Keeping her maiden name: Why is this a big deal in 2014?

One would think that a woman choosing not to change her your surname after marriage wouldn't be such a big deal in 2014, but apparently it still is. Perhaps that explains why a blogpost on Huffington Post titled, "Why I'm Not Changing My Last Name for Marriage," by a Reflective Bride has gone viral on social media and seen over 82,000 F-Likes.

Reflective Bride talks about her decision to not to change her surname after marriage and the kind of questions she's faced regarding this. Evidently the fact that she didn't "believe in changing one's identity for marriage," wasn't good enough for many.

The Reflective Bride writes that where not changing her name was concerned, she had taken the decision at the "ripe old age of 15, almost 10 years before I met the man who would become my husband." She adds that initially it was mostly because liked her name, but then later on as she realised about the glaring inequality between the sexes that helped 'cement her decision.' 

She says that for her, "my name is my identity. If someone asks you "who are you?" the answer that you give is your first and last name. For me, my name is who I am." 

She's also faced some silly arguments like: oh change your name because its tradition or you won't feel like a part of the new family. Another often asked question is whether she's afraid of divorce?

 Keeping her maiden name: Why is this a big deal in 2014?

Representational Image. Reuters

"That's not a reason for my decision," she insists, asking "Would I then change back to my birth name [after the divorce]? And if I re-marry, do I change it again to the new husband's name? What am I, a baseball card," she asks.

But divorce and family love aside, perhaps the biggest reason that a woman shouldn't be expected to change her name is that it represents a double standard. As the Reflective Bride points out, "The expectation that women should change their last name for marriage, swapping their own identity for their husband's, is -- inarguably -- sexist. And I say "inarguably" because no one could claim there is an expectation of the same name-change in men."

And that is the real problem with this name-changing business. The burden rests squarely with women. Should we say Kareena Kapoor-Khan or Kareena Khan? Is it Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, or just Priyanka Gandhi? Whether they choose to hyphenate their partner's name or drop their maiden name entirely, the fact that remains that this is something that only women do.  The prospect of a man accepting the surname of his wife isn't even discussed. The debate is still around what women should do.

But as the blog post spells it out,  changing your name is a personal choice. And you can choose either way. Just because you want to change your name doesn't make you the worst woman on earth and a disappointment to women's rights movement. Nor does keeping one's name mean that you're a family-hating unloving wench.

After all, it's your name, and you ought to be able to choose it.

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Updated Date: Apr 28, 2014 15:45:44 IST