WHAT'S IN A NAME?
In a 2011 study, it showed that 72% of adults believe a woman should give up her maiden name when they get married. Half of those polled even thought that it should be a legal requirement and not a choice. What in the ever loving hell is that about? Up until the mid 70's, woman could not legally vote under their maiden names if they were married.
When you flip the genders, in which a man takes on his wife's name, that was a fucking unicorn of a situation. out of 877 heterosexual married men, less than 3% of them took their wife's name when they got married. I mean, just take note of all the weddings that you had to be dragged out to this wedding season and do a count on how many times the bride's name was the one that the couple decided to land on forever more?
Yeah, not so much the norm. Yet it hasn't always been this way. In Medieval England, if a man was marrying a woman of wealth and some esteem, then, well, you bet your ass that the more one who had the bigger name was the one that kept their name. I mean, is that really all that much better than we exchange gender as a factor to class warfare? But it is true, that throughout England and France in the 12th thru 15th century, it was very normal for upper-class families to take the name of their estates.
When you think about it, that Princess complex comes from somewhere. Could it be that deep down inside, that little girls want all that comes from being a well off Prince because it means that for once, they'll get to keep their name? Sure enough, just as the little Princesses want to meet their Prince, Men to dreamed of marrying a Princess for that instant status update.
So what's the excuse here in the states for completely ignoring that whole timeless status change? Well, it's pride that's fucking with them. It's sort of been the thing that if a man takes their bride's name, then they worry that they'll be seen as less of a man. And according to several studies, they'd be pretty accurate.
It was found that a woman keeping her last name or choosing to hyphenate change it to meet the groom's name completely changes the way others view their relationship. It increased the likelihood that others would see the man as less dominant, almost as the weaker one in the household. In fact, with anything but completely having the bride change her name, it was viewed as the man being weaker and his status went down in life in the eyes of others.
Partially because it is seen as one person giving up a piece of themselves. Something they carried through life as a marker of who they were for so long. Not to mention that since it's such a rare instance, if you choose to take the bride's last name or even go the hyphenated route, you're going to be faced with questions for the rest of your life when talking to people who remember what your stupid last name was before you got married.
Add in that it could be seen as a political statement about the patriarchy and all that jazz, it's really something that will make a statement regardless if you want it to or not. Though it should be mentioned that we are stuck in this cycle because we keep perpetuating it. Like I mentioned in the poll earlier, many thought it was a legal requirement or that it wasn't even an option when you get married to take on the bride's name instead of your own. That is how deeply engraved this mental thought is. It really just takes those brave enough to buck the conventional to see change happen.
I can tell you for myself, I don't give a flying fuck about my last name. I really don't. Even though it's rather unique and rare in the area I live, there is plenty of places in the world where my name will constantly live on in pages and pages of phone books. I don't see my value or legacy being passed down in my name alone. So I don't care. Being the feminist that I am, I have always stated that if my partner requires their name, something they built up through years of actually branding it in the form of getting higher education, publishing work or even just something they need to use like being a teacher, then I would instantly choose to end my time as having my last name. It's not even a question and the choice is beyond easy at that point. Shit, even if it wasn't some branding thing, I don't care. I think equality in being able to communicate and have the option in how the partnership comes together is far more important than the sum of its part's last name.
If the partnership has the thought to create a new name, that's fine. How else do you think different names were created? Land title ship? pfft. Anyhow, it is something that both partners can be invested in. I just have to question why we keep pushing this idea that a man's last name is the given one that they will be using from now on to describe the duo, not just the single. Not to mention it just screams of insecurity and "ownership", which I guess I could have gotten in to, but let's just realize that I have written a lot up here already.