Thursday, August 13, 2009

Now this is just depressing: 50% of Americans think women should take their husbands' last names

A study by the American Sociological Association found that about 70% of Americans believe that women should take their husband's last names when they get married, and 50% believe it should be a law.

Even more upsetting: the study's lead author, Laura Hamilton, said that when people were asked why women should change their last names, "they told us that women should lose their own identity when they marry and become a part of the man and his family."

I never even considered changing my name when I got married, and fortunately, Mike never gave me any subtle or overt hints to do so. When I suggested hyphenation, I never thought Mike would go for it. You should have seen my face when he announced, several years later, that he wanted to hyphenate! My personal opinion is that for marriage to be an equitable arrangement, either both spouses should change their names or neither of them should.

On the other hand, I'm also a live-and-let-live kind of person, and I have many feminist friends who did change their names when they got married. To each her own. I find it especially puzzling when a woman gets married and gives up a perfectly pleasant name to take on her husband's much-less-desirable name. (I'm sure we can all think of some examples of that.)

But I find it distressing that we appear to be going backward.

1 comment:

  1. "They told us that women should lose their own identity when they marry and become a part of the man and his family" is some messed up thinking. When we married I took my husband's name for a variety of reasons, including the fact that I wasn't attached to my maiden name (another story). But just because I took his name I did not lose my identity at all; I make sure to hold strong to it and make sure Beau knows he's as much from my family as he is from Shane's. As Shane says I'm Beach (my grandmother's family) through and through.

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