4 Feminists - Not His Name, Not his 'Mrs. Mister'

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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 156
I am not his property.
He did not 'inherit' me from my father.
I am a my own woman.
I come with a name of my own (even if that is inherited from my own father or grandfather).

What do you think of women who get married and choose to keep their maiden names?

Hmmph - after reading that I just realize I now have trouble with the term 'maiden names' but anyway....

If you were married and elected to keep your maiden names what were some of t he issues you had?

If you hyphenated, why did you choose that and how did that affect anything (if it did?)

I had this idea that instead of a woman taking a man's name (and we all know that a man will never take a woman's name) maybe upon their matrimonial union they both take a totally different last name, one that they agree upon and has meaning for them?

Just an idea I was bouncing around in my head. I'm not sure if children should take the new surname or not (why not?). Guess that depends on the couple.

I haven't totally relinquished the tradition of naming kids after the father (if you are married. If you aren't then I'm totally for naming them after yourself). But as a feminist I am looking a lot at our traditions and thinking 'what else could we do so that this is less... sexist? Or more egalitarian.'

btw - you don't have to be 'feminist' to answer. I just figured they would be the ones to have taken the less traditional road.
This is a great topic, but I think we had a whole debate about this a couple months ago-if no one is responding, that's probably why.
I had this idea that instead of a woman taking a man's name (and we all know that a man will never take a woman's name) maybe upon their matrimonial union they both take a totally different last name, one that they agree upon and has meaning for them?
Originally Posted by Vagabond Davotchka
Some men do take their wives' name. Jack White of the White Stripes did that. (White was Meg's original last name.) And some people combine their last names, like Mayor Villaraigosa of LA (Villa + Raigosa). And some people come up with a completely new last name.

I would feel very uncomfortable taking my husband's last name. For me, that's a tradition that has to do with oppression and commodification. But of course I realize that other people view it as romantic or convenient. And some people live in an area where a wife who kept her name would face a lot of stigma.
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 156
This is a great topic, but I think we had a whole debate about this a couple months ago-if no one is responding, that's probably why.
Originally Posted by curlyrnnr
Sorry I missed that, and sorry for reposting a done subject. After a couple of days if no one is responding in kind (or at all), I'll most likely delete it and call it a day.

Many threads do rehash the same subject with the same replies, but not always. Sometimes the discussion can take a different turn, or a different tone and you can gleam something totally (or a even a little bit) different than what you got from the original posts/thread. Not sure if that will happen here, I'm speaking in general.
(and we all know that a man will never take a woman's name)
Originally Posted by Vagabond Davotchka
Not true. I personally know two couples where both the man and the woman took each other's last names. So they now each have two last names — they are not hyphenated, and both names are used 100% of the time.

This thread has been done, but almost every thread has been done. If we went by that as some rule, nothing would ever get posted.

I would not take a man's name, but I don't care what anybody else does, really. I mean I used to, but meh, I've moved on. I've realized the reasons are either so personal or socially so deeply engrained that some people cannot see doing it any other way.

Last edited by wild~hair; 03-11-2009 at 04:31 PM.
I detest the term "maiden name" and don't use it. The state of my hymen is no one's business, and I find it an insult if someone asks if my name is "maiden". If I'm feeling snotty, I might ask if there is a gyn exam they need me to submit to to prove it.

I am married and use my birth name. Yes, I know it was my father's and grandfather's name, but I had to start somewhere. My 2 younger kids have my last name (my 2 older kids have ex-asholes last names, something the exes do not deserve).

I haven't had any issues with having a different last name from my husband. Hubby is very supportive of me keeping my own identity. America is becoming more modern and accepting of such things too. I suppose we have Hollywood to thank for that, as most female actors keep their birth names also and probably set the trend.

Oddly enough, the only one I have trouble with is my very own mother. She knows I use my birth name, yet every card or letter she sends me has Mrs. HisFirst HisLastName. I want to smack her, but she's old and I know she was brainwashed into thinking girls-are-worth-less-than-boys by her own misogynistic father.
I had this idea that instead of a woman taking a man's name (and we all know that a man will never take a woman's name) maybe upon their matrimonial union they both take a totally different last name, one that they agree upon and has meaning for them?
Originally Posted by Vagabond Davotchka
Some men do take their wives' name. Jack White of the White Stripes did that. (White was Meg's original last name.) And some people combine their last names, like Mayor Villaraigosa of LA (Villa + Raigosa). And some people come up with a completely new last name.

I would feel very uncomfortable taking my husband's last name. For me, that's a tradition that has to do with oppression and commodification. But of course I realize that other people view it as romantic or convenient. And some people live in an area where a wife who kept her name would face a lot of stigma.
Originally Posted by Eilonwy
Now there's a man who cares about elevating the status of women. Wonder why he combined last names. His wife's idea?

Guano, sorry.
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I took my husband's family name. Dropping any part of my family names was not an option for me. I kept everything. I use my husband's name day to day, though.

There are a lot of common "traditions" that I find misogynistic and gross, but this particular one-- while I know where/how it originated-- doesn't really bug me. My mother didn't take my father's name, so it's not like I was indoctrinated into doing it. I have no real attachment to my father's name, which is what I used growing up, so... whatever.
"And politically correct is the worst term, not just because it’s dismissive, but because it narrows down the whole social justice spectrum to this idea that it’s about being polite instead of about dismantling the oppressive social structure of power.
Fun Fact: When you actively avoid being “PC,” you’re not being forward-thinking or unique. You’re buying into systems of oppression that have existed since before you were even born, and you’re keeping those systems in place."
Stolen.
Now there's a man who cares about elevating the status of women. Wonder why he combined last names. His wife's idea?

Guano, sorry.
Originally Posted by Phoenix
No problem...I think it's odd that he of all people wanted to make that gesture, too!

A little off topic, but I filled out a form the other day where I was supposed to check Mr., Miss, Mrs., or Ms. The whole point of "mizz" is to create a title for women that's equivalent to "mister." (There used to be a male equivalent for "miss"--"master"--but it fell out of favor.) I still had to state my marital status separately, but I was surprised that whoever designed the form so missed the point of Ms. While it's true that some women do prefer to officially be known as Mrs. or Miss, I'd never seen a form like that before.

Last edited by Eilonwy; 03-11-2009 at 04:55 PM.
I did take my husband's name. My maiden name meant absolutely nothing to me. No one in my family had that name (haven't seen my father or any of his family since I was a small child). I'd say that I knew before I was out of high school that I'd take my husband's name because I couldn't get rid of my maiden name fast enough. I kept both my first & middle name and totally lost the old last name. My sister decided to do the exact same thing when she got married.
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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I stand corrected on men taking women's last names, exchanging names, or hyphenating their own names. I have never heard or read of a man doing that. If you asked that of most men they would look at you like you just lost your mind.

I detest the term "maiden name" and don't use it. The state of my hymen is no one's business, and I find it an insult if someone asks if my name is "maiden". If I'm feeling snotty, I might ask if there is a gyn exam they need me to submit to to prove it.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
That's the same feeling I had about it - that 'maiden' means 'virgin' and that why it didn't feel right. But some Wiccan literature I read said that 'maiden' just means 'young woman' and does not neccessarily mean 'virgin.' So if if it means 'young woman' then when you become married you're an 'old crone?'

j/k.
Partially.

Guess I'll have to make up my own mind about that.

I am married and use my birth name. Yes, I know it was my father's and grandfather's name, but I had to start somewhere. My 2 younger kids have my last name (my 2 older kids have ex-asholes last names, something the exes do not deserve).

I haven't had any issues with having a different last name from my husband.
For the most part I kept my last name because I thought a divorce for me was a real possibility and it didn't make sense to have to go through the paperwork and change my name again. Then my family, neighbors, people at school, and strangers (like the people who did my taxes or approved a co-signer loan) asked me why I didn't change it because it would make things more convenient and easier. So I got couple of things (like the cosigner loan) with my married name on it, but my work, taxes, and all my other business stayed with my original name. From some folks I got the 'well you're not really married or in union since you don't share a name.'

I also thought all my kids would have different fathers so I was sure I was naming them with my surname so they wouldn't have different names. I had the first two out of wedlock, so they had my surname. I had the 3rd shortly after I got married, and since I wasn't sure it was last, I gave her my surname too. Eventually (since I winded up staying married for a time and I added his name to their birth certif) all the kids names got changed over to their father's surname. Not wanting to feel left out, I gave my son 2 middle names and one was my surname.

I got married with all the traditional vows (I didn't know any better), and there is just so much I would change about that now; the least of which is that whole 'till death do you part' thing. If I ever get married again, I don't want that. I'm pretty sure I would want 'to be reviewed and (possibly) renewed upon up the 10th year.' 10 years seem like a good enough time to tell if you want to go any further in a marital relationship and stay together for another 5, 10, 20 or so years or if it should end.

Last edited by Vagabond Davotchka; 03-11-2009 at 05:05 PM.
I am not his property.
He did not 'inherit' me from my father.
I am a my own woman.
I come with a name of my own (even if that is inherited from my own father or grandfather).
Originally Posted by Vagabond Davotchka
for me, none of that changes, regardless of my last name.

i know people who have hyphenated, who have come up with a brand new family name that both the husband and the wife take on, and those who have done everything inbetween. ive found it doesnt make much of a difference except to those whose name it is. if you feel more empowered by not taking your husband's name then go fot it.

A little off topic, but I filled out a form the other day where I was supposed to check Mr., Miss, Mrs., or Ms. The whole point of "mizz" is to create a title for women that's equivalent to "mister." (There used to be a male equivalent for "miss"--"master"--but it fell out of favor.) I still had to state my marital status separately, but I was surprised that whoever designed the form so missed the point of Ms. While it's true that some women do prefer to officially be known as Mrs. or Miss, I'd never seen a form like that before.
ive seen that on a lot of forms but im never sure what the difference is between miss and ms. could you clarify that for me? i hope i havent been checking the wrong thing...
I did take my husband's name. My maiden name meant absolutely nothing to me. No one in my family had that name (haven't seen my father or any of his family since I was a small child). I'd say that I knew before I was out of high school that I'd take my husband's name because I couldn't get rid of my maiden name fast enough. I kept both my first & middle name and totally lost the old last name. My sister decided to do the exact same thing when she got married.
Originally Posted by Brooke789
This is similar to what I did. I haven't really ever been close to my father. I didn't want his name even more so after all of the things that he pulled trying to break my husband and myself up, so I dropped it. I kept my first and middle names and took on my married name.
Miss = never married or unmarried
Mrs. = married or widowed or divorced and retaining the ex's last name
Ms = invented to be vague so that women would have an equivalent title to Mr.

Ms has no period following it, because it's not an abbreviation like Mrs. is.
Miss = never married or unmarried
Mrs. = married or widowed or divorced and retaining the ex's last name
Ms = invented to be vague so that women would have an equivalent title to Mr.

Ms has no period following it, because it's not an abbreviation like Mrs. is.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
thank you!

yours truly, ms subbrock
That's the same feeling I had about it - that 'maiden' means 'virgin' and that why it didn't feel right. But some Wiccan literature I read said that 'maiden' just means 'young woman' and does not neccessarily mean 'virgin.' So if if it means 'young woman' then when you become married you're an 'old crone?'

j/k.
Partially.

Guess I'll have to make up my own mind about that.
Originally Posted by Vagabond Davotchka
I thought it was maiden (virgin/pre-fertile), matron (married woman/fertile), crone (post-menopausal).

Last edited by Eilonwy; 03-11-2009 at 05:22 PM.
I did take my husband's name. My maiden name meant absolutely nothing to me. No one in my family had that name (haven't seen my father or any of his family since I was a small child). I'd say that I knew before I was out of high school that I'd take my husband's name because I couldn't get rid of my maiden name fast enough. I kept both my first & middle name and totally lost the old last name. My sister decided to do the exact same thing when she got married.
Originally Posted by Brooke789


This is similar to what I did. I haven't really ever been close to my father. I didn't want his name even more so after all of the things that he pulled trying to break my husband and myself up, so I dropped it. I kept my first and middle names and took on my married name.
Originally Posted by FieryCurls

I don't get that. Presumably your father had a say in choosing your first and middle names...why not drop those also if you dislike him so much?

I don't feel a particular affinity to my father. I don't particularly love my birth name either. But the idea of following society's paternalist standards bothered me more than somehow honoring my father by keeping his name. As I said, I had to start somewhere, and I definitely wanted to set an example for my daughter that she doesn't have to take a man's name either. She now has a woman's name. It only takes one generation to make a huge societal change. We don't have to keep our society paternalistic.

I have a friend who disliked her father, so she went back in her family history and picked a last name of a female relative that she admired and took that name and kept it after she got married. She named her daughters with that last name also.
I answered in this thread.
I don't care. A name is a name, what matters is what it means to that person.
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I stand corrected on men taking women's last names, exchanging names, or hyphenating their own names. I have never heard or read of a man doing that. If you asked that of most men they would look at you like you just lost your mind.
my husband offered to take on my name. we both kept our names.
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A coworker's FIL committed a well-publicized crime in their hometown. Their last name was not Smith or Jones; the name was associated with the crime. So when she and hubby got married, he voluntarily offered to take her name.

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