Surnames

While I should be sleeping as I plan to take one of my exams tomorrow, my mind is whirring because I rather stupidly decided to watch a few YouTube videos. What that led to was my watching a video on last names and how there’s this debate on if women should change their last names, at least in cultures that have women do that as a norm. Now, from when I was little, I never really thought about taking anyone else’s name. Whenever I’d have my little five or seven year old plans there was always a hyphen or, if I was feeling adventurous, my pretend-husband had my last name instead because why not? To this day I don’t know why I thought that way, I just know I did. I liked my name, my initials with how my middle and last name ones are the same. I liked it and didn’t plan to change it or, if I did, I would have a hyphen.

Now that I’m older, I’ve more or less come to the decision I will keep my name. Not because of what you might think, even. So, if the thought that I’d keep mine solely for the purpose of equality and all, it’s actually not. Partly it’s because my name is my identity, it connects me to the family that I love dearly. Partly because I like my name as is, especially with the ‘M.M.’ for my initials. And then a large chunk because I plan to become settled and have my career, where I will be ‘Dr. My Name’ before I marry. Granted things may happen before then, but even so… All my dreams are Dr. My Name, not Dr. Someone Else’s Name. Not to mention the paperwork. That sounds like too much work. It might be streamlined in this particular case, but still. My mail would have to be changed, and all my legal documents. I don’t want to become a new person in the eyes of the law; I want to stay me, with all my flaws. I do realize certain legal things may be more difficult because of my theoretical situation, but I’d rather be happy with my born-with name than changing to some other name I only knew for however many years.

Of course one of the questions in places such as the U.S. when a woman does not change, or hyphenates, their name is: what will your kids be called if you plan any? I’d like to have children, so this question does actually apply to me. In my happy scenario where I have a guy who doesn’t give a damn about my keeping my name, I see hyphenation for my theoretical children. The reasoning with that is simply because they are my kids and his, not one or the other, and it will keep a bit of unity.

For others they may choose else for some reason, but I think the whole name thing is generally a personal choice. Some are attached to their names, such as myself, others not so much. Some guys may want their wife’s last name. If a woman has a high-profile career, business cards, and else, then…it’s a lot of work to change your name. Authors, celebrities (you don’t see them changing their names that often), doctors, people with doctorates, and so on. It’s more hassle than it’s worth to simple go with what is seen as acceptable. With naming your children, the same rule applies: it’s your own choice. Yes, there are norms, but that doesn’t exactly mean they have to be followed. Normal is boring.

Of course I am only speaking in terms of heterosexual couples, as homosexual ones already have to make this decision name-wise. It’s a bit refreshing, too, to have the knowledge that not all cultures are for name-changing, but it’s still a wonder that people get side-eye, unless you are prominent in some field (including entertainment), if you hyphenate or change your name someplace where it’s the norm. But it’s a personal choice, as I’ve said, and it would be nice if people could just nod, smile, and accept that.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ntdc
    Dec 13, 2014 @ 10:36:51

    hm, I can´t stand hyphenated names, just a…aesthetic thing though, I do understand if someone doesn´t see a reason to change their name suddenly because they get married, just, sorry, find them ugly and wouldn´t want a name like that for my children. In Germany it´s like the US, either or or hyphenation, Portuguese naming regulations are nice there, you can just add names without hyphenating lol it´s a small thing maybe, but I simply find it much much prettier to just add the names, not sure why many countries have a hyphen-fixation, maybe one should ask a successor of Dr. Freud 😛 married portuguese women often have as much as six surnames – two from their mother, two from their father, two from their husbands :grins: though for ‘daily use’ often only the last one, which is, usually, one of the husbands’, is used, but in theory you can arrange the names however you want I think.

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    • Deidre
      Dec 13, 2014 @ 17:54:41

      Yea, don’t worry, I get what you mean. I don’t much like them either, but at least from the POV of where I am, it’s to show that the two names go together as a last name, since you find people with 2 middle names and 2 first names with no hyphen. It’s probably just how things are because of the fact that some people have those 2 other names besides last ones. Plus it helps make the two last names seem more equal to one another instead of using one or the other and all. Though, if you were to simply give a kid 2 last name,s guess could be easier for it to be remembered to write both instead of one if they grow up with it, and…hm…new idea now 😛
      And six? O.O Dear god that’s a lot to write down lol It’s nice, though, int hat they have names form everyone, but still a lot lol

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      • ntdc
        Dec 13, 2014 @ 18:24:47

        well, if your theoretical daughter,Mrs. Smith-Miller would marry Mr. Jones-Taylor, then their common daughter would be Mrs. Smith-Miller-Jones-Taylor? seems a lot to me too 😛

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  2. Deidre
    Dec 18, 2014 @ 17:56:34

    Assuming she wouldn’t want to change her name that is 😛 But, hey, that’s long as hell, but that would be up to her. Just like if I had a son who decided he wanted to change his name to his potential wife’s…his choice. Kinda have a shrug and ‘do what you want’ attitude when it comes to those things myself 😛

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