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Should a Woman Change Her Name When She Marries? 70 Percent of Americans Think So

Another 50 percent believe it should be required by law.

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Names and naming matters. It is bigger than just an individual, personal choice. While I certainly respect the rights of people to make their own choices when it comes to their names, and while I can’t fault women who decide that keeping their own name is not a battle they want to fight, let’s not pretend like these choices exist in a vaccum, or like they don’t have a wider impact when it comes to normalizing sexist cultural practices.

I've been to a couple of weddings in the past few months, some where the bride changed her name and some where she didn’t. I'll admit, on a very basic level, that I felt a little gut-punched when the name-changing couples were announced as "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith." The woman was totally erased; she entered into what I would like to think of as a partnership, and instead she was just absorbed into her partner.

Jill Filipovic is a New York-based freelance writer and a law student at NYU. More of her writing is available online at her blog, Feministe.

 
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