Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Why do women change their names?

A seemingly purposely provocative article about why women shouldn't change their names to that of their new husbands and why any that do are idiots.

About two good points in amongst a whole load of crap n my opinion.

It did get me wondering why it is that women change their names, where it started and when, if I would want/expect my wife to change her name etc.

Just something worth discussing.


waynemus said...


If it was the opinion article in today's Age then I would agree about the nature of most of it. Seems some people need to demonise the oposition to advance their own point. Not all men, husbands, or possible husbands are sexist egocentrics with no concern for their lifelong companion. Guess love holds no value in this lady's idea of a relationship. So much for love being selfless and caring.

The argument was interesting. Some obvious reasons is the functionality the practice holds. Allows the couple to be identified together. Acknowldges they have taken on a new union when becoming married. Why it has to be a man is just due to tradition.

Also helps in deciding the surname of the children. Who can rightfully claim the children if it is a shared parentage? Would it just resort to the mother's name, or the father's name? Would it be a compound name? Would the grandchildren be a compound of a compound name? Would you drop of a name to form a new compound name? Which name would it be? Wouldn't it then be the same problem?

I guess it is just a matter of functionality. Are there any alternatives with no drawbacks?

Just a side note: Hindus don't have official surnames. The sons tale on the given name of the father as a last name. The wife does the same. Probably makes it even more confusing.

John M said...

One of my dad's brothers got married at about mid 40's and his new wife about similar age did take on our family name officially but still uses her maiden name in her Professional life as she has quite a status that goes with her name and so she pretty much goes by both.

Gareth LovesTha Pye said...

Still a fan of the other option: Choose a new surname, probably something meaningful to the relationship or individuals.

Anonymous said...

Hey Digger,
iwrote a massive comment and then re read it and it seemed off the topic... so you wont be reading it!
but i think the "issue" of changing names is personal and social norms and expectations shouldnt play a part... but alas they do...

I must admit I had no idea who they were refering to when talking about Jana Rawlinson but good on her for changing her name and using it in the Pubic Eye... In the Public Eye are people worried about losing their fame if they take a new name? Nicole Kidman is stil Kidman even when she was married to Crusie and to what;s he's face now....


Kyla said...

I really like the idea of taking a husband's name. When you're born you take the name of your father, and in my opinion, when you get married you choose to be a part of a new family and a surname is part of showing that solidarity (to your husband and possible children).

If a woman chooses to keep her old surname, or hyphonate or whatever, I don't think it's a bad thing, but I think it depends on the couple's motives for whatever option they decide on.

some girl said...

I would change my name not because I'm conservative, insecure, or stupid.

I really don't mind changing my name, actually the idea of it is kind of fun, but changing to the same last name of your partner would help, for me, to bring that feeling of oneness and connection when you're married.

But it is interesting about why women actually change their names... Why not the men?

Some people put their last names together when they get married which I suppose is alright, but then in the later generations you get these 50-word last names because people just keep hyphenating them together.

Anonymous said...

So I have an interesting wrench to throw in this discussion. An article I recently read criticized women for changing their name, yet simultaneously stated that now women have a choice. Whats wrong with choosing to take your husbands name? In my situation, I am in a same sex relationship. I am getting married soon and I have pondered the issue of name change for some time. My uber feminist side says "dont do it, its a slam to women's rights everywhere". However, my sappy romantic and functionalist side says that it would be easier for when we want to have kids. Gay couples have a hard enough time having their relationship recognized, nevermind when there are two different names. What happens when we have kids, and the kid has a different last name than me or my partner, will I (or she) be refused when attempting to pick up my child at day care or visitation at the hospital?
My choice is hard because I am attached to my name (ive had it for a while), but I have no attachment to my surname. My partner's last name is also more kid name friendly. I worry that my friends and family will think less of me for assuming my partner's name.
Either way, I dont think its wrong to change your name if thats what you want to do.