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Quickie: Why I chose to change my name

22/05/2010

As a feminist, I used to say I wouldn’t change my name when I got married. Or if I did, it would be because I liked the way my husband’s name sounded, but I’d still hyphenate.
I still believe that a woman shouldn’t have to change her name when she gets married. Her name is her own, and taking another person’s name is like surrendering her identity.
When I finally did get married, I took my husband’s name for a different reason.
When my husband was in his twenties, he changed his own surname. He rejected his father’s name and changed his name to his maternal grandmother’s maiden name. He chose the name of the person in his family that he admired most. His new name was the name he wanted to pass on to his children.
When I married him, I wanted to form a family with him. That family, I thought, should have one name. I respected his choice, not just because it was his choice, but because it was a matrilineal link to a strong intelligent woman. My name is from my father, a patriarchal link that I would be losing, forging forward to start a new family, with our own name.
I didn’t lose myself, I didn’t change my identity, I adopted an identity as a member of my own family, rather than keeping the name bestowed upon me by my father’s father’s father etc. I am happy with my choice.

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2 Comments
  1. 24/06/2010 2:39 am

    I actually opted to take my wife’s name. That caused somewhat of a stir with the family. So in the end we compromised and both took a hyphenated combination. It is an interesting thing the sense of identity wrapped up in a name, it took me a while to get used to it and now, now it seems odd when I read my old name or see it written

  2. 23/07/2010 4:57 pm

    I took my husband’s name because he already had children from a first marriage. I feel strongly that everyone in my family unit should have the same name to show we are all together. I couldn’t ask him to change his name to something different to the children he already had, so his surname it is.

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