You May Be Surprised to Find Out Why Women Are Keeping Their Maiden Names

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By: Isabella Carson

There has been a spike in the number of women who keep their last names when they get married. Since the 1980s the percentage of women that keep their maiden names has gone from 14% to 29.5%. A Google study was conducted to try and figure out if there were any patterns or reasons for this sudden spike and what they found was quite interesting.

In the early to mid 1900s changing your name to your husband’s surname when you got married was something that you were expected to do and were considered to be rebelling if you didn’t. The wives were supposed to take the man’s name so that everyone knew that she was his wife and that he was the man of the house. If a woman chose not to take her husband’s last name she was considered a feminist even if she wasn’t. Some women just weren’t comfortable with the thought of changing their name. Now it is more commonplace to keep your maiden name. Some researchers of the Google study believe that this is because of their living situation. They feel that since they are used to being in a two-name household anyway from living together before marriage there is no need to change it. It could also be due to the fact that there are more progressive women these days. They don’t feel the need to conform to society’s expectations.

When asked why she didn’t change her name after marriage one woman stated that her maiden name had been her name for her entire life and she didn’t want to lose it. Some women will keep their maiden name and hyphenate it with their husband’s last name so they have the best of both words. This is not always accepted by society.

In looking at the results of the survey there were some surprising correlations that came about. The survey showed that women who had high-paying jobs and were middle to upper class women kept their maiden names more often than their counterparts. Many of the career women have their maiden name as their professional name and do not want to change it. The transition to a new name can be expensive and drawn out so some women believe that it is just better to keep their maiden names.

How do you feel? Is taking your husband’s name a tradition that should be followed or an antiquated ritual?

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7 Comments

  1. I used to say that when I got married that I’d hyphenate my name. The reason being that I am the last generation to have my name, I don’t have any brothers, and I have a daughter… No one to carry on the name. Now that I have a special man in my life and talks of us getting married are brewing, I don’t feel as I once did. I have a huge respect for this man and I want to carry his name. I work in law enforcement where I am referred to as “Officer ……” using my last name, I can’t help but to think about how difficult it will be to conform however I don’t mind going by both until it’s settled in with everyone.

  2. I believe Steve Harvey said it best: if a woman doesn’t want to change her last name when she gets married then she should marry her daddy.

  3. I don’t understand why it’s so important to take your husbands name. In my opinion, children should take their fathers last name and keep them whether they marry or not. Or even better, both parties change their names to hyphenated hybrid of both names. I’m just saying. Why does my identity have to be changed because I got married. I chose to hyphenate mine out of consideration for my husband but would have preferred to leave it the same.

  4. I was engaged once to one of those so called liberated black women and we had the talk. She said she wanted to keep her last name because she was her father’s only child. I informed her that if she was going to marry me, she would have to take my name as she is not marrying her father’s. Of course she refused. I talked to her father about that and he told me he did not raise her to be disrespected like that….well the end result was, we broke up

  5. you take your husbands name because you are under his protection.every thing a woman’s farther has done for her,its his job now ! . Woman want it their way so give it to them.just shack up and screw the marriage and all the trappings that go with it.

  6. I don’t agree with Steve Harvey on much, but he’s right on this one.
    According to Biblical teachings you carry your father and his history into your relationship and so you should pick up the new name and life.

  7. I changed my last name to my husband’s name for documents, but professionally, I had to keep my maiden name because my business was connected to it. So I am both my married name and for business, I am my married name. In California, the law says you can use or change your name as you choose because you can use the title DBA (doing business as). If you use another name, it’s actually legal unless you are using it to defraud. Many female stars have to use their maiden names as a DBA for public recognition. Women are competing in the business arena today, and it is more beneficial to keep their maiden names often times.

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