Identity is all in the Name… really? I don’t think so.

A blog article by Bonniejean Alford (educator, activist, world citizen)

When I got married, I made the conscious choice to share a last name with my husband, in our case I took his name.  This shocked friends, as I have always been a bit of a feminist, always fighting for equality of the sexes.  The reasons were highly personal, but it was the correct choice for my marriage and my life.  In my artistic endeavors, I still use my maiden name and made it my middle name to ensure that part of my identity remained intact, or at least that was my intent.

Little did I know, that my identity would be tied to my husband no matter what I actually did with my name.  My biggest disgust comes when people call me Mrs and then his first name, completely ignoring that I have an identity at all, that I ever had an identity.

But I do, and I always have.

The reality is, marriage and the idea of Mrs stems from the antiquated idea that women are property of the men they are married to (or owned by as the indication represents).  In the old days, women were indeed considered property.  Women were subjects of their husbands, no more no less.  Today, thankfully, the world is different.

Or, so we are told.

While our proclamation of equality has changed, I don’t really think the foundation of our ideologies has actually changed.  This is evidenced by the umpteen times I have been addressed as merely the Mrs in my husband’s name: Mr and Mrs his name, not mine.  Yes, I believe we should be partners with a shared last name.  That is why I choose to make his last name mine (it was my wedding gift to him even).  But it should be my name and his name and then our shared last name, indicative of a partnership, rather than ownership.

Sadly, this is not how the world is representing equality.  Fact is they are discounting equality, as the entire point of equality is the fact that I as an equal woman have the right and privilege to choose what is the best choice for my partner and I.  Society does not practice what it preaches.

Fact is, I continue to be considered a subject of my husband by people of multiple generations.  And this isn’t limited to me.  I hear all the time about friends who face the same issue, especially in a relationship where the woman has achieved a title such as doctor.  There is an assumption that the man is the doctor not the woman.  Government agencies insist on always listing the man first. When I got married and added my husband to a bank account I had had for several years, they insisted on making him the primary account holder, even though it was and had always been my account (I left that bank by the way).  Further, as a practicing genealogist, I find it difficult and sad to see all the women who have had their identities erased in history, only to be named Mrs husband.

Our society has created a problem that will continue to condemn the practice of equality as a mere illusion.

We connect our identities and the identities of others to the names we use and are given.  When I am called solely by my husband’s name, I am basically equated to nothing except that which my husband represents, without regard to what I have contributed to the world.  When one’s identity is linked so closely to another person’s it becomes problematic at so many levels.  As a society we need to look at individuals as the unique beings they are and not as the connections they chose or are compelled to have bestowed upon them.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am happy to be in my marriage working on our partnership daily.  I am happy to be one unified unit along the path of life.  What I have a problem with is people applying their practices and ideals, often done simply out of societal habit and without thought, to everyone else.

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60 thoughts on “Identity is all in the Name… really? I don’t think so.

  1. I completely agree that the words spoken when the bride and groom walk out to be introduced at the reception for the first time they say, “ladies and gentlemen for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. (insert the man’s first and last name). The fact that the female has a brand new last name and then they do not even recognize her as having a first name at all, like above, simply as if now she is a piece of owned property. I realize that this is not the intent of this “tradition” however it does indirectly make the female seem dehumanized, almost as if “congratulations you are now just an extension of this man you no longer have your own identify as far as being addressed or called by your formal name goes.” It is sad that the world has mad so much progress for women’s rights but we have seemed to overlook this one. Why can’t it be, “for the first time, blank and blank (insert new last name)” at the very least. How has this gone so long without being addressed by someone? It is very bothersome.

    1. Traditions, for better or worse, can be hard to change or stray from especially one this long-running. I have to say it would be great to have at least the first name recognized, it’s a start in the right direction. I have to wonder how women put up with stuff like this, too.

    2. I have grown in a female dominated household where my mother holds most of the power and does a lot of the grunt work involved in having a family. She is very self-efficient and so I have been taught that I am never to let a man control my life. But I love the idea of tradition. My dad does hardly anything around the house and I thoroughly it is my mother’s fault. Don’t get me wrong, I am a staunch liberal but I think that there are some things we should not try to revolutionize. When we start trying to make women equal to men in the romantic sphere, we are totally disregarding any sense of chivalry that there ever was. I want to be won over by a man and I want him to work for my affection and respect me while doing it. Equality in the political sphere is great but we are helping undermine the respect men feel for us as romantic partners in the process. That includes taking his name and being addressed by his name.

  2. I always thought taking the husband’s last name shamed my father somehow. In my first marriage I kept my maiden name and hyphenated it. It made me feel good to know that I was honoring my father in some way since he passed on but in my second marriage, I learned some things along the way and I was okay with not holding on to my father’s name because I will always have him in my heart and in my memories and I embraced my husband and his name with open arms. Maybe this is why my 2nd marriage is working so well.

    1. This a great point. I feel as if a woman’s name should be her own brand. My husband and I have this argument all the time. I hate when society looks as if we are less than happy because I choose to keep my own legacy instead of his. After all if a powerful woman has established herself she should be able to keep her name.

  3. Yes, I know how it feels to be addressed by your husband’s first and last names and leaving your own names completely out. In Africa, and Nigeria in particular, it is actually a pride for women when they get married and start answering by their husbands names as it brings respect from the society and even among her friends and colleagues as the society begins to treat and address them with more respect. It is also a pride to the family of the woman, as no family wants their daughter to keep answering the family name up till the age of 40yrs.
    The fact that you are called by your husband’s first and last names the first time you are introduced after your marriage and even in your daily life long after the marriage ceremony does not mean that you are not recognized or that you are a property of the man but it is just the simplest and convenient way of addressing you and intention is more of being respectful and not degrading and this does not change the issue of gender equality.

  4. This article is very interesting. I never really thought about the meaning behind “Mrs.” to mean a husband owns his wife. I have always thought of it to identify a married woman from a single woman. However, it did always bother me when I see Mr. and Mrs. so and so and the woman’s name isn’t mentioned. I think maybe back in the old days, it was a privilege to be called by your husband’s name because women took care of the house while the men made a living for the family and whatever occupation the husband held, it would be like the wife is more the just a housewife. She is also the wife of a doctor, lawyer etc. But a lot of things have changed since then and women take on just as much responsibility as men. I feel that no matter how much the world changes, wives will always be identified this way to show that men are superior (supposedly) to women.

    1. I have never thought of it that way either. I think that it is simply just tradition and people do not look at it as a superior-inferior thing anymore– at least not in America. Women are still not completely equal to men but I do not think it has anything to do with the tradition of a woman taking a mans name. We are looking too far into it and making too big of a deal out of it. I say just let it be because the more we fuss, the more we make our own inequality.

  5. It is true that although we, as a society, say that men and women are created equal, we do not actually practice those beliefs. In alot of ways things have changed and women are allowed to do everything men are. But the fact that women have to be “allowed” in the first is the problem. Society has created these traditions, like a woman taking a man’s last name, and embedded them so deep in our roots, that changing them is nearly impossible. We say women are equal and it is like we think that just saying that phase makes it real, yet we keep these old traditions and stereotypes that we do not even realize are keeping women from ever being truly equal.

    1. We keep these traditions by choice and create new ones. The power of perception is great. If a woman feels that by taking a man’s name she somehow is losing her identity then maybe she should not marry. I always felt that it is the creation of a new identity of two people. Then hopefully more. We have three children making up a family of five, but we are one. One name, one family, and one future.

      1. For the most part I agree. I didn’t expect it to impact me the way it did. I believe that when you marry you create one family… but then part of the journey is the fact that both parties come into the new identity equally. Often times, that does not happen. Historically speaking, a woman was expected to give up her identity for the sake of the husband. She really was a subject of him. No more no less. Today it should be a newly created identity with components of all members.

      2. The impact is real and perhaps sometimes taking one step back allows you to take three forward. Will we ever be equal? If we do become equal would we need each other? I completely see your point. We have a come a long way from a subject role, I like to think. Perhaps I see equals more as being a king and queen than master slave. Sometimes the woman being the king and man the queen.

  6. I once too thought that the term “Mrs.” was simply to distinguish a single woman from a married woman. However, if the world is so equal now, why is it still just assumed that the woman is going to take the man’s name? Men would feel emasculated if this were asked of them which only leads me to agree with Christina, we talk a big talk but the world is truly not an equal place and we can say it all we want but that does not change the way things are. That is why there is a saying “actions speak louder than words”.

  7. While the most popular idea is to take the husband’s last name after the marriage, it is not the only choice. There are a couple of ways to go about representing the union. One is both use the husband’s family name, second both retain your birth names, third both of you use wife’s family name, fourth wife uses maiden name as middle name along with husband’s family name, and finally hyphenate your two names. The idea of taking your husband’s family name is antiquated in today’s society. In today’s society the family name should be the last name of the most successful individual of the both, however people chose the husband’s last name because is more traditional. My favorite idea is the way the Hispanic culture does it. The wife gains the husband’s last name but it is stipulated when they pronounce it that the last name she is using is her husband’s last name. Her kids will carry both parent’s last names. The Hispanic culture combines both family names to make a new last name that is unique and represents the new family equally. The choices are many and to be honest the best idea is to do nothing at all, so don’t think you are losing your identity when you get married, but, chose what you want because you can.

  8. I had absolutely no idea the Hispanic culture did things that way when it comes to marriage. I think that is a fantastic way to honor everyone equally and create a new family name for your new family yet still be true and honor the families you both have come from. I think that is the closest tradition I have seen or come across at my young age that actually recognizes not only both equal parties in the marriage but also the fact that the new family you are beginning by getting married also will have its own identity and I think it is fantastic that it is recognized in such a wonderful and unique way. We learn new things every day and thank you for this has been one of my favorite lessons in a long time.

  9. It is very interesting to see when the point is view in the article is more in depth. Even when individuals do lineage they trace back through the fathers surname as if the mother lineage is not important. Women have been second bested in many cultures. Biblical teachings have suggested women were created to aide or help man. No identity has been solidified for women in history. Women are forced to make a choice between uplifting yourself and if one does then she is belittling her partner. If a women asserts her identity, she emasculates a man. How do we share equal level identity in this society?

    1. I completely agree with what you have said. throughout history it’s always seemed that the women lineage does not matter by only being addressed as Mrs and your husband’s last name. We should live in a society where if the wife does not want to take the husband’s name it’s completely fine and should not have a negative look.

  10. I definitely agree to this. Even though I can’t relate at all I still agree that today people are referring that the men are always in charge. I saw this commercial for ITT Tech for Automotive and there was a girl in the background working but the guy speaking refereed to, “for all you men”, saying that this job is for men only when there’s a girl in the background. A man’s job is every job. We as woman don’t get credit to what we should get and our society is based that men are always the top of societies list.

    1. It’s a crazy thought that men and women are qualified for different types of jobs. After all, we’re all human beings here capable of the same things with enough drive. I have to say that there is a flip side, sometimes there’s jobs we associate with women like secretary and stay-at-home-parent that can(though I don’t claim it to be 100% of the time) get a stigma of “that’s a job for a woman, not a man”. I feel this strongly because I am a man but definitely NOT qualified for many masculine jobs. I feel like people generalize gender roles and assume men are always this and women are always that when clearly it is not that simple.

    2. I believe there are such things as man jobs out there. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m a mere 5″2′ and grunt work is not my thing. If a woman wants to do that, more power to you. But I do not want a man to expect me to do any of that just be cause we are supposed to be “equal” Being equal does not mean being equal in the same sphere, necessarily. I might be better at picking out make-up and painting my nails than a man is but it does not mean that I am suddenly superior than him. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Men and women both.

  11. It’s true, we are forced to make a choice between our identity and our happiness with our life partner. It occurs to me that this also applies to jobs and how much income you bring in or how well respected your occupation is. The more successful a woman is, the more threatened the man feels and this is almost an impossible inner battle to level out because one will always feel as if they are being out done or doing the out doing to their partner. I for one know its very difficult for my fiancé even though he is extremely successful as a federal agent (and one may view that career as top notch) he still has a hard time that I am book smart and am going to become a nuclear engineer. I will make almost as much money as him after he caps out but I will not have a limit like he does so maybe that is where the insecurity comes from along with the fact he has one of the most masculine jobs out there but yet still feels threatened that his future wife is much more book smart than he is.

  12. I never really thought about it the way it was explained in the article but I think it makes a good point. Our society has come far with women becoming more equal, but there are traditions in our society that keep women from being equal with the men. I think that women should take the man’s last name, but I don’t think it should take over her identity as a person. There are traditions that have been in our society for so long and they just become something people do now with out thinking how it will effect them. I don’t think society will ever view women fully as equal as men because of how long it has been a part of our society.

    1. I agree that women should take the man’s last name and I agree that it should not take over her identity but I don’t think it contributes to gender equality at all. It is her name, not who she is as a person. If she can take her husband’s name and show that she is a capable and strong women, that is all the proof she needs for herself to think if she is equal or not. It is a marriage by marriage basis and the wife’s decision whether she chooses to exercise equality.

  13. I think it is funny how they say the men are in charge. I feel that girls are always the ones in charge. I feel that they have the power in a relationship. I do not know why the have power, they just do. I think that the last name is just tradition. I do not think that many people care if they get their husband last name or not. I do not think it really defines who you are. It just says who you are married to. when I get married and she wants me to use her name. I would say sure. I just hope it sounds funny so that way when people say my name, I can get a good laugh.

  14. To be honest I am not exactly sure how I feel about this. I do believe that a marriage is a bonding between two people not just one. There for the name should be shared. Well at least I would want it to be shared. I personally would want my husband’s name. That does not mean that I would not want my name to be a part of it. My mom has her maiden last name, as her middle name so she has both parts of her name included. I think it is important to obtain your identity and not fall into the dark. I think there is a way to have the best of both worlds. I would keep my maiden name as my middle name like my mom and then take my new last name. when it comes to work I could go either way. I would want my position at work to stand as something I have achieved under my own name, but I would still want to have his name be a part of my life. People, often like to keep their bank accounts separate because they don’t want complications if their is a divorce, I could go either way with this as well. I would want to keep my account with his because what ever is mine is his. I would hope that my marriage would work out in a way where as to I would not have to deal with such a situation over all I do think identity is important, and would still want to keep my name as a part of it.

  15. When it comes to my view on this subject, I have always put very little care on the choice of the last name. I have personally actually wanted to take my spouse’s last name despite the male oriented last name for I assume that it will be less complicated than Kropornicki. When it came to my last name over the years, I asked my mother. She has had the problem of people being crazed about the strangeness or proper pronunciation of it and not of its origin, but I can assume that they assumed it was patriarchal. What I wonder when it comes to the issue of this male dominated environment, is how social expectations will change upon the growth of the legalization of gay marriage. This oncoming is making the way for unfounded regulation or thoughts when it comes to power and formal rules of marriage and gender. The increased equality in our society itself I feel does a great job of pushing equality further. It makes us question and accept these new norms. Later these changed views will hopefully spread to other areas such as the patriarchy of America. I personally give hope to a tide of change for small injustices such as this for every change makes a difference with our attitude towards everything else.

  16. It’s an odd idea, one that has plagued mankind for centuries: the objectification of women. Now, it may not be that bad but as listed in the article it’s still really bad. When my grandfather was still alive and kicking, he received money from social security. My grandmother did and still does, but collected less money and when my grandfather died (rest his soul) my grandmother was forced to give up her check and take his. Also, my grandfather was a big part of the community and indeed almost the whole town came to his funeral, and whenever he signed a birthday card or similar documents everyone rejoiced when most of the work involved in his endeavors were more or less done by my grandmother, who complains a little nowadays but it is astounding how women put up with this kind of treatment for so long.

  17. I was with my dad getting the key to the room while my mom went with my two sisters to get a trolley for our luggage. “Okay, Mr. Lestina here’s your room key. And have a great conference! You’re all everyone’s talking about.” Uh-oh. Yep, my mom had just walked up next to us and had heard it. My mother was the one who was speaking at the conference in that Florida hotel. She was the one that everyone was talking about. But, I swear nearly every time we go as a family to watch her speak and my dad checks in to the hotel, they always assume that he’s the one speaking. My mom has no problem with people in her field knowing who she is and what she does, but other people assume that it’s my dad who is the person people talk about. She’s never talked about how taking his last name made an impact on her because she doesn’t let it affect her. Actually, she seems to enjoy correcting people.

  18. That is the problem in today’s society. People often forget that other people still have their own culture or customs that they follow, so they are quick to judge others if it seems out of the ordinary to them. This perpetuating problem is even more common now with the excessive media and TV shows that portray a family or an individual in a certain, making people believe that this is now a socially acceptable way of life. If there is one show that people should watch instead of the Kardashians, I would suggest the Duggar family. The Duggars practice their customs, which really deviates from the norm that most people see from other reality TV shows. A name is a very strong impact on a woman, as that really does wipe out her old identity. I am a supporter of women who hyphenate their maiden name with their marital name. I see nothing wrong with that, and if someone does, I’m sorry, but that is somewhat sexist in my eyes.

  19. I disagree with this article because the author’s misunderstanding of marriage. Marriage is defined as a union of man and a woman. In the simple form two joined into one. You also have a choice when it comes to choosing a last name. Yes people sometimes misuse or offend you but you should know better, humor helps.

    1. Historically, yes marriage had been between a man and woman. But that has NOTHING to do with the social roles of males and females, women and men. What I am speaking to is the ideology that women are “of their husband” which is the historical purpose behind a woman taking the man’s name. Our world is not the same as it once was and we need to change with the times.

  20. I completely agree with this article. Since I was young, my mother and father have taught me to have my own identity and be exactly who I want to be. I like who I am and I don’t understand how changing a last name can make a marriage any stronger. If it means that much to man to have the same last name as his wife then why can’t he change his name? Women always having to take the man’s last name is a way of making sure that women stay in the place that men think they should be. I am my own person and I think it should be more socially acceptable for women to be able to keep their own last name when they marry.

  21. I also agree and think of myself as not a feminist exactly but having those ideas. However, I’m going to go a different direction and look at what I’m guilty of. In the same sort of way I look at this and think what If my boyfriend were to take my name, would I like that? Truthfully, no. I’d do it for a point but I like my man to be masculine. At least with certain things. I depend on him to do certain things around the house and work on the car. While I’m not opposed to learn I know I am guilty of classifying people too. I’m the type of person to call a stranger out not using MY name , it’s the same as looking at chivalry, it’s dead but if a man does open the door is it because he thinks I’m incapable. Probably not but it’s a gender identity.

  22. I find this surname article interesting because it is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation in this country and now many people have an issue with it. Both of my parents came from countries where there surname or last name was given by their father’s name. My mother was Nora binti Bahar. Which means Nora daughter of “father’s name”. Also my father’s last name is my grandfather’s first name. This way the family lineage was passed down and there was no issue whose name to take after marriage. I do feel the American tradition is to simplify families. When you have children it is nice to be able to share your last name and identify your family as the “Millers”. It brings a sense of pride to belong to a particular family.

  23. I see where you’re coming from. I think it has to do with the way we are raised as kids and that the change you would like to see has not caught its footing yet. I remember asking my dad a question about my him and my mom sharing the same name and what a maiden name was. He tried explaining that that was just something that happens when people get married. Now that I am older, I see how it can be an issue for many people, as they have been called something else their whole life until the changes made after marriage. I think this kind of issue has to phase itself out over generations though. Forcing people to rapidly change such ideals usually does not end well. It must be a gradual change in personal choice over time.

  24. I totally agree with this, that we are not just our names but something more than that we are creative and smart and so many more things. We should not be identified by our names but by who we are and what we Continent in our self’s. What we can share to the world that’s what we should be identified by that’s what matters what kind of person you are.

  25. I think that you make an excellent point with this article. I had never really thought about what this tradition really meant. In fact, not having been to many weddings myself, when I attended one at the age of 10, I was caught off guard by this. I was confused by the announcement of the new couple as Mr and Mrs (His first name) (His last name). As a 10 year old boy, I didn’t understand what happened to her name. And it is very difficult to end a tradition like this, because people just write it off as tradition. I know that I certainly have in the past. As much as I dislike Hyphenated names (which I do, I don’t want to have to double the length of my name, too much writing) I think that this tradition has got to go. If/when I ever get married, I will make sure that my future partner gets a first name whenever she is announced. But I still hate hyphenated names, I’ll take her name before I hyphenate. Although I do like what you did with your name, with the middle name. That is a creative and elegant way to retain you identity.

  26. I find the idea of hyphenated names to be kind of ridiculous. Who’s name does a potential child take, do they get the hyphen as well? If their name is already hyphenated, what happens if they get married and hyphenate again. Is each generation going to have a longer and longer last name until everyone has a name that reads like a ridiculous German compound word? It is interesting how people treat names and make such a big deal about them (even me). My parents are divorced, but my mother kept my father’s name, because she wanted to have the same last name as me. Now that I am older, and have begun to move out into the world as my own independent person, she has begun the process of returning to using her maiden name. I don’t think names are such a big deal really, I don’t need them to establish connection to my family or to reinforce my identity. While I do believe that people deserve to have their own name (they shouldn’t lose their first name at marriage), I think it is just to much of a complication to extend my name and add a hyphen. I’ll take my wife’s last name before I do that, I have no problem with that.

  27. I completely agree with your view on marriage and how traditional ideologies have proven to take over the minds of most Americans when considering the aspect of marriage. Instead of viewing each partner as a separate entity, most people seem to lump them as one, the wife always being overshadowed by the husband. While marriages purpose is to unify a couple, it should not make one person feel inferior to the other. Traditional ideas of marriage stick to the idea of the man being the provider, and more successful partner, while the women subdues to his success and maintains their home. Not to mention, traditional views deem marriage to be only fit for a man and a women, and here we are in 2015, making same sex marriage legal and accepted, for the most part. The times are changing, and the ideas of “tradition” should change as society does, adapting to the new ideas and normalcies being presented.

  28. As a man, I do not look at women being any less than a man. I believe that women are what keep the men going because without them, our life would be boring. They are the ones who take action and make things happen and that is the beauty of them, I agree with your view on marriages because it is something a couple should share together and be able to praise. This perpetuating problem is even more common now with the excessive media and TV shows that portray a family or an individual in a certain, making people believe that this is now a socially acceptable way of life. Women today are being valued more and cherished because they have the same opportunities as men do and it is something to be proud of. They will eventually surpass men and be considered the Alpha dog. The things they can do unlike a man is something very special.

  29. I can agree; I have always thought it was odd and degrading when hearing one refer to a woman as Mrs. followed by the husband’s entire name. It not only symbolically erases a woman of her identity, but like said in the article, is a form of ownership. I understand if many women decide to take their husband’s name, after all, people like to stick to traditions and it can be convenient for the couple. But even so, I think it is important for society to understand that this tradition stemmed from complete inequality between the sexes. Ultimately, I feel like people need to realize that not everyone conforms to this tradition anymore, and that whichever name one takes or does not take is ultimately the choice of the individual, and should therefore be respected. Also, society does seem to be in need of practicing what they preach. Many people voice what is typically accepted by today’s society, but don’t really take into account the meaning of those words or beliefs by the looks of their actions and behaviors. Judging from this, and from the apparent lack of analytical thinking presented in certain attitudes, I feel like many people see some social mindsets as trends rather than actual beliefs, which undermines its reality and seriousness.

  30. I find this article interesting because it’s been tradition that has been passing to generations and generations. Both of my parents come from a country where the women has to change her last name after she’s married. She’ll be recognized by her husband’s name not her father’s. But my mother did not take my dad’s last name. She kept my grandfather’s last name. In America, it’s different and I think it’s a good thing. When two of my elder brother’s got married, my sister in Laws did not take my brother’s last name. Also, I think that if a women chooses her husband’s last name, but that does not mean she does not have an identity of her own self. As time changes people follow less tradition, but there is not anything bad to follow the tradition.

  31. I believe things are being taken a little bit to serious. When you get married, you become each others prize possession, You both claim each other and you want the world to know it. If someone calls you, Mrs. (Your Husband’s name), it shouldn’t be taken offensive but with pride. You guys are a team.

  32. This article intrigued me, however I certainly agree with it. After marriage, a woman shouldn’t have her identity changed or disregarded in the slightest bit. When I get married, I want to keep my last name within my full name. It is a part of who I am and my identity, therefore I think it would be best to keep it. However this is my opinion about it, which most definitely doesn’t mean it’s correct. Everyone is different. Some women may say that when they get married, they’d want to take their husband’s last name because they are ‘one’ or a ‘team.’ I don’t see it this way. The way I see it is that I wouldn’t like to be treated as if my identity never existed and my husband’s identity overpowered mine. I feel like men have always shadowed women in terms of identity. For example, the story shared in this article about the bank account. I would be very offended if the people of the bank insisted on having my husband as the primary account holder when I’ve had that bank account for several years. Is it because he is a man? If that’s the case, then I would be even more offended. Overall, I agree with this article and I am hoping for change in this world regarding identity and gender roles.

  33. It seems that no matter how far forward we move there is still so much ground to be covered. The worst part of it is, I don’t think many realize it. It’s almost just become a tradition in our society. I don’t think after so long fighting that women should be looked at as inferior to men. No one should be attached to another like they are a slave. Everyone should be recognized as their own individual person, unless they desire otherwise. I would like to hope that at least the majority of people seek independence and desire to live their own life.

  34. I learned a lot by reading this article. I never thought about it this way. I have thought about the day I get marry to my significant other and the things I think about is that his last name starts with the same letter as mine, a V. I just don’t like this idea because I have always been the last one in attendance and many things because of my last name, which sucks at times! However, after reading this article I think of my last name changing very definitely. If I was in your shoes, which I will most likely be when I am get marry since that didn’t change my thoughts about it in that manner. I know I will get aggravated by people not acknowledging my full name since I also plan to keep my own, so I would have both. Before getting marry one makes their own persona that we most likely as proud of and wouldn’t want it to disappear. Therefore, acknowledging both would be nice. Regarding you closing your account, I can’t believe that happened to you. I work at a bank and that shouldn’t have been the way they handled your account. Men and women have to be treated equally. People should realize that the times where men were thought to be “superior” to women are over and shouldn’t be close-minded about the idea that women are just as capable as men. One should not be identified by a name.

  35. I completely agree with everything that was said in this article. I think that women do not get enough credit for their accomplishments when compared to men. Gender roles have changed over time but our society still gives men a higher stand point than women. They are put on “pedestals” for doing the same things that women can do; women don’t get the same acknowledgement.

  36. Before reading this article, I would never have thought of taking your significant other’s name after marriage in this light. I find this to be an interesting perspective on the issue at hand. Although, I can totally and completely understand your point of view on this matter, I don’t personally agree. I feel that taking your spouse’s last name should symbolize that you are in a union with said person and I don’t feel that just because it is typically the man’s last name, that it devalues you as a person in any way. I don’t necessarily feel as though once you take your partner’s name you are any less yourself in any sense. Maybe I feel that it’s okay just because this is the norm in my eyes, but I don’t feel that it’s a large issue overall. Although, as I’ve stated before, I can understand why you feel that way, I just don’t personally relate to that feeling I suppose.

  37. This article gave me a new perspective on the identity of others, my future self, and the way society views them after marriage. I have always thought that when speaking of a married couple that referring to them as Mr. and Mrs. the husband’s name was the normal, politically correct thing to do and I imagined myself being included in this group when the time comes. After reading this article, however, my eyes have been opened to the fact that a woman should not have to give up her own identity to follow her husband’s name and please society. I feel as though she should be able to proudly introduce herself with her name without the stigma of disrespect to her relationship. I do believe that by doing this, after taking your husband’s last name, does not show any hard feelings towards him or your relationship, I feel that it is just a better way to show people what all your relationship has to bring to the table.

  38. I’ve got to say, I am not in any way shocked by what you have encountered when you took your husband’s last name. You’re right; our society does equate our identities to our spouses and, if we so choose to take their name, it’s like we’ve totally lost our whole self and become nothing more than an extension of their name. At the same time, I feel that women who chose not to take their husbands name are often looked down upon because it may be seen as being disrespectful to their spouse, as if they’re not totally devoting themselves to them. They might even be seen as being unfaithful and this, to me, is totally ridiculous.

    One thing you said really resonated with me:

    “Our society has created a problem that will continue to condemn the practice of equality as a mere illusion.”

    I couldn’t agree more; we’ve come so far as to renounce the age-old stigma that women are a man’s property and have grown so much as a society, most recently (and a HUGE step forward as a society, if you ask me) with the legalization of gay marriage. You’d think with reaching such a pivotal milestone we’d truly reflect this acceptance and equality all across the board. But, alas, this is not the case. Men are still constantly and consistently seen as being superior to women and are generally more well-respected in society. Take, for example, the current hot button issue of unequal wages between men and women in the workplace. I honestly cannot believe this is even an issue in our modern society.

    It seems as if no matter what we say about how we’ve grown to be no longer be mutually exclusive to men and how feminism is on the rise, it’s clear we still have a long ways to go. The notions mean well, but our actions don’t follow up; it is, truly “…a mere illusion.”

    Two steps forward and three steps back.

  39. In today’s world, I think women are seen as property, but aren’t told they’re property. You mentioned that the world had not changed, and that’s true.
    As time as gone on, women have found their voices and spoken up for what they believe in and how they should be treated, but that does not mean men have been listening. Many men today still believe that women are a right to them.
    That being said, with regard to marriage and last names, it’s often assumed that the woman would take the man’s last name, mostly by the man. My mother got re-married four years ago, and kept her maiden name for quite some time before switching everything. While this didn’t upset my step-father, I could imagine it upsetting others. It’s all a matter of what they were taught about women.

  40. This was really eye-opening to me; I never have really thought about it like that before. I agree as well as disagree. For disagreement, I do not believe that in today’s American society women are seen as a man’s property. Women are what they make it. I see the idea though, that taking the man’s last name, in a way, gives the man more power in the relationship. This reminds me of how my cousin had issues with her last name and birth certificate because her parents were not married, and she got her father’s last name. It may be a completely different story, but in my opinion the child should always have the woman’s last name unless otherwise noted.

    1. Sadly, the world still is very patriarchal. Take for instance, if a married woman wants to change her name back to het maiden name she not only needs a court order but her husband can challenge it – even if they are going through a divorce. Even in the divorce process, he can challenge it. The same privilege is not given to a woman whose husband wants to change their name. On joint legal documents, the man’s name is always listed first. Same with many joint financial accounts. I wish we lived in the “equal” world so many people proclaim it to be in relation to gender dynamics. But reality is women are still valued as less than men and it goes far beyond he name factor.

  41. The world tires to tell women what an ideal marriage is like. Why don’t the men have the option of altering all those things in their lives? Why do only women have to change all those little things? Once you do alter all these little things, you basically hand your identity over to your husband in the eyes of society. If you don’t do it, while you may hear gasps in the crowd others may appreciate how you chose to keep your maiden name even after getting married. It is known to be more traditional to change your last name to your husbands’, and keeping it makes you a feminist, but does it really? While some may decide to keep it their last name for various reasons be it in the name of feminism, liking their last name better than their spouse or just pure laziness. Some may decide to change it to be more traditional, under family pressure, to avoid criticism, or just because it gives them more of a couple feel that way. Whatever floats your boat.

  42. This article was very well put it opened my eyes to things and ideals that I did not think about all the time and on a daily basis. I feel that the last name for a couple’s marriage/ partnership is and should be something that is discussed between the two parties before the unification of the couple takes place. In some cases you could have a man or a woman who in some cases is the last of their bloodline and would like it to continue because being the last of your name is hard and put a lot of pressure on a person to marry procreate and continue on that family name. But I do not feel a women should be addressed by the name of their husband because it can cause a women to lose the values morals that we as a society have been trying to instill in women and to open the world to the possibility that a women can and should be able to strive for the same greatness and potential as any man in this world given she wants it bad enough and that goes for anyone who is working hard to show that they matter and should matter.

  43. I have to say I have never really seen an issue with the women taking the husband’s last name instead of just keeping her original last name probably because i grew up in a household saying that was the way of marriage. My parents would say be careful who you date that could be your new last name. Now I see the women does have the choice to keep her original last name and not have to take the husband’s last name if she doesn’t want too. However, I feel I would still be the same person if I took my future husband’s last name.

  44. I have not really thought about it as “ownership” or the woman is under the man since I always believed that it was a way to starting a new life; which it is, but with a partner and his last name. In my knowledge, using the husband’s last name was more of a honor than a sacrifice. I guess if you are an independent woman, you would take it in as it’s all him there’s no me in this paper; In marriage anyways you are suppose to be equal to one another, you own him, he owns you. If you want to be independent, well the best way to be independent is by being independent. In marriage it’s all about, acceptance, trust, love, communication, and money. But if you are missing one, it will always fail. Changing your last name shouldn’t bother you, you should be proud of it instead.

  45. I have never really heard the idea of a shared last name as an idea of ownership. With that being said in a marriage it is acceptable for the couple to take on the women’s last name. I do agree with the societal expectation to receive the man’s last name but however in most cases in my experience. Not many of the people I have interacted with really have a problem with this aspect of marriage. A marriage is an intimate agreement and relationship between to individuals to make a team, with that being said all decision should be made together, including the choice of a last name.

  46. That’s actually something I’ve never thought of before. How last name is related to identity. This could be an example of someone not really thinking or realizing that your maiden name is taken as your middle name. I can easily understand the frustration of your issue and I support that. It’s personally something that I will further think about when calling someone by their name. Identity with names in my opinion is a somewhat tricky topic. Even the littlest things such as nicknames can offend someone. For example someone that likes to be called Jake instead of Jacob, or even my name, my name is Alec and people by mistake always call me “alex” for whatever reason that I can’t figure out, but it offends me and it’s not something that people think of right away.

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