More women today are choosing to keep their family names when they get married. When we were planning our marriage, my husband and I didn’t have to spend long deciding if I would or not-I didn’t want another name, just him. Asking him if he would want to go through the trouble of changing his name made the conversation go a lot faster. (By the way, the original plan was for him to take my name, until he figured out how much work it would be.) But here are the main reasons I brought up to him about why I wanted to keep my name.
1) I love my husband, but do not belong to him
Historically, women took the name of their husbands because they had no other rights. They couldn’t vote or own property, so they either had the name of their father or husband, who could accomplish both. Essentially, the changing of your last name signalled that you no longer belonged to your father, but to your husband. This is also from the times of the husband giving a dowry so the father could ‘give away’ his daughter at the wedding. This wasn’t a major factor in my decision, but I did decide that it’s a bit of an antiquated tradition considering the strides women have made in equality.
2) I may want to vote one day
The recent voter ID laws have made it hard for some women to vote. Particularly women who have changed their last names. While I don’t vote at the moment, times are changing enough that I may want to in the near future. It would be one thing if all that was required to update my ID was the mention of marriage, but it’s not quite that easy.
3) I like my name more than my husband’s
My family name , according to the family tree on my childhood home, was originally ‘abd al aziz’. And while the meaning isn’t terribly exciting, it’s better than my husband’s. I would rather be a servant of a powerful being than…pepper. I’m not even entirely sure why someone would name themselves ‘pepper’. Mine is more exciting, an luckily my husband agrees. Besides that, I’ve made a life with my name. Even if I wanted to change my name legally, I haven’t yet heard of a way to change my name on the books I’ve published.
4) Both family names can be carried on
When my sister put my dad’s first name as her first born son’s middle name, I knew that would be hard to beat. While my husband and I were discussing marriage an names, it came up that my family is full of girls while his is full of boys. So there are plenty of chances for more peppers to be born into the world, but the Aziz name has to live on somehow. If I’m to believe my younger sister, she’s not marrying boys (because boys are icky, obviously). Carrying on my father’s name simultaneously carries on this awesome moniker and, for once, makes it so I beat my older sister at something.