While the concept of taking your husband’s last name is ingrained in our culture and viewed almost as a right of passage, it wasn’t always customary.
In medieval England, surnames didn’t even exist. The citizenry was known only by their first name. But as the population grew, however, keeping track of who’s who became a bit more difficult, and the modern convention (relatively speaking) of using surnames as an identifier soon became the norm.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, and women take their husbands in sickness and in health—and they take their last name.
However, things even get more complicated with the emergence of same-sex marriages, the fact still remains that often one person in a married pair takes the last name of their partner in order to solidify that they are a family unit.
More details from AWM:
However, it is becoming more common in our modern society for both partners to keep their last names. Although there has been a trend among some progressive partners to create a new name that combines both partners’ last names like Fitzpatrick and McDaniel becoming FitzDaniel, this does not happen very often as it requires the additional work of both partners submitting official paperwork to change their name in the eyes of the law.
Women who decided to keep their original last names have many reasons for doing so. That’s why one person turned to Twitter to poll women from American society and figure out all the reasons that women don’t take their husband’s last name after marriage.
According to AWM, responses came through in droves as thousands of people began to share their unique reasons for deciding to keep their last names rather than change their names to match their partners.
The person tweeted, “I’d really like to hear the reasoning behind women who won’t take their husband’s last name.”
Model Chrissy Teigen, who is married to musician John Legend, wrote, “My husband didn’t even take his last name?”
Clearly, she has a point here. John Legend is her husband’s stage name not the name he was given at birth.
Another woman named Marty Jones wrote, “I had too much business, legal, and personal, in my maiden name to dissuade me from changing it. It never mattered. Perk: I have a credit card in my maiden name, and a credit card in my married name. It’s no big deal. You get one social security number. It stays with you.”
Another wrote, “Paperwork, and new social. And with new social, new ID, new driver’s license, new bank account info, new numbers to remember, new signature to practice, new way to introduce yourself, new blablabla. Skip all that. Keep what you got.”
Georgia Lewis wrote, “I’m a journalist and made my career on my name. Can’t be arsed with bureaucracy of changing my name. It’s a tradition that’s not for me. I don’t love my husband any less because I kept my name. Men don’t have to identify themselves by marital status so why should I?”
Another woman shared, “It would feel like losing a part of myself. Also why should I take his and he not take mine? Who created this tradition? Men did.”
Back in the day, when marriages were more of an alliance between families, hyphenation was common practice. If you don’t want to lose your last name or slight your spouse, try hyphenating your last name for a solution that offers equal representation.
Remember, there’s no (current) law in the U.S. that says you must change your name. So, keep it simple, skip the mountain of paperwork, and leave your last name as is. How’s that for easy?