Say my name, say my name, say my name

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Sierra Mcintosh '20, Reporter

Marriage is typically something most individuals believe will happen to them eventually in the future. But have we really considered the choice as to why we as a society decide to change the names we were given at birth to a completely new name? Up until the 1970’s, women were legally forced to take their husband’s last name because they didn’t have their own identity apart from their husbands. After this, women were allowed to keep their marital name if they chose to do so. About 20 percent of women now decide to keep their original last name, significantly less than women in the 1970’s and 80’s. The decrease in the process was caused due to women during that time period believing that not keeping their original last name would make them unequal to men, but this type of thinking changed therefore the statistics changed with opinions.

Women changing their last names after they get married has always been seen in society as a “traditional” and “a common process.” But why does this still have to be the case in the 21st century? We have women such as Angela Merkel who is the Chancellor of Germany, Geraldine Ferraro who was a Democratic politician, and Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Perhaps, as a society we should consider breaking with traditions of necessarily having a woman take on her husband’s last name, and have women keep their maiden names become more of a common trend.

“When I was married, I kept my maiden name because of my personal preference to do so and because in my family, it has always been a tradition for the women to keep their maiden names after they get married,” said Spanish teacher Ms. Saratisis.

Women throughout history have been expected to change their last names due to it being tradition, but as Saratisis stated above, women may have their own tradition of keeping their martial name and also might have a personal reason attached to it such as feeling more attached to her family by sharing her birth last name.

“I’m not married, but if I do end up getting married I would personally want to keep my last name because I like it and think that it sounds cool,” said math teacher Ms. Falardeau.

Just like how men obviously think that there last names are great, women also can share the same opinion and may not want to change their last name for this reason.

Thankfully, there are solutions for people who want to keep their birth last name but are also conflicted on completely  taking on a whole new last name.

Mrs. Boyce, an English teacher personally decided to take this option for quite a long time, but eventually when she had kids her thoughts on keeping both her birth last name and taking her husband’s last name had changed.

“Today, I still legally go as Parmenter-Boyce but I mostly go as just Boyce these days because for one students had difficulty pronouncing Parmenter, and my own kids had the last name Boyce,” she said. “Also, everyone calls me Mrs. Boyce.”

Now there are also those who don’t think much of a woman changing her last name to her husband’s when she gets married. “Traditionally, you’re supposed to take the husband’s last name and it honestly didn’t really bother me that I changed my last name after I got married,” said English teacher Mrs. Lezak.

In relationships, it can be seen as two people truly becoming a team when they share a last name according to this viewpoint.

Mr. Cooper, a science teacher whose wife changed her last name after they got married agrees with this opinion.“I think that we both should have the same last name so we could be a part of a team, but it shouldn’t necessarily be females that have to change their last names automatically,” he said. “If my wife wanted to keep her maiden name, I would have changed my last name to hers.”

But keeping this process of women (typically) traditionally taking on a man’s last name after she gets married shouldn’t exist in our day and age. Women grew up having the same last name, just like her husband and therefore she shouldn’t have to change it just to meet “tradition”. However, it is always the choice of the woman of whether or not to change her last name after marriage, the connection a woman has with her birth family will no doubt be lessened even a little bit due to this “subtle” change. Keeping her maiden name will reinforce a woman’s true individuality apart from her husband.

In the words of Lucy Stone, who was the first woman to keep her last name after marriage: “Lucy Stone, if you please.”