent streaks than the (as Bridget Jones would call them) the smug marrieds. Perhaps, the desire to keep one's own name correlates with the desire to stay single (or a lack of necessity to make a relationship "official" with marriage).

  2. Why does not changing one's name brand a woman as a feminist while changing one's name is labeled as sexist?
    The status quo here needs an update. I don't particularly care if a woman changes her name or not, I just want her to have the right to choose. Taking your husband's name doesn't make you less of a feminist, and keeping your name doesn't make you a card-carrying member of NOW.

  3. Why don't more women keep their names after marriage?
    I definitely don't have an answer for this one. I find it curious that only 13 percent of women keep their names after marriage. Do women change their names out of habit or tradition? For the sake of their children so that they'll have a "family" name? Answers, please!
Though I don't begrudge anyone the opportunity to change her name, I am surprised that more women don't keep their given names after marriage. I have no desire to change my name if I get married. I grew up Danielle Brown and I intend to stay Danielle Brown. It's the name on my birth certificate, my report cards, my diploma, and my driver's license. My parents gave me a name that fits me. Why would I want to change it?

Readers, did you change your name after marriage? Would you? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Annie Cronin said...

This is a great I am really opinionated about. I have been married twice and made the decision long before I was married that I was not going to change my name...and I never have. I think some people do think it is better for the children if both parents have the same name. I think that is bull. In fact, I wish I had thought of giving my kids my last name instead of their dad's. And I also think if it is important for the man to have the same last name as his wife, he could always take hers.

Anonymous said...

When I got married 7 years ago, I was starting a new chapter in my life. I wasn't a just-out-of-college girl living in my parents' basement anymore. I was marrying the man I love. I was getting ready to buy a house and planning to start a family. I was happy to take my husband's name because I wasn't the same girl anymore. New life, new name.