JimmyV, I think what's antiFeminist is implying that civilazation is about to topple because some women are not taking their husbands name. I am not in any sense of the word a feminist, but I can certainly see how telling women that they are contributing to the end of the world because they do not take their husband's name is more than a tad controlling.

But what I find interesting is the fact that Vision Forum posted something like "On the Precipice" when they are Christian Reconstructionist who are Post Mill in their eschatolgy. They don't think the world get's worse and worse but that it's supposed to get better and better. They accomplish this by taking over the governments of the world and raising "army's of children" for the Lord ie quiverful.

The Happy Feminist

Hi Jimmy! Thank you for your questions.

A person's name is fundamental to his or her identity. I wouldn't call anyone's choice in this regard "invalid," even if it is an anti-feminist choice. I would defend a woman's RIGHT to choose to be "Mrs. John Doe" because we should all have the right to choose what we want people to call us.

However, I don't think that going with tradition can be called a "feminist" choice. When you talk about "going with tradition," it is a tradition based upon women's second class citizenship. The idea behind it is that it is right and good for a woman's identity to be subsumed in the man's and that her identity is less important than his. Of course, we can change what it MEANS to adopt a spouse's name if gender neutral name changing becomes the norm.

And, what would gender-neutral name changing look like? I find it hard to grasp in any practical way: would half of the men and half of the women change their names in a quota fashion? Would there be endless hyphenation? Or perhaps the couple should pick a new name that is neither of their previous names? Just curious.

No, when I fantasize about gender-neutral name changing, I fantasize about it becoming as common and culturally acceptable for men to change their names as for women to change theirs. In such an environment, it would be understood that a woman's choice to change her name to her husband's would have nothing to do with her gender, but was rather an individual choice that plenty of men make as well. I realize my fantasy is unlikely to come true anytime soon, which is way I cling adamantly to my birth name.


Also, the patriarchal naming convention only makes it easier to trace patrilineal genealogy. Though I guess to the LAF crowd, that's the only side that matters.

The Happy Feminist

Also, we have to remember that a woman's choice to go with tradition is not made in a vacuum. Undoubtedly, there are women who are eager to take their husband's names. But many women face incredible pressure to take their husband's names. Maja described some of these pressures:

My husband's conservative family take my decision almost personally, as if it means I don't really want to join the family. And my mother-in-law flat out refuses to acknowledge it and sends all letters addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Husband's Name. As a woman it's easy to feel that you should try to please people/not stir things up (ah, patriarchy) and that can be hard to deal with. "And what about the poor children? Will no one think of the children!" I get A LOT of that, even from strangers. Even though said children do not exist.

I also get a lot of people (including my own allegedly feminist father) addressing mail to Mr. and Mrs. Husband (grrrr). Or telling me that I must not love or be committed to my husband (double grrrr).


In this case, the Ladies opine that tweaking patriarchal naming traditions will harm our descendents' ability to trace their geneology.

Oh, yes, the genealogists. When you ask them "But right now, don't we have the same problems tracing our mothers' genealogy because they changed their last names?" suddenly they get all distracted and have to run into the kitchen for a nice cup of tea.


I guess I'm just a old romantic. I thought it a privledge to take my husband's last name. Those patriarchs have brainwashed me!!! ;-)

I do think all this name business will make it very confusing to the children. If you guys want to do it. Go for it!


That is so interesting about your post-mil statement. I have thought that myself. They do believe the world should be getting better. I think one of the reasons the Puritans failed is because of their idea of trying to create a heaven on earth. Their eschatology plays a huge role in how they live their life. I am a-mil, so I am not trying to usher in any kingdom. I think Christians need to focus more on the Kindom of Heaven being not of this world. We are only here for a little while and we need to live holy lives and love Christ. I'm not saying that post-mils don't live holy lives--no way! I just think they care too much for earthly things.


BTW, Happy,

When I saw this subject on Doug's blog I KNEW you were going to post about it!


>>>The article notes that Michael Buday, who is suing California to make it just as easy for a man to change his name upon marriage as for a woman, plans to adopt his wife's surname "to show his affinity for his father-in-law."<<<

Oh my goodness I hate it when men only take their wives names because they want to honor the wife's father or when the wife keeps her last name just to honor her father or other MALE members of her family. I heard of a woman who wanted to take her maternal grandfather's name because she loved him so much. The fact that it was once her mother's name hardly occured to her.
I don't think it great progress if this is the reason many women don't change their surnames or why some men take their wife's name upon marriage. They seem to be deeply embedded with the notion that men own their names and MOST women do not. Ofcourse, these people just think
they are the exception to the rule and probably feel patriarchal naming traditions are just fine for most everbody else.


I don't see that there's a tremendous amount of feminist difference between getting one's name from one's dad or one's name from one's husband.

Personally, I had been looking forward to getting rid of my dad's name for years. When it came time to do it, I couldn't quite. The name felt like a girl scout badge for having grown up in a screwy family. So I put my husband's name on the end, producing a name that sounds rather British, but is pretty easy to handle as double names go.

My advice on this one would be that if you want two last names, hyphenate them. Many computer systems to say nothing of people have real trouble with the "I have two last names like Catharine Zeta Jones does" concept. If I had it to do over, I would hyphenate.

My husband offered to take my maiden name in front of his so we could have the same last name, but he really liked his unmarried name, so I was OK with him keeping it.

It's all about compromise. But then, so is marriage.



Off topic, but I didn't want to put this all the way down at the bottom of the page:

YAY! You're back!

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