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Name Changing
« on: March 08, 2013, 01:12:24 AM »
I've noticed (by the amount of women who are worried about their names matching on passports, etc on the visa boards) that most women around here change their names when they marry so I'm not sure how well this will be received. But, I'm kind of in love with this article and it IS in the Guardian and it IS written by an American so I figured why not. Thoughts, anyone?  ;D

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/07/women-stop-changing-your-name-when-married?CMP=twt_gu



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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2013, 01:21:49 AM »
Meh.  I've heard all those arguments before, and I just don't see it as a feminist issue.  You either have your husband's name or your father's. 

I changed my name because my mom didn't change hers and it was a pain in the behind for our whole family.  She says now that if she had it to do over, she would have changed it.  Plus I didn't like my maiden name.  I've kept it as a middle name, for some continuity with my degrees, etc, but that's as far as I'm willing to go.  It doesn't make me weak or subservient to my husband, just fed up with this stupid issue and a bit incredulous that it's still a thing.  Modern feminism means women can choose whatever they want without being judged for it.  So there. 

You did say you wanted opinions :D
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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2013, 03:13:49 AM »
I saw this article and while I didn't love it, I was glad to see it. I did not change my name when I got married (and now that I'm divorcing, am very glad! ;) ). In the UK I got more flak for not changing it. Here in the US, less so. My kids have their father's name. That was our compromise. I had always thought I'd hyphenate, but ended up marrying someone who's surname was too similar to mine.

I kept my name as it is extremely unusual and as I married in my 30s, I just couldn't wrap my head around changing it after so long. I also did enjoy thumbing my nose at 'tradition' though I agree with historyenne that feminism should move past this.

That said, women who don't even give it any thought get me a bit irate. But that's just MHO.
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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2013, 07:22:25 AM »
When I got married the first time almost 15 years ago I didn't change my name and no-one thought it strange or unusual (except my father-in-law who was quite old-fashioned).  My maiden name wasn't just my father's last name, but it is unusual and points to my Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.  It was mine and I wanted to keep it.  Plus I then wouldn't have to bother changing my passport and everything else.  For me not changing was the path of least resistance.  It was no big deal at all.  No-one cared.

This time around I chose to change.  It's a personal decision and doesn't mean I am any less of a feminist than I was before.  My husband said I should keep my maiden name for the reasons I stated above, but I wanted to take his.  All of my US stuff is in my maiden name (including my US passport) and my UK stuff is in my married name (as will be my UK passport when I get it).
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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2013, 07:25:28 AM »
Meh.  I've heard all those arguments before, and I just don't see it as a feminist issue.  You either have your husband's name or your father's. 

This is my opinion as well. Silly notion that it's somehow a feminist stand to keep your maiden name.
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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2013, 07:29:57 AM »
I went back and forth on this issue for quite a while, especially when thinking about what our daughter's last name should be. I still haven't legally changed my name and up until my daughter was born, we had intended to hyphenate her last name. In the end, after talking with several friends who grew up with hyphenated last names, I decided I didn't really want to saddle her with that, so we gave her my maiden name as a second middle name, and my husband's last name. I had toyed with keeping my maiden name for work/publishing purposes and taking my husband's name socially/legally to make international travel as a family easier, but I never got around to it and even though I didn't want a different last name than my kids would have, I didn't really want to take my husband's last name, either. In the end, when I went in to get my UK citizenship, I was questioned about keeping my maiden name and asked what I would like my citizenship certificate to say and for some reason, I decided on that day that hyphenating my last name would be a good compromise. I sort of immediately regretted it and haven't applied for my passport yet because I can't make up my mind if I want to then go through with changing my name on EVERYTHING. I still plan to use my maiden name for publishing and in all work-related contexts but I think eventually I'll probably go through with the hyphenation, purely for the sake of my children.


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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2013, 07:39:13 AM »
This is my opinion as well. Silly notion that it's somehow a feminist stand to keep your maiden name.
I see your point here.  It's not necessarily feminist, but it is part of your identity (and can be part of your ethnic heritage as well) since you've had it all your life.
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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2013, 07:59:53 AM »
This is my opinion as well. Silly notion that it's somehow a feminist stand to keep your maiden name.

But I think it is taking a feminist stance to question why it is assumed women should take their husband's last name and that children should have their father's last name. And I do agree with the article that the fact that women have to ponder the choice and consider what effect not taking their husband's last name will have on their family/children makes it a feminist issue. On the other hand, I don't think it is un-feminist for a woman to decide to take her husband's last name...but I think a lot of women get defensive about this issue because they want to defend their choice to change their last name rather than stepping back and looking at why we all feel compelled to change our last names in the first place. 


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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2013, 08:08:38 AM »
I see your point here.  It's not necessarily feminist, but it is part of your identity (and can be part of your ethnic heritage as well) since you've had it all your life.

It can be part of your ethnic heritage, but only half. There's just as strong an argument to take your mother's maiden name if heritage is what you're looking for. But then, of course, that was just her father's name ... so it all boils down to the same thing.  :-\\\\
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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2013, 09:41:25 AM »
I changed my last name to my husband's for several reasons but one big reason.  We plan to have kids and I want the same name as my children.  I do not want to go to my child's school and say, "Hi, I'm Mrs. Smith here to pick up Sally Jones."

I consider my last name to be my family name and I want the family that my husband and I have together to have the same family name.

That being said, I have no judgement against people who choose not to change their name.  It's a personal choice and should not be required.  If the people in the relationship are happy to have different last names, it doesn't affect me in the slightest.


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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2013, 09:57:51 AM »
I swapped my German last name for my husband's locally-ubiquitous name, for the sake of expediency.  I didn't want to spend the rest of my life having it mispronounced, or spelling it over and over for people, only to have them misspell it anyway; I got enough of that in Wisconsin, and it's not an uncommon name there (though not the standard spelling).

Also, I thought it might make things easier all around if people couldn't look at my name on a list or form and know immediately that I was foreign.  Instead, they look at it and assume that it's the other 'woadgrrl'-- i.e. my husband's third cousin, who has the same name.  ::)  I probably should have thought that through a bit more.

Hyphenating or otherwise double-barreling it, although a perfectly fine practice, simply wasn't an option.  Either name alone barely fits on a form as it is! 

Do I feel slight twinges of feminist guilt that I didn't somehow keep my family name?  Yeah, sometimes, a wee bit.  But it's much less than the guilt I feel any time I see some barely-clothed teenaged girl and think 'my God, why did her parents let her out of the house like that?'

Bottom line:  there are WAY bigger feminist fish to fry.


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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2013, 11:05:32 AM »
I didn't like that article... particularly how she seemed to be suggesting that anyone who takes their husband's name because they like the name better, is somehow deluded.  ::)

Quote
Given that men almost never change their names upon marriage, either there's something weird going on where it just so happens that women got all of the bad last names, or "I changed my name because his is better" is just a convenient and ultimately unconvincing excuse.

I took my husband's very Scottish (with a whole huge history behind it) name because I had always hated my ugly-sounding and hard to spell family name.  And also because, living in Scotland, I fancied having a Scottish surname.

When I was finished with that marriage, I was finished with using his name.  So I chose a new surname for myself, had it changed by deed poll, and I intend to keep it till I die, regardless of whether or not I ever marry again.

« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 01:40:59 PM by Tracey »


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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2013, 12:11:13 PM »

I was reading this last night! :)

I haven’t legally changed my name. On Facebook I’m PlainPearl Maiden-Married, but legally I’m PlainPearl Maiden. I just figured it was easier to have all my legal documents and correspondence under one name. Also, I had nightmares about DH purchasing plane tickets for us and using my married name even though it’s different from my passport, so I thought it best not to confuse the issue. :P

I’d like to think I’m a feminist. My opinion on the matter is that women should be free to keep their maiden name or change to their husband’s name without catching flack for it. Also, I think it’s perfectly ok for men to take their wive’s surnames. I think it’s ok for the woman to hyphenate or for both parties to hyphenate. I also think it’s ok for a couple to make up a new name. I think people need to do what they feel comfortable with. Their decision really isn’t any of my business.

After I’m done with all the immigration stuff I doubt I will change my name legally. If I do, I’m going to hyphenate it. We don’t plan on having kids, so I’m not worried about “burdening” them with that. If we did have kids, oh well. I know tons of people with hyphenated or double-barreled last names.

People have trouble with surnames hyphenated or not. My surname is also a first name, so in school when teachers took attendance, I was often referred to by my surname or Surname First name. This happened when everyone else in the class was referred to as First Name only or by First then Surname. It’s not that hard, people! DH also has a surname that is a common first name, so I can’t escape this by taking his name either.

I like my maiden name and when I see myself referred to as Mrs. Married or PlainPearl Married, I don’t feel connected to that name and I wonder who that person is. I’m sure it’s something that a lot of women (or men if they change their name) have to adapt to though. However, I’m not offended if I’m referred to by my married name. DH doesn’t care either way. We feel married and we have a piece of paper that says we are, so who cares?

This comment made my blood boil though...

“The idea of men taking their wives' surnames is ridiculous. It is political correctness gone mad. It is yet another assault by the liberal elite on the institution of marriage. But it will not work. Marriage - including all its traditional trappings - works and is the basic building block of our society. Get over it, folks.”

I’m hoping he (she) was a troll, but who knows.  ::)


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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2013, 01:20:25 PM »
Bottom line:  there are WAY bigger feminist fish to fry.

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Re: Name Changing
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2013, 04:25:28 PM »
I changed my last name to my husband's for several reasons but one big reason.  We plan to have kids and I want the same name as my children.  I do not want to go to my child's school and say, "Hi, I'm Mrs. Smith here to pick up Sally Jones."

I consider my last name to be my family name and I want the family that my husband and I have together to have the same family name.

That being said, I have no judgement against people who choose not to change their name.  It's a personal choice and should not be required.  If the people in the relationship are happy to have different last names, it doesn't affect me in the slightest.

I guess what the article is asking is that if having the same family last name is so important, why don't men ever change their names? Why is it always the woman by default who does so, and as a result losing part of her identity that she's had her whole life? That's what makes it a feminist issue to me. If we lived in a world where about the same amount of men changed their name as women then I would have less of an issue considering it if I ever get married. I still probably wouldn't because I really do agree with the idea that it's silly to give up your life-long identity when you marry. My last name isn't my dad's; I mean, it is, but it's also fully mine because I've had it from birth.

Oddly, I wouldn't really care what last name any kids would have. It's their name, from birth but I don't care if it were mine, my partner's or some random name we made up.


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