Thursday, February 18, 2010

If I decide to change my name, I am still calling myself a feminist

I am waging a war in my head about whether or not to change my name.  Rewind to a few months ago, when I was sure I was going to take P's last name as my own.  I was talking on the phone to one of my best friends and she said something like "since you are not changing your name...blah, blah, blah".  It definitely made me pause.
Why would she assume I was NOT changing my name?  Well, probably because I am what my conservative family describes as a "bleeding heart liberal".  (I take zero offense to that.) So then I started thinking, and that's what got me in trouble.  So here you go, the reason for keeping my current last name, and the reasons for taking my partners last name.

Reasons for keeping my last name:
-My last name is unique, I've never met anyone else with my last name, and a lot of my friends call me by my last name
-I have a bachelors degree, a masters degree, and other accomplishments I am pretty proud of, all under this name
-I really despise the statement that it can make, that I have to give up a part of who I am because I am becoming a wife, so now I need a new name?  I just don't buy that.

Reasons for taking my partner's last name:
-He is my family.  Seriously.  I have one hell of an eff'd up family and he has been my family for years
-This goes against what I said above (I told you I was conflicted), but I kind of LIKE the statement that it makes.  The statement that I am starting a new family with my husband and taking a new name to symbolize that
-I have no ties to my father, or anyone else with my last name (my mother has a different last name), in fact, I really don't like my father at all, so it would be liberating to give up his name
-IF we ever have children (we are undecided) I want us to all share a name
-I want to share the same last name with my partner, there is just something so special about that
-Trivial, but my current last name is HARD to spell, and my partner's last name is cool and simple

To me, these are all very valid reasons (except maybe that last one).  I don't judge anyone who decides either way because I firmly believe you have to decide what is right for you.  Now only if I could figure out what is right for me...


  1. i 100% agree. It's all about having the CHOICE to change or not to change your name. It's the *expectation* for women to change their names once married that gives me ooogie anti-feminist feelings.

  2. I understand your reasoning. One wedding I was in it was the groom's family tradition to mix names with the bride to come up with a new name for the family unit. So if their last names were Mayberry and Williams then the new last might be Willberry or something like that. I know most people don't go fot it, but it's just a thought.


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