All The Reasons Why Married Women Are Keeping Their Last Names
While in many cultures and world and circles it might be considered tradition for a woman to “take” her husband’s last name, many women have opted to buck tradition. In 2017, a study found that nearly half of Americans believe women should be required by law to adopt the last names of their husbands. It’s a reminder that despite all of the progress we’ve made as women— where now we are able to drive on roads, drive the vote, and even drive entire companies— social conventions still have quite a ways to go.
Below, women are sharing the reasons why they didn’t change their last names.
“I hate the “isn’t your name a man’s name anyway” argument. When do I ever get to own my name? Men own their name from birth, apparently women just borrow their surname from their dad and then from their husband. It’s ridiculous.”- pan_alice
“I came here to reply but honestly you’ve said it perfectly.
My sister asked me ‘but what if you have children!?’ And I said ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ? A name does not a family make. My fiancé’s mum never changed her name. I haven’t heard of any legitimate reason why I should change my name.”- vanessaj1990
“The “but what about the children” argument I see from time to time on Reddit makes me laugh, because where I live, married women HAVE to keep their original surname, which means often families with children are “Mr Smith, Mrs Jones, and their kids Alex Smith, Bart Smith and Christine Smith”. AND NO ONE GETS CONFUSED.”- ChibiSailorMercury
“I was shocked when, after about a year, that the majority of the comments I got were “I wish I had kept mine.” There are a lot of rude people in the beginning, but the majority of people don’t give a fuck or think the idea is great.”- Pethoarder4life
“Big yes on being known professionally as my own name. I’m one year away from getting my MD. I’m the one earning that and the one who published research and did conference presentations. Not my partner.”- elwynbrooks
“I came here to say this but you said more eloquently than I ever could. It is MY name. Why change it? I informed people when asked I won’t be changing my name and neither will my husband.”- WINTERSONG1111
“I feel the exact same and have the same reasons as you for keeping my name!! My partner and I do want children so I’m trying to navigate that right now. Wonder if anyone has any tips abt that!!!”- TacoSluuut
“I don’t want to get married, but THIS, also I love my last name and don’t think I should change it cause of a man, I find it fucking sexist, where im originally from it doesn’t work that way, and I’m GLAD. I have an uncommon Dutch last name I can’t imagine changing it. Also if you marry and have kids your kids get both parents lasts names.”- sadqnn
“That’s same with my parents. They kept their last name but and my siblings have a hyphenated last name. Same with my cousin’s.”- -captaindumbass-
“I like my name, simple as that.
A lot of women in my family have kept our family name because it’s somewhat rare. There’s like 200 people with this surname, and about 50 of them are in my family, and most of us keep the name regardless of gender, when we marry.”- amazingstillitseems
“A childhood friend of mine only had a first name and a last name, (like, Mary Smith) when as far as I knew, everyone had a middle name. She explained that her father only gave her the two names, because one day she would marry and drop her middle name anyway. (And I thought, what if she didnt marry? Couldn’t she drop his name?) Even as a kid, I thought this was horrible reasoning.
In genealogical circles, this leads to Mary NMI Smith (No Middle Initial) and Mary NMN Smith (No Middle Name.)
I was married 40+ years ago and kept my maiden name.”- SilverVixen1928
“I’m a guy and dislike my last name and the people who gave it to me, I would honestly consider taking her name because fuck gender norms.”- arrowff
“I’m one of 2 people in the world with my exact surname, as far as I know. There’s no way I’m giving it up, and I hope my kids want to carry it on someday.”- TossItThrowItFly
“Same here. Married 14 years with two kids. Never changed my name. It’s been a complete non-issue. Occasionally my husband gets called “Mr. Mylastname” or I get called “Ms. Hislastname” but neither of us care.”- Misschiff0
“Im on my second marriage and both times my husband changed his name to mine. People kinda shrug when they figure out I didn’t change my name but I do get some open-mouthed stares when they realized that my husband changed his name…
I just don’t see any reason to change my name, my first husband found it convenient to change his with weird spelling and difficult pronunciation. For my second husband it was important to him that we had the same name, so he changed his.”- SteelQueenToo
“My father changed his name to my mother’s name as well, but I actually don’t really know why. I guess they liked it better? It is kind of random I guess. He just told me it can kind of suck because people don’t realise you are the same person if they lost touch or something.”- leedzah
“I didn’t change my name for all the reasons already cited about, but when someone sends me an invitation with Mrs [husband’s Last Name], I don’t even bother to correct them. I didn’t care about the hassles of changing mine and I made a name for myself professionally before I got married so I stood firm to not change mine. It raised a couple of eyebrows but my mother and her mum didn’t change theirs also, so pulling the cultural card really helped.
Speaking of culture, I come from one that places massive respect for the elder so it’s okay for some older relatives who can’t adjust as well or have bad memories to call me whatever, I will graciously respond to them as the Mrs.”-
“I didn’t want to take his name as I believe marriage is a partnership. We’re marrying each other, not me marrying him only. So we were going to choose a new surname together but one that was in the family to signify the unity but never really got it sorted so we still have our own surnames.
People always assume I have his surname or that we’re not married.”- Hulahoop81
“I grew up in a privileged area which had a very little variety of cultures. Being from an Eastern European background with a different surname, I was badly bullied for it as it wasn’t “normal”. This made me super embarrassed of it when I was younger. As I got older I grew to become very proud of my heritage and surname. Therefore, I kept it as its me. And I’m proud of it.
Edit: when I tell people the above, most people just say ‘fair enough.’”- natalieb07
“This. I’m from Puerto Rico, and people rarely do this. It’s actually considered weird when people do change their last name. We just have two last names: our father’s and our mother’s.
ETA: Forgot to say that, although not super common, it still happens. Some women keep their full last names, but then tack on their husband’s first last name with a “de” preceding it. Marta Quintero Arenas married Pedro Quiñones Balboa. She decides to keep both last names, but also wants to add her husband’s first last name? She could do Marta Quintero Arenas de Quiñones. The “de” is basically an ‘of.’”- chromachord
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