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To Change or Not To Change

For me, there has been no question of whether or not I would change my name if I got married. I would definitely not change my name. There are a variety of reasons for this.

For one, I have a Korean name – most last names would look and sound ridiculous with my first name. Secondly, I believe it’s outdated and old-fashioned. Thirdly, I think it’s a waste of time – all the legal name changing and documents etc. Lastly but most importantly, I do not want to be merely “Mrs.” so and so; women should be their own person and keep the name that they were born with.

Emma Waverman, author of the blog, Embrace the Chaos (www.embracethechaos.ca, part of msn.ca) has written an interesting article regarding the subject –

http://www.embracethechaos.ca/2010/02/i-am-not-a-mrs.html

She believes that changing a person’s name is like changing his/her identity; therefore, a woman is losing her identity if she switches to her husband’s name after marriage. She also sights the “Lucy Stone League”, an organization that believes in “equal rights for women and men to create, retain, modify and keep their own names.” (Who knew such an organization existed?)

Emma’s post drew some strong reactions judging from the comments that were left by some readers. A lot of people still seem to believe in the old-fashioned way which was unsurprising but disappointing at the same time.

To change one’s name is like being marked by marriage and being reduced the “wife-of” so and so. It’s an outdated and unnecessary practice.

Marriage should be the union of two equals and men are never marked by being the “husband-of” by taking his wife’s name. There should not be different rules for women upon marriage.

“A wife should no more take her husband’s name than he should her’s. My name is my identity and must not be lost.”

Lucy Stone, American suffragette (1818-1893)

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image from http://www.cafepress.ca/lucystone

For more information on the Lucy Stone League, check out their website at www.lucystoneleague.org

 

7 Comments

  1. Ms. Carol Harrison says

    Emma, I just finised reading your blog on embracethechaos.ca and the strong reaction to name changing and I haven’t read anything amongst the naysayers, including the insecure men and the negative comments, that indicates just how LITTLE these people understand your opinion. While you may not consider yourself a feminist, your actions are what a feminist would probably do.
    I’ve known of many feminists, mostly American, who adopted their spouse’s names and to them, it was no big deal because not all feminists think alike and why should they?
    I remember Joe Clark, one of Canada’s brief Prime Ministers and his spouse Maureen McTeer (can’t remember her single name and the majority of Mr. Clark’s circle of advisors as well as his party, hated the idea of her NOT taking his name. You’d think she’d committed some kind of cardinal ‘sin’.
    Then there’s Hillary Rodham Clinton who kept HER single name while then Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas served two terms. She was harshly cricized for keeping her single name and combining it with his surname. Then, to please his constituents for his second term as Governor, she dropped Rodham and became Hillary Clinton and stayed that way while being the First Lady. If that’s politics American-style, it sucks. To be judged by advisors and political pundits for keeping one’s own single name, that absurd!
    I don’t care WHAT others think about you staying with Waverman…that’s your choice even though your children have their father’s name. If others don’t like it….that’s their problem. I find that anyone who doesn’t go along with social convention is often submitted to the third degree as if keeping one’s single name is against the law. Not in Quebec it isn’t. Good luck Ms. Waverman.

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  2. Ms. Carol Harrison says

    I don’t know why keeping one’s name or changing it, matters. Why does it matter SO MUCH to traditionalist who question someone NOT taking their spouse’s surname.

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    • saje4life says

      Hi Carol,

      Thanks for your comments. I will forward them onto Emma’s blog. I agree with you. I don’t understand why some people (especially men) feel that they have the right to tell a woman whether or not she should keep her name. I have nothing against women taking their husbands name but I think it’s a practice best not continued.

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      • Carol says

        Here’s how I feel about your last statement. There are women who were raised in a traditional “nuclear” family unit who grew up to be traditional in every sense of the word, including the language they heard, the way they dressed and how and what they played with. I don’t have a problem with that. MY problem is…when someone who DID grow up that way, doesn’t understand that I can think for myself and that being traditional and conforming to society “norms” so-called, doesn’t apply to me. Then, I get frustrated and basically say, “I’m married to the man, but not to his name.” They can’t seem to understand that.
        I also understand how YOU feel re: “…I think it’s a practice best no continued.” That’s no fair because most women in society, ARE tradtional and that’s ok….as long as they don’t look at me when I express socially unpopular opinion or personal belief that tradition is just that…tradition/custom. I get a look that translates to, you must be from outer space.
        Many women I know, relatives of relatives on my spouse’s side, don’t understand non-tradition.
        There’s a cousin of a cousin whose return address shows her as John and Jane Doe, yet she sends my spouse and I an ‘xmas’ card with his name on one line as mine underneath.
        There is this social thinking that if a couple is LIVING together, one’s name is one line, the other’s on the next line. This cousin addresses us as if we’re living together and not married.
        I just don’t want tradtionalist women who observe social custom to treat me like an anomaly or question me like they’ve never heard of someone keeping their family name. It’s familial and…socially ingrained and many don’t have the ability to see past that practice.

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