Seriously, Why Can’t Men Take Their Wives’ Last Names?

I’ve never been one for tradition, but one custom that I find particularly outdated, sexist, and pointless is women taking their husbands’ names after marriage. I have no desire to change my last name when I say “I do”—if it’s such a big deal, why can’t my husband be Mr. Anderson?

Most guys probably wouldn’t even consider it. When couples get engaged, some elements aren’t even questioned. Generally, the guy buys the rings and the woman takes his last name after the wedding. It’s how it’s done because it’s always been like that. Sure, it may make sense for the bride to take her husband’s name, but why can’t it be the other way around? It should at least be a consideration and it’s just not.

Many women are just as attached to our last names as guys are to theirs. I love my last name—it’s been mine for 23 years and it defines me in a way as part of my family. It makes me feel comfortable and like I’m not alone in the world. I don’t like that it’s simply expected that I should have to change it just because I’m married. I used to be so sad when I thought I didn’t have a choice in the matter. Thankfully, I’ve realized I do.

Anyway, what if my husband’s last name is awful? To be honest, this has always been a valid fear of mine but it’s only a small part of why I feel so strongly about keeping my own name. What if I meet a perfect guy but his last name is unimaginably ugly, something like Shatt or Buttfunk or something? Am I supposed to love him enough to want that last name? Am I a bad person for thinking it’s ugly? I don’t think so. 

I don’t want to be forced to give up part of myselfOver the years, I’ve become a woman and a person I’m proud to be. I’m confident in my identity and changing my name makes me feel like I would be giving a part of that up, erasing the years of hard work I put into getting to where I am today. It’s not wrong to take your spouse’s name but I’m going to keep my own. My husband can take mine if he’s into it.

I’m not a man-hating feminist for wanting to keep my name—guys are misogynists for thinking so. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called a raging, man-hating feminist simply because I didn’t want to take a guy’s last name. Things tend to get even worse when I mention the possibility of my husband taking mine instead. What’s with the double standard? Men and women are supposedly equal, and this is especially true in relationships. Why am I wrong for wanting to keep my name but he’s not?

It takes a strong man to go against societal norms. And frankly, that’s the kind of guy I want. Many guys believe that if they took their wife’s last name, that’d make them less of a man. Maybe people wouldquestion his masculinity or claim that his wife is taking away his manhood. Hopefully, the man I marry will be strong enough and comfortable enough in himself to challenge society with me. The more guys break the mold like this, the more common and normal it’ll become.

The idea that I’m not giving 100% in my relationship if I keep my own name is laughable. The fact that some people think that my last name determines my level of commitment to my relationship is absolutely ridiculous but that hasn’t stopped many of them from making the correlation. I’m not ready to be a team with him, I’m too stubbornly independent, blah blah blah. Where’s the pressure on guys to go all-in? I feel like no one ever expects guys make concessions in relationships and it’s totally wrong.

Hyphenating names just isn’t appealing to me. Hyphenating my last name might seem like a happy medium in this situation but I’m still not feeling it. Both of us would get to keep our names and we can all live happily ever after, right? Not really. To be frank, I find hyphenated names long and unappealing. They never look right written down, they don’t sound nice, and they just seem like more of a hassle than they’re worth in general.

I wish more women felt confident refusing to take their husband’s last name. It’s hard to change tradition and alter what people view as non-negotiable but that’s no reason to go along with something just because the alternative is a bit out there. If a woman wants to change her name to her husband’s after they get married, she should go for it. If she doesn’t, so what? It’s really no big deal, and if her husband says it is, he should consider changing his.

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