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Feminism: chat

To feel like we still live in the 1950’s sometimes

107 replies

Psychgrad · 29/06/2022 11:22

I just got back to work after being married and on leave for a few days. One colleague assumed that I had changed my name and said ‘so your mrs what now?’ When I told him I’m not changing my name, he was shocked and proceeded to discuss this with me in the middle of the hospital ward (I work in a hospital) and giggled at me as if I was being silly and rebellious. He then tried to mansplain (is that how it’s spelt?) the reasons why it’s important to take your husbands name. I didn’t really have time to have a debate as I was on my way to see a patient and had really only greeted him with a big hello since I’ve been off for a few days. I feel taken aback by this comment and am annoyed that I wasn’t ready with a better argument as to why I hadn’t taken my husband’s name.I think it’s quite old fashioned and sexist that a woman has to take her husband’s name and I’m surprised that people just assume that a woman would just take their husbands name in this day and age. I’m 35, with a professional career, therefore I can make my own choices and don’t really need to explain it. Apparently I do though!! Plus the tradition of taking your husbands name comes from times where your father would ‘give you away’ to another man therefore you took his name. I didn’t have a traditional wedding, nobody gave me away. Why are we so progressive as women but yet we are still expected to take our husbands names?

OP posts:

rnsaslkih · 29/06/2022 11:27

I mean he was rude but I think particularly if you have kids, it’s convenient for everyone to have the same family name. I think that it ought to be more socially acceptable for the couple to choose which of their names they would like to have for the family name, rather than the man’s taking precedence.


EmmaH2022 · 29/06/2022 11:29

He sounds like a lunatic
what are his "reasons why it's important to take your husband's name"?


Psychgrad · 29/06/2022 12:29

We don’t have children and due to a health problem I’ve always known I’d have fertility issues.. so children aren’t a definite plan for our future. However, we have both talked about using double barrel names for possible future children. My friend is German and in her culture, women don’t typically take the husbands name and children take the mothers name. Makes more sense if you ask me.

His reasons were a bit unclear and ramble-y but he said something along the lines of you are one person now so you should have the same name. We’re not. We are two separate individuals who are now married. I’ve told my husband he can take my name if he wants us to have the same name. He doesn’t care either way and finds it sexist that women are expected to change their name but the man isn’t.

What do same-sex couples do?

OP posts:

Whatwouldscullydo · 29/06/2022 12:37

I dont even want to get married and if I ever did I'd not change my name. The thought of letters arriving addressed to Mr and Mrs his initials and surname fills me with dread. You don't merge and become one person you are 2 separate people and letters should be addressed as such.

I think your colleague should work out why it matters so much to him amd why he feels a womans name is about appeasing him and his old fashioned ideas.


Mumoblue · 29/06/2022 12:38

The correct response to someone not changing their name when they get married is “Oh fair enough” and carrying on, not a speech about why they’re wrong. It’s ridiculous.

I’m not going to change my name, unless in the future I end up with someone who just has the most awesome last name ever and I want to get in on that.

I also don’t buy that it’s confusing or inconvenient for children either. Me and my son have different last names, and so far there has been zero issue. I grew up in a blended family, and right now I only have the same last name as ONE of my five siblings. It doesn’t make me feel like any less family to them.

(And even if it WERE more convenient for kids, I don’t like the notion that automatically mum has to give up her name).


EmmaH2022 · 29/06/2022 13:13

"you are one person"?

he's trolling. Which I dislike.


WearyLady · 29/06/2022 13:24

My dad was an immigrant who came to the uk in the 50s. I have an unusual and, to some - including me - quite an amusing surname. I had the mickey taken out of me growing up and I always have to spell my surname. Having gone through all of that, there was no way I was going to give up my surname for anyone When I became pregnant my partner and I discussed which surname our children should have. We agreed on mine because it was the more interesting name. My boys are now grown up and are very proud of their surname. My advice is, don't change your name if you don't want to.


NippyWoowoo · 29/06/2022 13:34

I do think that sometimes, but that's because of all the threads I read on here about 'keeping house'. Topic after topic on Mumsnet about how many loads of washing you do and competitive cleaning threads.

I know it's not the point of your post OP, but sometimes I think I'm reading a 50s housekeeping magazine Grin


stayingpositiveifpossible · 29/06/2022 13:58

In my experience and opinion it is wise to keep your own surname.
Also give your kids YOUR surname and not his.

That way it is way easier if you split up and you are a lone parent somewhere down the line. Sorry to be pessimistic about it but it saves endless hassle at the school gate.


LadyGardenersQuestionTime · 29/06/2022 14:13

I don't think one person making a wanky outdated comment means we're going back to the '50s. On the other hand US abortion, Afghanistan (more the 1450s than 1950s) and a comment I heard at work the other day about attitudes to healthcare for men vs women in a particular community to the effect of "men's health matters, women's health isn't that important" - yup, YANBU.


SenecaFallsRedux · 29/06/2022 14:24

you are one person now

1950s? 1750s, more like.


Psychgrad · 29/06/2022 17:12

Glad I’m not the only one with similar views, I have lots of friends at the moment who are more traditional and have taken their husband’s name. Fair enough, but I find it maddening that you would do that without even questioning why.

My new husband and I are actually together years and years so marriage wasn’t something we were dying to do. I came from a blended family also, parents divorced, they got new partners but never remarried so I am also used to not having the same names as my family members. Who cares? Most of my siblings have children and aren’t married yet, probably won’t bother either due to money, other priorities.

OP posts:

newnamethanks · 29/06/2022 17:24

Keep your own name, especially as you have an established career. It's a pain having to explain for months as someone else says Oh. It's you.


SexyLittleNosferatu · 02/07/2022 11:51

It's crazy isn't it. I feel really strongly about this. Even as a child I could never understand why women changed their names. Getting married is still seen as an achievement for women and it is utterly ridiculous.


Lagooncity · 04/07/2022 12:48

I’m an independent married woman and I couldn’t wait to change my name, it was the next chapter of my life and I couldn’t wait to start it. I didn’t feel pressured and I didn’t even think about past reasons for women doing it, it felt right that we had the same name and I wanted to take his.

A woman can be independent and still take her husbands name without becoming a “possession”. That’s quite an old fashioned view and doesn’t reflect the modern day take on it. Surely you can see society has evolved but the preference is still for women to take their husbands name.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion though.


DisgruntledPelican · 04/07/2022 12:57

it felt right that we had the same name and I wanted to take his.

You must see that this is because of years of socialisation, though? It’s not a choice made freely. This is the issue - not that individuals change their name, but the expectation, and that it “feels right”. It wouldn’t feel right if no one else did it.


Psychgrad · 04/07/2022 15:31

@Lagooncity it was important for you to have the same name as your husbands but why did it have to be your husband’s name? He could have taken your name. Or you could have just chosen a completely new name altogether. This is the part that’s problematic. If we as women don’t question old traditions then how will we really ever evolve?

OP posts:

Deadringer · 04/07/2022 15:53

I don't get the 'best to all have the same name' thing. We have Foster children as well as birth dc so several names in our family and it has never mattered a jot. The term 'maiden name' should be abolished imo, your name is your name, just as your dh's is his, no need for either of you to change. If and when the dc come along you can decide on their names. Personally I think that children should be named after their mother for lots of practical reasons but other people will have their own opinion and that's fine too.


Fairislefandango · 04/07/2022 16:13

I think it would be very wrong for women to have to take their husband's name. We don't though.

I think that disagreeing with a woman’s own reasons for changing her name is unreasonable. It might not matter a jot to you whether your family all have the same name, but that doesn't mean everybody feels that way.

I took my husband's name partly for that reason, but also because I had no particular attachment to my own, didn't feel it defined me in any way, plus it was constantly misspelled and mispronounced. I sometimes vaguely regret not keeping mine, but only because I feel judged by those women who insist that changing your name is the wrong thing to do!


Numbat2022 · 04/07/2022 16:27

I agree, and am quite disappointed in all my friends (married in their early/mid 30s, educated, independent women) who ALL bloody changed their names. I knew I would never change mine from my late teens, and assumed everyone saw it for the outdated practice it is. I also decided my child would have my name well before I even met my partner. Fortunately he agreed (and that is one of many reasons I chose to have a child with him...)


Psychgrad · 04/07/2022 17:38

I agree @Numbat2022, I wouldn’t be able to take myself seriously if I took my husbands name without even questioning the sexist tradition.

OP posts:

Aquilegia23 · 04/07/2022 17:45

It's a choice as to whether or not you take your husband's surname. I wouldn't say that it's going back to the 1950s though.
The general expectation is that a married couple have the husband's name, but it's not cast in stone. It might change in the future, but I don't see it as a big deal either way.


SarahShorty · 04/07/2022 17:48

The point of taking your husband's name is to carry the family name on. I took my husband's name because I hated mine. To each their own.


Lottapianos · 04/07/2022 17:54

'You must see that this is because of years of socialisation, though? It’s not a choice made freely'

Absolutely right. It really is depressing that so many women go along with it


SecondhandTable · 04/07/2022 18:01

Me and my DH both double-barrelled our names upon marriage, and our kids have the same double-barrelled surname too. There was no way in hell I would have taken a husband's surname, but I'm from a mixed ethnic background with one immigrant parent and in their culture/country women keep their own name upon marriage. Children do have their fathers surnames though, which I wasn't happy with. Before we married we agreed any future children would have our names double-barrelled as their surname. I then thought whether to keep my surname or double-barrel it and I decided to double-barrell as I wanted to have the same surname as any future kids. I assumed DH would just keep his surname but he decided to also double-barrell his as he didn't want to be the only person in our future family with a different surname.

I don't know a single other woman in any of my circles who kept their surname upon marriage, double-barelled or whose husband took their surname or double-barelled their surname. Im in my twenties as well so young women.

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