Elys3 · 07/08/2021 18:57
Had a conversation with a friend today about patriarchy and surnames. She is divorced but still using her ex’s surname, but now her child is almost an adult she is thinking of changing her surname. The surname she had before marriage was her step father’s name, which has no real significance for her. Biological father was not on the scene since her birth.
I suggested that she could take her mother’s or grandmother’s surname as an alternative. Or just choose a name she likes the sound of.
Interested in feminist opinions on what to do and rationale. She knows I have posted and I will be showing her the replies.
whichiswitch · 07/08/2021 20:46
I think, if I was going to change it, I would change to my mothers surname in her circumstances. But I don't think I would change it after so long. The surname would have become mine rather than ex's IYSWIM... part of my identity. I changed my surname after I got married and really regretted it as I felt like it belonged to a different person. I don't think I'd like to go through that again.
HerRoyalRisesAgain · 07/08/2021 20:50
If I was in that position I'd go for my mother's surname.
My reason being my mother birthed me, she raised me, she's supported me all my life, why shouldn't I have her surname?
Obviously, had my mother not been such a big influence in my life I may feel differently.
heldinadream · 07/08/2021 20:52
Back in the 1970s there was a trend among feminists to take their mother's first name and add child to create a surname relatively free of the male line. So if your mother's name is Jane your surname becomes Janeschild, if it's Helen your surname is Helenschild, etc.
Yes I'm old.
tootiredtobother · 07/08/2021 20:54
i dithered about keeping my double barrel surname when newly married, i had bank accounts passport, driving licence etc all the usual stuff i kept it going for awhile then changed it, wish i hadnt, but back then 31 years ago it was difficult to keep your maiden name.
now i imagine it is not.. i had to spell out the maiden name, every time - annoying.
still have to spell the married one.. but i would go back to maiden name in the future, say after divorcing a man i hated.
StrictlyAFemaleFemale · 07/08/2021 21:09
Yes I'm old.
How very scandanavian - that system went on for centuries. It used to be boys got the dads name + son -> Johnsen, Svendsen, Eriksen, Jensen. Girls got mums name + daughter. That one kept going for longer in Iceland I believe and possibly Fair Isles (happy to be corrected). I've had a few women called xdottir on my case load and they are from one of those 2 places.
Elys3 · 07/08/2021 21:55
Her mother’s surname could work. I would relate to the name becoming mine after using it for so long but she is adamant that she wants to change it!
Elys3 · 07/08/2021 21:57
Yes I'm old.
... Her Mum’s name has a lot of syllables so possibly a little impractical. Liking the principle though.
Elys3 · 07/08/2021 21:58
I think either using her mother's name or choosing a new one would be equally wonderful. There was a thread not so long ago with someone wanting to find a new surname and the suggestions were wonderful.
Thanks, that sounds worth a read. I will see if I can find it.
MotionActivatedDog · 07/08/2021 22:03
She is divorced but still using her ex’s surname
No. She is using her surname. It belongs to her.
The surname she had before marriage was her step father’s name
No. It was her name. It belonged to her.
Men don’t own names and lend them out to women on the condition of being in relationship with them.
MrsHuntGeneNotJeremyObviously · 07/08/2021 22:06
She could choose a name from her mother's family line, if her mum's maiden name doesn't match well with her first name or she just doesn't like it. I think it's nice to choose something that already belongs in the family - I like the feeling of continuity and that it might be easier for descendents tracing the family tree.
I do have a friend (male) who disliked his name, didn't want to get into the emotional loadedness of choosing his step dad's name so just picked a name he liked the sound of, so there is always that option, which I would think is very freeing.
Bringmemoonshine · 07/08/2021 22:12
@tootiredtobother What we’re the difficulties you encountered keeping your maiden name? Genuinely interested as I’ve been married 30 years and it didn’t occur to me to change my name. I found it much easier - didn’t have to change my name on bank accounts, passport, HMRC, employer etc. Etc
OP in your friends situation I’d change to her mums name.
TabbyStar · 08/08/2021 06:40
What we’re the difficulties you encountered keeping your maiden name? Genuinely interested as I’ve been married 30 years and it didn’t occur to me to change my name. I found it much easier - didn’t have to change my name on bank accounts, passport, HMRC, employer etc. Etc
I'm not sure anything has changed that much, I never married (lesbian in my 20s, which was also 30 years ago) but if I had I wouldn't have changed my name, I was also a Ms. DD is 18 and she and her friends use Miss and all intend to change their names on marriage. It's depressing.
I would also work through the family tree to find a nice name I liked.
tootiredtobother · 09/08/2021 12:13
well from what i remember once i was married work wanted to pay me into a married name bank account, which i eventually did, doctors also seemed to want things in my married name. Drat ! i could have kept it all along then according to you
TheSmallClangerWhistlesAgain · 09/08/2021 18:15
A friend of mine only got married about 7 years ago and people at her work automatically started calling her by her husband's surname, which she does not use. He is from a cultural background where your name stays with you throughout life and he thought it was weird too, especially as it's a really, really uncommon name in the UK.
Russian-speaking countries only have surnames for administrative purposes a lot of the time. People use patronymics, which do not change upon marriage. A matronymic isn't unheard of. You create one a a woman by putting -evna on the end of your parent's name.
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