After saying "I do" (and before saying, "Wait, maybe I don't"), Kim Kardashian spent 72 days as "Mrs. Kris Humphries." During that short stint of a marriage, however, Kim didn't make one of the most traditional (and often expected) changes that come with walking down the aisle — legally changing her last name.
It's an age-old tradition that has been followed, seemingly without too much protest, for years. For most, making the switch to their husband's last name is exciting; a sort of "final seal" on the lifelong vows you've made. But many women are challenging this tradition nowadays, especially those who are less religious and more educated, according to studies — Kim K included, though we wouldn't exactly call her educated.
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And yet, despite the habits of celebrities, "normal" Americans are all for tradition. So much, in fact, that a recent nationally representative survey of 815 Americans showed that 50 percent would support a law which requires women to change their last names upon marriage. Will The Government Make You Take His Last Name?
This finding angers some, and with good reason. It's 2011 and the concept of "taking" a man's last name seems awfully archaic to those fighting against stereotypical gender norms, especially considering where the tradition comes from. Maressa Brown at The Stir recently wrote, "it harkens back to the 1800s and even into the 1900s, when U.S. common law meant a married woman had no rights to her own property or to make contracts in her own name." This is especially infuriating, since women only own 1% of the world's property today.
Yeah, knowing that would make me want to say, "thanks, but no thanks" to changing my name, too (although I'm single).
But let's set history aside. I think keeping a maiden name is a good idea for consistency purposes, not just for rebelling against antiquated norms. Let's again look at Kim Kardashian (last time, I promise). Joke about her publicity stunts all you want, but after all the work she's done branding the family, it wouldn't make sense to keep up with "The Kardashians, Humphries and Odoms." 5 Things Kim Kardashian Can Do As A Divorcee
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Career aside, some women want to keep their name because that's exactly what it is — their name. And there's nothing wrong with that, either, right?
Would you support a law that required women to take their husband's last name?