Survey: Married Women Should Take Their Husbands’ Last Names

November 3, 2011  |  

When one of my guy friend’s told me he couldn’t see himself marrying his girlfriend because she didn’t plan on taking her husband’s last name, I realized just how serious that tradition is for some people. A recent study in the journal Gender and Society polled American’s attitudes on women taking their husband’s surname and found that more than two-thirds of the respondents said that it’s best if a woman takes her husband’s name upon marriage. And in case everyone doesn’t want to do what’s “best,” 50 percent of those surveyed would support a law requiring women to take their husband’s last name.

The case for women changing their name lies with the idea of the couple shifting their identities from being two individuals into a collective unit, while the 30 percent of women who would keep their maiden name want to do so out of a desire for maintaining a personal identity. Hyphenation is the happy medium I guess.

While I like the idea of taking on my husband’s name after marriage, I don’t think anybody should be forced to by law. What’s your take on the issue—change, no change, hyphenation? Should there be a law mandating women to change their last names after they walk down the aisle? Men, would this really be a deal-breaker for you?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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