I had tried using Twitter to start a conversation, which wasn’t exactly effective (refer to this post), so in an attempt to quell unemployed boredom, I decided to post a thought provoking question as my facebook status. It read:
QUESTION to young, female facebook friends: if you think you’ll someday get married (or even if you don’t, make it a hypothetical), do you think you’ll take your partner’s last name? why or why not? ready, gooo.
Let me preface by saying that, although I am in a serious, monogamous relationship, I am not engaged, or any where close to getting married. I do, however, often think about whether or not I would take my future husband’s last name, as I have always been really partial to my full name (since high school, my first and last name have pretty much been smooshed together to form one name), yet my strained relationship with my father makes me less reluctant to keep his name. Out of intrigue, I really wanted to know what other women my age (early 20s), thought about this topic.
Response was sort of overwhelming, resulting in 56 comments of people, male and female, voicing their opinions on the matter. Some women who are already married tried to express to us unmarried women the effects of becoming Mrs. (insert name here) and feeling a loss of identity and agency as a result. Some women, however, were excited to take their husband’s name, and thought that giving up a part of their old life and identity was romantic.
I have to say that I am more in line with the ideology of women who are bothered by being Mrs. (insert name here) and abandoning their identity pre-marriage. I view marriage as a union of two, independent people who want to provide each other with support, love, and companionship. As a result, I don’t think it’s romantic in the least to have to lose my identity to start a life with my partner. It’s problematic and best and offensive at worst.
What I learned from this conversation is that people will probably, unfairly and inaccurately assume that if I take my partner’s last name it is because I think it is romantic and traditional, which would really bother me, as those are the opposite of my opinions. I’m also not religious, at all, so I don’t even think that marriage is a viable option for me. I think I’d rather opt for a civil union, as I don’t buy into the whole; two souls become one soul by the power of god. No, thanks. That’s not for me.
It was awesome to read people’s opinions on this subject, and to try to figure out a solution that “jives with my philosophy,” as one of my friends put it. Obviously, this is a very personal subject and there are many different reasons as to why or why not you’d decide to change your name. For me, though, I can’t seem to figure out an answer that pairs my ideology and feelings. Good thing I have lots of time.