Hello SOTGC community,
Whether you are 25 or 65 years old, the thought of changing your name brings a host of emotion: both positive and negative. Our grandmothers didn’t have a choice. When my Grandma married in the 1950’s she immediately became “Mrs. Joe Omenski;” legally, on invitations, dinner place cards, etc. It was the standard expectation. When I married in 2006, I was given stationary to write thank you notes for my family and friends. It was very elegant, on beautiful linen paper. The notes were engraved, “Mrs. Alexander Green.” I studied the paper for a long time, thinking to myself “Have I no identity of my own?” Don’t misunderstand, I was elated to be married to my husband and knew that this particular stationary was an old southern tradition. But still, it made me think.
Thanks to our mother’s generation, we now have a choice. The feminists who came before us created a path where we could choose, or not choose what we would be called for the rest of our lives. For that I am thankful! But, how do you choose in 2014? What is acceptable? What has negative connotations? And, what does your future husband think?
Statistics show that the name change tide is turning from the 1990’s, where feminists were appalled by women who chose to take their husband’s name. In a recent poll of 14 million Facebook users, 65% of women in their 20’s and 30’s changed their name compared with 68% of women in their 40’s and 50’s. And, in a public opinion poll by Huffington Post Weddings and YouGov, 61% of people think that a woman should take her husband’s name. (http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3287883/). Another interesting geographical tidbit is that 11.6% of East Coasters do not take their husband’s name, compared with 4.6% of Mid-Westerners (http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2012/02/women-are-still-being-judged-not-taking-their-husbands-last-names/49133/).
With just over half of women changing their names in 2014, what are the other half doing? Getting creative! Many ladies now are legally changing their names to cut down on confusion with their children, keep their husband happy, and satisfy family expectations. However, since they have built a personal brand in the workplace, women are keeping their maiden name professionally.
I recently had a discussion with two of my girlfriends, one of whom recently married and another who will be married this year. My friend Kristin decided to take her husband’s name both professionally and personally. For her the decision was easy. She argues that people will know you regardless if you are established in your community. My other friend Maggie is a dentist. She has decided to legally change her name to her husband’s, but keep her maiden name professionally. Maggie brought up the point that as a doctor, changing your credentials post-school can be a huge hassle and extremely time consuming. Both ladies made a decision that worked for their lifestyle and their career.
There are multiple variables to consider. And you must calculate them carefully, as this is a decision that affects both you and your future spouse!
Continue the conversation with me on twitter and Facebook!