A friend posted this article on Facebook: Emma Watson’s Rebuttal to Hermione Granger Fan on Twitter Makes Us So Happy.
The article got me to thinking about the topic of changing or keeping your last name after marriage and the connotations of one’s decision. Emma Watson believes that Hermione Granger would have kept her last name, then the article lists examples of how Hermione was a feminist, all of which in my opinion, demonstrates a strong and confident person in general. Does that mean changing my last name makes me weak and subordinate? I think not. I had options and if I were to get married now, there would be more options I hadn’t known about back then (5 and 6) that I’ve seen people do:
- Keep my birthname
- Replace my last name with my husband’s last name
- Move my maiden name to my middle name and use my husband’s last name as my last name
- Change my last name by combining our last names with a hyphen: “Margate-Casido” or “Casido-Margate”
- We both change our last names to a hyphen combo
- Create a whole new last name like “Marsido”, “Casigate”, or one that hasn’t nothing to do with our current last names
I didn’t want to keep my birthname or simply change my last name because I wanted to get rid of my middle name for reasons I don’t care to explain. I didn’t like the idea of having a way longer last name with the hyphen combo. And I didn’t know about the last two options when I was getting married.
Ultimately, I decided on the third option and I would still choose it given the additional choices. I knew I wanted to have the same last name as my future children so I wasn’t only choosing a last name for myself. I knew my husband wanted our children to have his last name and I didn’t mind having his last name. In fact, he probably wouldn’t have been “the one” if I wasn’t at least willing to change my name to his. I’ve dated guys, and well, not dated guys, based on their first and last names (No hard-to-pronounce last names and absolutely no one that shared the first name of my dad, brother, and closest cousins. I’m weird like that.)
I suppose my decision makes me a traditionalist when it comes to naming conventions. My mother changed her name that way; so did my grandmother and my great grandmother and so on. More importantly, I liked easily establishing my lineage so I want the same for my future children. Since my middle name is my maiden name, my kids can distinguish that they came from my father’s family, along with their father’s family because of their last name, their father’s mother’s family with his middle name. They can then look into our parents’ middle names and so forth if they keep going up the generations.
There’s a stigma attached to no matter what decision women make about their name after marriage to a man: If you don’t change your name to take your husband’s last name, you’re not honoring him. If you do change your name, you’re being subordinate to your husband. If your husband changes his last name too, you’re a prude and he’s not a real man.
I changed my last name. If that doesn’t make me a feminist, then I certainly don’t care to be one (not that I had ever cared before). I certainly don’t believe it makes me weak or subordinate. I had analyzed my options and considered outside opinions, but it was my sole decision to make. Doesn’t that make me strong?
Don’t give into the stigma. Feel empowered that you made a decision regardless of what it is. What did you decide or are planning to do about your name after marriage and why?