I had a discussion today with some people, about 4 women and 3 men, about name changing. Long story short, 2 of the people in the group were dating each other, and got into their first argument over the issue. He adamantly hoped his wife would take on his name, she adamantly hoped her husband would not assume she would change her name. Interestingly, of the other 3 women at the table, all agreed that a woman shouldn’t be forced to change her name, nor should it be assumed she would. Of the men, this guy and one other agreed that women should ideally change their names, and the third guy said he didn’t assume his fiance will change her name (he is engaged to a very feminist woman, he’s pretty feminist himself) but acknowledged he’s probably in the minority among men.
One of the people said to me that this was indicative of a larger societal issue. I agree. It was so interesting to me to see the disconnect between the girls and the guys. I would guess that a majority of women have atleast considered whether or not to change their names when they get married, and much much fewer men have considered the issue.
I have a very simple solution to the societal issue. Women: refuse to date/marry men who don’t want to acknowledge both of your heritages in your marriage.
We can change the way society views hyphenated names by ostracizing those who disagree with us. If this is an issue that many, many, women care about, and it involves marriage, it inherently involves many, many men, too. We can change them. I don’t say that lightly. I know there will be men to whom hyphenating their name is an utterly despicable idea, and there are women who agree with those men. Good. Marry each other. But for the majority of women who are uncomfortable with a male-dominated marriage, and for the majority of men who are also uncomfortable with that, but won’t admit it because of how they’d be viewed by society, force a change. It’s simple, easy, and achievable. It can happen quickly.
Women, it’s up to you. This is one place in feminism where the power to change is in the women’s hands. Take advantage of that!