Keeping Your Name? Midwesterners Are Judging You

Illustration for article titled Keeping Your Name? Midwesterners Are Judging You

Want to keep your name when you get married? According to a bunch of young Midwesterners in a new study, that means you don't really love your husband.

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LiveScience reports that researchers noticed a lot of previous work on name-changing attitudes focused on East-Coasters — like, say, people whose marriages were announced in the New York Times. To see what other folks thought, they looked at surveys of about 250 students from a small Midwestern university, taken in 1990 and again in 2006. The 1990 students were pretty forgiving of crazy bluestockings who wanted to keep their own names: just 2.7% of them thought it meant the ladies were less committed to their marriages. But among students surveyed in 2006, that number jumped to 10.1%. The study authors noted that theirs was not a nationally representative sample, but it does show students at one particular college becoming more conservative over time: "This might just be reflecting this increased polarization we're seeing in American society, and it's coming across in terms of family and gender values."

The study also found something potentially instructive: women who actually planned on keeping their names didn't feel they were any less committed to marriage. So basically, the idea that keeping your name means you're not really in love is entirely an assumption made by outsiders. These kinds of assumptions are behind a lot of conservative stereotypes: that all gay men are predatory perverts, for instance, or that all women who get abortions are thoughtless, irresponsible sluts. And this study suggests that if judgy folks would just talk to the groups they're judging, they might learn something.

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Not Taking Hubby's Name? You May Be Judged Harshly [LiveScience]

Image via alexskopje/Shutterstock.com

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DISCUSSION

I wonder what they think about my partner...

Everyone seems to think him changing his name makes me a evil feminazi who had his balls in a vicegrip until he eventually relented to castration. The shit he gets from men is infuriating, and I constantly get the "wearing the pants" lecture from everyone I know. The thing is, it has nothing to do with me. I'm extremely fond of my name, it's a huge part of me. He despises his name, comes from his lowlife father, it's impossible to pronounce, and no English-speaker can seem to spell it. Furthermore he wants a coherent family name, so instead of being a asshole and just expecting me to sacrifice my name, he realizes it's his bizarre need, thus he's responsible.

My brother-in-law however is an immature brat who sees it as his god-given right to force his name on my sister. It's been two years of him complaining that she personally violated his rights by keeping her last name (it's a really cool name!). It's mine-boggling to me what kind of privileges it must take in order to feel like it's his right to be offended about her doing exactly the same thing he is. Even more frustrating, he's the number one offender of relentlessly mocking my partner for taking my name. I've tried calling him on it many times, but it just loops back to him "actually being the man in the relationship".

Excuse me while I return to facepalming.