When I was a little girl, I always assumed that I would take my husband’s last name since it was just what a woman did when she got married. As I grew up, I started to think about the fact I didn’t want to change my last name because my Dad’s last name would end with me if I did, and that only the greatest affection for my future spouse would allow me to make such a sacrifice.
Now I’m positive that when my husband was a young man, he never in a million years assumed he’d have a maiden name when he got married, but he does. And because he lovingly took my last name, he has gotten a lot of crap for it. Not by those closest to us, but by those who don’t know us at all and seem to offer commentary we don’t care to hear. Society has tried to make my husband feel like less of “man” because he took his wife’s last name. Phases such as “whipped” have been used to refer to him and “she wears the pants” to refer to me, definitely not in a good way, but more like she’s too strong a woman and why can’t you control her.
Just the implication of a maiden name is offensive. In fact, the exact definition of maiden name is “a woman’s surname before her marriage.” Why can’t it just be called your unmarried name, former name(s), family name, or something to that effect?
I appreciate everyday that I didn’t have to change my last name. I love that my son carries the Newcomb name and that it will survive for another generation (many more, I hope) because my husband is a progressive man. I love that by replacing his name for mine he found peace as he cast away a name that brought him pain.
The most important part is that he CHOSE to take my last name. Whether it be a wife taking a husband’s last name or vice versa, it should be a choice. With our marriage, we have declared that we belong to EACH OTHER, not that I belong to him or he belongs to me. Neither of us are property. I do not encourage a society that just assumes a wife will take her husband’s last name, just as I do not encourage a society that assumes something is wrong with a man who would give his up.
People should be free to make their own choices and to control their own identity. It means everything to me that my husband took my last name, but why in the heck should it bother someone else?