Marriage/Name Change

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Mon Apr 8 11:53:21 EST 1996


In article <4k113i$n90 at ds2.acs.ucalgary.ca>, sfraser at acs5.acs.ucalgary.ca
(Sherri Fraser) wrote:

 Later on I had a discussion with somebody in
> the lab I work in as a graduate student and she summed it up for
> me very well.  What is the difference in taking your husband's
> name or keeping your father's?  They are both men's names. 

I have never understood the point of this argument. I think there's a big
difference between taking one's husband's father's name, or keeping one's
own father's name.   If a woman's surname at birth is "really her father's
name" and not hers, then her "husband's name" is also HIS father's name
and not his.  My father isn't perfect (whose is?), but I'd sure prefer
being named after him than after any of the potential father-in-law
candidates I've seen. I realize this isn't true for everyone; on the other
hand, I still feel that the point is not that they are "men's" or
"women's" names, but that if the family system is working correctly--and
many don't--that one's origin, heritage, and identity can and should be
something to be proud of, regardless of whether it comes from the male or
female side. 

Anyway, by keeping her birth surname, a woman has a chance to break this
whole cycle of women being named after men.  I have a friend, a single
mother, whose daughter has her name (my friend's, i.e. the mother's, or,
if we want to use this argument, the mother's father's name).  It seems to
me that the daughter is now named after her mother, and will have the
chance, not common to many women at present, to keep a woman's name
throughout life.  If I give my daughters my name, they will have the
chance to do the same.  Then this whole argument about how what's the
point of keeping it because "it's still your father's (a man's) name" will
go away.

Karen



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