As an engaged woman, I was both surprised and appalled when I read an article on The Stir stating that 50 percent of Americans believe it should be legally required for a woman to take her husband's last name. My first thought was: Who took this survey anyway, a bunch of people from Middle-of-Nowhere America (no offense, really) who've been completely cut off from the modern world? I mean, hello, this is the 21st century! What happened to women's equality?
This opinion is surely rooted in tradition, just another way for the U.S. to use laws to protect what's "right" or "normal." Not taking your husband's last name is widely considered taboo, like when children call their moms by their first names instead of "mom" (which I admittedly think is weird and a tad inappropriate, but nothing to make a law about).
Yes, like many people, when I meet a married woman who has decided to keep her maiden name, I think "Huh. That's different." But I'm not very judgmental, and I don't at all think it's a problem. It's a personal choice, and people are entitled to their own opinions. What's truly backwards is legally forcing a woman to take her husband's last name. In fact, it's more than backwards: It's meddling and tyrannical. Many women choose to keep their own names for professional reasons. Still others choose to forgo the tradition because of its sexist roots — we can't avoid the fact that marriage used to mean the woman was the husband's property and lost her individual identity.
As for me, I'm happily taking my fiancé's last name when we get married and making my maiden name into my new middle name. I feel like this will give us a family identity, symbolically completing my union with him. It's a beautifully meaningful gesture to me, made even more so because it is my choice.
As a girly girl, I'm so ready to be Mrs. Ondevilla and to be the official woman of the house. And since my fiancé's dad's side of the family lives in San Diego, I'm excited to say we'll be the only Ondevillas around here in New York. We'll be our own little unit.
But I understand that not everyone thinks that way. So get off your high horses, 50 percent of America, and let the women choose!
Do you think women should be required to take their husbands' last names?