To have and to hold… but will you take his name?
Cheryl’s done it twice now and numerous women will continue to follow the tradition of taking their husbands surname, however some ladies are now asking the question – has it become dated and sexist?
This is a subject that I have been in debate about since I have been old enough to imagine myself in that situation.
After starting my own businesses I struggle with this issue more now than ever as I have the future dilemma of either keeping my maiden name, so that I don’t confuse my clients or business contacts, or I change my name to that of my husband to be, and I am no longer known as Rachel Ducker.
I question, by giving up my last name would I lose my identity? Will people still know who I am? What about if I meet a man
with a last name that doesn’t work with my first name? What if I get divorced? There is really so much for a woman to think about now a days due to the growing feminist attitude changes in our social society.
Most recently, the artist formerly known as Cheryl Cole is the latest in a long line of women who appear perfectly happy to sacrifice their identity to whatever man they happened to have recently walked down the aisle with.
The Girls Aloud and former X-Factor star has just announced that she will henceforth be known to her fans as Ms Fernandez-Versini, following her recent marriage to a French gentleman of that name.
Whilst I appreciate the fact that traditions are important, after reading into this futher some women may have a point?
Some ask ‘can you not love and be committed to each other without having to share an identity?’
And if the answer to that question really is no, why do women just automatically opt to take the man’s name, rather than it being a discussion where both surnames are considered to make sure both parties are equal?
Double-barrelling can be a little complicated, but some still find this preferable, as is mixing the two last names to form a new one, which both parties then take. In fact I even know I couple who created a completely new surname for the two to share as they didn’t like each others last names. Nothing surprises me in 2014!
There is also the problem of a marriage not working out, if you take your husbands name and it doesn’t work out what do you do? Well you have three choices, revert to your maiden name, keep his name, or marry someone else.
Take, for example, Ronnie Wood’s ex-wife Jo. She became Mrs Wood when they married and then, 35 years later, he traded her in for a younger model. When they split, people accused her of exploiting her association with him, because she kept his name, but what was she supposed to do? Give it up?
To settle this, I asked 20 of my girl friends if they believed you should take a man’s name when you marry. The majority (89%) believed that it was tradition. However the other 11% had some of the following responses…
“No we weren’t born with this name so why should we worry”
“It’s always been a man’s world and women are now showing they are just as strong and successful so maybe its time to challenge tradition”
“For women who are well known it makes sense to keep their maiden name as their public name”
So the response to my question shows that many women still strongly believe in the tradition of taking on a man’s name. As for the outcome of my dilemma, I guess I will have to see how I feel when I get there.