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?