What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, right? Sorry, Juliet, but I think it’s more complicated than that.
Your name can say so much about you — it can give hints to your ethnicity and culture. It can reveal family ties. Or, if you’ve chosen your own, it can say something about who you are. When it comes to marriage, a name has traditionally had a more troubling meaning.
Women have changed their last names from their father’s to their new husband’s — a tradition that used to symbolise the transfer of “property” from one man to another.
That property, of course, was the virgin bride. Many people will argue that it no longer has that implication, but for me, as a feminist, partaking in a tradition that is so rooted in the literal oppression of women is something that left an incredibly bad taste in my mouth.
I know I’m not the only feminist who feels this way. It’s why many women today choose to keep their name when they get married. Some people hyphenate. In some couples, the husband may even choose to take his wife’s name.
There’s also a lot of heteronormativity when it comes to this tradition — it makes decisions about names incredibly complicated for same-sex couples trying to decide what to do about their last names.
In our family, we went a different route. I had always sworn that I would never take my husband’s last name if I married a man, because patriarchy. (Post continues after gallery.)