Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Burning Question: Will I Change?

I have been asked one question almost daily since I got married:
Are you going to change your last name?
There has been a movement among women, most notably in recent years, in not taking their husband's name after getting married.
What is this social stigma that pressures women into forfeiting a surname they have known since birth and adopting an entirely new surname - the surname of their man.
Long ago, women were considered the "property" of their husbands. Seriously. Two really did become one. Society, in those times, really did expect that women would take on the surname of their husband, and they would become one. The husband went to work. The wife stayed home. The husband made the money. The wife raised the children. The husband could vote. The wife could not. Eventually, women were given the right to actually speak for themselves, as ridiculous as that sounds, and even vote. Slowly, we were moving up in the world.
Then, women started questioning the reasoning behind taking their husband's last name. Was is because society expected it? And then it started to sink in that society has changed. Women were no longer property. They were, just like any man, their own person. With their own name. And why should they have to change it? Granted, no one HAS to. But it's still expected.
And I want to know why. With so many things evolving in this world, beliefs running around wildy, changing from one day to the next, why is this one belief so insisted upon?
It's my name. I have had it since the day I was born. That's almost 27 years. Why, 27 years into my life, do I have to take on a new name?

10 comments:

Cristie said...

I understand your reasoning for wanting to keep your maiden name, but my belief is that it is disrespectful to NOT take the mans name. And it doesn't have anything to do with "becoming one" and losing your individuality. I believe it has to do with becoming a family. Especially if you have kids. And please don't take this the wrong way, but to me, it should be an honor to take the name of the one you are going to spend the rest of your life with. But ultimately it is your choice and you need to do what is best for you.

Michelle said...

I agree with Cristie. I don't even know anyone that hasn't taken their husband's name that I'm aware of. I've never thought of it as being a choice. Its honoring your spouse and agreeing to become 'one'. Just one of those tradition things. Its alot easier on the kids to have both parents with the same name. I have one friend that changed her middle name to her maiden name. Not a hyphenation. She now has two middle names. Thats the tradition in her family. You've both got to talk about it and agree on it, otherwise it will be a thorn in your marriage.

dorothymae said...

Even in the early 50's when 95% of women were stay-at-home Mom's and ALWAYS took their husband's last name, I had a neighbor who was just a little rebellious for that era. She kept her given surname by giving it to all of her children as their middle name. You are indeed your own person and every right to do what feels best for you. The love you have for each other and you kids is much more important than a name.

mrskeller said...

wow, you got some strong answers so far on this subject...

no offense, but it looks like the first two comments were left by women who are of a different generation than we are. we are modern. we are independent. we are not defined by who we marry. do what you feel is right for you.

i don't think its disrespectful to not take your husband's name. i asked jon - just to see what he would say - if he would take my last name and it was completely out of the question for him. interesting, huh?

i didn't want to let go of my maiden name because its a part of who i am. jon wanted me to take his name because of his pride. as i've told you before, i changed my middle name to my maiden name.


if eric feels as strongly about you taking his name as you feel about not taking his name, you two may both have to compromise. welcome to marriage, baby!

Becky :) said...

I'm a nobody who came over from Chronicles of a Woman. But thought I would comment anyways.
I'm going to agree with MrsKeller. It's your choice and then it's also a compromise to your husband. I did it a little different though. Both of my children have my maiden name for their last name. That isn't to be rude to their Father but that's a story for another day that no one wants to hear.

But when I married him I changed my last name to his. But the minute my divorce was final I immediately changed it back.

Now that I am engaged again, my fiance and I have talked about the name issue and he actually said that he would think about taking my name before he would ask me to take his. But I also look at in the way that my children have my maiden name which I have now and it's so much easier for me to keep it. But once my son graduates high school I would change it to his.

Don't feel like you're a bad person for not wanting to change it.

♥Jacqueline♥ said...

Since we have spoke about this already, I'll keep the vivid graphics out of everyone's mind. Do what makes you happy, regardless of "respect". It is not disrespectful to not take the spouse's name, it's convenient not to. You save time and energy from having to contact every creditor, utility company, phone company, etc. with a name change. Since 9/11, times are even more tough than before. To change a name now, you have to provide a REAL copy of the marriage license (I know this because most of my accounts require it)and who knows if that incurs a cost. Is it really worth the hassle?? And seriously, it's nobody's business but yours and your husband's with what you choose to do with your name. As I said before, if push comes to shove, come up with your own last name and have your boys change it too.

ScissorBella said...

Well, I don't know a lot about marriage but I know what I have observed though successful and unsuccessful marriages. I do agree that it is your choice. But, when you choose to get married you are becoming united as a family. That is the purpose of marriage to grow together and submit to each other too. I think as a wife AND husband you have to honor your spouse. You won't agree on everything but you have to compromise and I do think you have to let go of your pride a little bit. He does too of course. I am personally all for changing your name just for the sake of having a family and in the future, when your great great great grandkids want to learn about their family history it would be awfully confusing not having the same names and such. I think also in marriage (just observing still)both wife and hubby need to learn how to be more selfless, to cater to each others needs. It's awesome being a successful independent woman but chosing his name woudn't cause you to lose that and the awesome hot mama that you are! Like Cristie said, it's starting a new family and and honor to be able to share that with the husband you love so much! How exciting is that? David once told me that I should never call him little man or some other belittling nickname because men don't like that. I think the same with this situation. Men want to feel like the big awesome strong man, that's just how they are made and we as women have to learn these things and respect them. Of course they have to respect our girl quirks too. Anyway, good luck on the situation and I hope everything gets worked out!! :) Love you guys!

Sandee said...

My advise as a single person... stay single :) Then this problem won't arise. LOL! Really. I'm on both sides of the fence here. You will be right in what ever you choose. You are female. We ARE ALWAYS right!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing disrespectful about wanting to hang on to you birth name, Jenn. If I had it to do over, I would not have changed my name, and I talk to my girls all the time about having the choice because I don't want them to grow up thinking that is just the way it is because it is not. Hyphenate if you want to compromise, but no one should make you feel badly for how you feel. Respect is a two way street but not wanting to change your name really has nothing to do with respect.
My friends who got married in June made the ultimate compromise -- they both changed their names to inclue the other's: Andrews-Knight(hers Andrews, his Knight). Doesn't get much more fair than that.

mrskeller said...

i've grown weary of all this talk - have you made your decision yet?