I took my husband’s name

Photo by Cris Valencia

For real though: Whether a woman wants to take her husband’s name upon marriage is none of your business. Asking people about it and getting pushy with your perspective is like telling strangers they should have kids. Not your business.

But, because you (friends, family members, and a former manager) asked, I took my husband’s name because I do not want my father’s name. I want to share my husband’s name and I want to do great things with him in our name.
Furthermore, I cannot for the life of me see why it is better to keep the name you got from your father than to decide to share your husband’s. As in: both options are two different-but-equal manifestations of the patriarchy and you haven’t really revolutionized the way women are positioned and treated by keeping your dad’s name instead of adopting your husband’s. Or as in: I see reasons for keeping your name and reasons for changing it, but it doesn’t make you a revolutionary to keep your old man’s name instead of taking your new man’s name.
If you want to really assert yourself and be your own person, why don’t you change your name entirely, à la Malcom X? (There must be some women who have done this…I don’t know any off the top of my head and I feel like that’s an indication of either complete ignorance on my part or a gap in our national “curriculum”. Does George Eliot count?) Let boys and girls choose their own full names at confirmations, debutante parties, bar mitzvahs or when they get their licenses if you want names to be expressions of identity and not ownership or patriarchal lineage. But don’t insist that keeping your father’s name makes you a better feminist or a more independent woman than someone who was “brainwashed” into taking her husband’s name.
I looked forward to losing my father’s name and taking my husband’s name. It was like joining a new team, getting in on the ground floor of something I could build a legacy upon. I knew that if I found someone that I believed I could spend the rest of my life with, I would change my name. Hyphenating our names to include my maiden name felt burdensome. In contrast, taking my husband’s name felt like starting a new journey together.

Also, in the age of multiple social network handles that allow us each to assume various personas and slip in and out of online conversations (if we choose to do so), is opting to change your name really as traumatic as critics make it seem? It’s only for legal reasons that we’re forced to settle on one, when in fact each of us plays different roles and has different identities in relation to other people. 

And unless we’re on intimate enough terms for me to tell you when I think I need to up my fiber intake, you have no right to lament that I changed my name when I got married. 

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