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It's My Name. It's Always Been My Name. So Back Off!

This made me all "RAWRRRR!" even though i don't personally have this issue.

While more than 25% of women surveyed in a UK poll said they'd like to keep (or at least hyphenate) their maiden names, 63.3% of male Men's Health readers said they'd be pissed off if their wives decided not to take their names. And a staggering 96.3% of respondents said they wouldn't take their wife's name if she asked them to. The individual responses are astonishing:
"I'd like her to want to be a part of my family and be proud of our name." --Anonymous respondent, via a SurveyMonkey poll

"One family, one name. If she didn't take my name, I'd seriously question her faith in us lasting as a couple. And I don't want hyphenated kids." --Brandon Robert Joseph Peyton, via Facebook

"I believe the purpose of marriage is raising children, and children take their father's name (as a way of identifying paternity). Mothers always have a special bond, carrying their young. Fathers don't, so [passing on our name] is our compensation." --Matthew Bratcher, via Facebook

See? It's just about family. It's just about togetherness. It can't be sexist, it's tradition! And lighten up--traditions are just rituals through which we fetishize and deify the past, confining our modern social mores to shapes that our great great grandparents would be comfortable with if they happened to time travel here for a drop-in status quo inspection. NBD. THAT'S ALL. How could anyone complain about a tradition?


If you think I'm overreacting and exaggerating about the symbolic power of naming, then perhaps you'll listen to a more trustworthy source: the men of Men's Health. They're quite candidly fixated on it. Their clarity is indisputable.

My name is part of who I am." --Anonymous respondent, via a SurveyMonkey poll

"Call it pride or ego, whatever. It's not happening." --Anonymous respondent, via a SurveyMonkey poll

"It sounds like she's trying to hang onto her "single person" identity and not identify with the fact that she's married now." --Anonymous respondent, via a SurveyMonkey poll

Translation: My name is part of who I am. To change it would be unthinkable. It would be like giving up my identity. My identity is too important to give up. It would be a sort of death. So here, women, YOU DO IT. His identity supersedes yours. And any desire to maintain your "'single person' identity"--your you-ness--is an insulting affront to the institution of marriage itself.

I hate when someone decides to change their name "cause that's what you do" rather than "i really wanted to take my husband's name" or "i like his name better" or really, any reason other than "shrug". But i've tried to behave myself and keep my unwanted opinions to myself on this issue. Except now i'm all riled up so people should stay away for a couple of weeks. Let me settle down.

Addendum: I quickly threw this post up and then thought of more things i wanted to say. I also added to the excerpt above.

THE WORST reason i've ever heard is "my husband would have been upset if i didn't change my name." THE. WORST. That there has to be some kind of red flag. That is a "Whoa! We need to discuss this." moment. You need to know why he'd be upset if you didn't give up the identity you've had all your life and see if it is miraculously not rooted in sexism. And if it is a subconscious, deep-seated, i-always-just-accepted-it-cause-that's-how-things-work kind of reason, is it something he'll acknowledge and try to expunge from his psyche? If the answer is "no", well...i guess that's a personal choice every woman has to make for herself. Down the road, as the years progress, will it just be your name that you're asked to give up or are there other expected "norms" you'll have to conform to?

By min | October 17, 2013, 3:57 PM | Liberal Outrage