marriage and name-changing

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Wed Sep 10 13:56:46 EST 1997


In article <v02140b01002801f25c47@[128.163.192.199]>,
lisa vaillancourt <vaillan at POP.UKY.EDU> wrote:
>I find it interesting that women feel free to decide for themselves whether
>they will take their husbands name, keep their own, or even have their
>husband take their name, but few question the tradition of giving children
>(especially male children) the name of the husband.  What is this
>overwhelming need of men to leave offspring to carry on their name?  Women
>have rarely had this opportunity or, apparently, this great need (except
>rather recently in the case of single mothers, who frequently give the
>child their own name).  Legally, I believe the children can have any last
>name.  Why don't we question this?

Some do.  A couple people on this group have posted in the past 
that their female children either have or will have their names.  I 
remember cutting an article out of the San Francisco Examiner maybe 5
years ago, by Sarah Pattee, addressing the issue.  She was married to
a man with the last name of Henigson, and their son was named "Harley
Mack Pattee Henigson."  If they had daughters, the two final names would
be reversed.  In Spain, wives don't change their names, and children
get hyphenated names, consisting of the parents' fathers' names (the
first of the hypenated pair that the parents have).  

I think that people who believe in these sorts of solutions ought to
keep talking about them, get them out in the open, so that we realize
all the choices we do have.  Unfortunately, the amount of hostility that 
greets some of these alternative naming solutions that I have seen, is
truly mind-boggling to me.  I was just discussing this issue with a friend
who feels the same way I do (attached to her birth name) and she 
brought up the response of a mutual acquaintance of ours to our feelings:
this woman said "all the women I know who haven't changed their names have
had their marriages fail."  With this kind of attitude still out there,
no wonder these conventions are still so hard for people to question.

Karen





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