Marriage and women changing their last names

Should the day come that I tie the knot, my preference is that my wife takes my last name. It isn’t something for which I would push if she wanted to keep hers, but it is my preference. It would make things clearer in that it would more immediately demonstrate to outsiders that we are married. Of course, that is only a minor benefit, and besides that, I would not change my own last name, so it isn’t like I could not be a hypocrite while demanding she change hers. I imagine most any modern day person would see things much the same way, but apparently 50% of Americans wildly disagree with me:

While no national statistics exist, some recent studies suggest that women keeping their own name is actually becoming less popular. And a recent nationally representative survey found that half of Americans support women being legally required to take their husband’s name upon marriage.

…why?

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3 Responses

  1. I suspect its just because that’s the way it’s always been done. Whatever the reason may have been (peoples last names came from trades and such, women didn’t often have them, etc) it’s not the same reason anymore, it’s just a tradition.

    If you look at other things you’ll find people tend to stick to tradition more when times get harder. Personally I think the reason for that is because they have other things to worry about aside from what usually amounts to harmless and minor issues like this. I’m sure other people have theories, each as much guesswork as the next.

  2. I mean, yes, part of the reason is tradition. (And that tradition, ultimately, has its premise in the fact that men have had most of the control throughout history.) But I really don’t see how so many Americans can want a legal requirement.

  3. Well, I am increasingly finding polls difficult to take. You recently brought up a poll, in passing, about how a large percentage of republicans thought Obama faked his birth certificate (or whatever). I don’t think that’s really true.

    I think depending on the question people are pretty likely to pick an amusing or provocative, at least the perceived unfavorable answer.

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