When you get engaged, one of the first questions you hear (after “have you set a date”) from a lot of people is “are you taking his name?”
It’s a question previous generations didn’t give much thought to…the answer was always yes. That’s what was done, and it wasn’t questioned.
I’ve watched lots and lots of friends go through this process. I know some people who kept their names. I know others who hyphenated, or used their maiden name as a middle name. I know some people who agonized over the decision and ended up taking their husband’s name. And I know others who were adamantly against changing their name, and yet when the wedding came around, they did.
My answer? It is and always has been yes.
I don’t have a problem with anyone choosing not to, or hyphenating, or whatever else they decide to do…like so many other decisions women have to make, particularly those involving marriage and children, these are personal decisions that become very, very public. And public decisions mean that people have no problem offering their opinion on the matter. Not too long ago, I read an article on Feministing that made me feel shame for wanting to take my future husband’s name. Shame.
Yes, I know that it’s not very progressive of me. I know that it’s based on a patriarchal system that treated women as property (and that there are people in this world who still do). I’ve thought about that, and I’ve weighed it out, and I’ve decided that I don’t care. I want it. I want to share his name…I want it to be our name.
At this point in my life, I’m fairly secure in my identity. My name doesn’t change who I am. I don’t have a solidly established career that would suffer from my changing my name.
And besides–I hit the jackpot in the name department. Rand’s last name is gorgeous.
One thing that does bug me, that I still see happening enough to have complained about it in the past, is when a woman essentially loses her first name as a result of getting married, being referred to as “Mrs. Brad Pitt” (or whatever). Even worse…back in my reporter days, when I had to transcribe birth announcements, I would see people being referred to as Mrs. John Smith (the former Jane Doe).
Gah. I have always hated that wording…as if that person no longer exists. But I digress.
At any rate, next July, I will jump through the necessary hoops to become Erin Bellavia…but that doesn’t mean Erin Nappe has ceased to be. I’ll just have a different name. And I think I’ll smell every bit as sweet.