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Should A Woman Take Her Husband's Name?

Illustration for article titled Should A Woman Take Her Husbands Name?

Oh God, I find myself agreeing with ashram-friendly advice columnist Cary Tennis for the second time in under a month! Today, Cary deals with a woman who is afraid that taking her husband-to-be's last name would be anti-feminist. Cary spends over 1,000 words blathering on about male dominance and the circus and stripper names, but eventually comes to the conclusion that feminism is about choice, and it should be a woman's choice whether or not she takes her husband's name. Cary says that if he were to choose, he would keep his name, but of course a sensitive ponytail man would make the anti-patriarchy choice. As a writer, I'm always going to keep my maiden name as my professional byline, but I'd never subject possible future children to the last name Grose if I could help it. The schoolyard taunts are still ringing in my ears.

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Over at the over at the XX Factor, the coven is discussing Hillary's choice to drop the "Rodham" from her name and simplify to just "Clinton" for the 2008 presidential race. A CNN poll from last yearshows Americans preferred Clinton sans Rodham. Again, it's hard for me to cast judgment since I think this is fundamentally an issue of personal choice that has little or nothing to do with one's position as a feminist. But is Hillary a traitor to the cause?

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Should I Take My Husband's Name? [Salon]
The XX Factor [Slate]

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DISCUSSION

washionfore
washionfore

I'm not sure where to start with my thoughts here as I am a feminist and I CHOSE to take my husband's last name.

@Xylo: Consider the possibility that names have different meaning to each individual. In my case, my husband's name connects him to a cultural identity. A culture that I'm happy to share with him in the form of our last name. It says "we are of the same people, the same tribe" and my children share in that as well.

I think it's highly unlikely we're speaking about women who would say "aww, I'm worried my big, strong powerful husband will be mean to me if I question taking his last name." Sure, those women exist aren't most of us beyond that?

On some level I miss my old name (I did have it for quite a while!)but, for me, in this instance, taking on a shared name signaled my becoming a partner and parent.