I am not changing my name after I get married. I have never considered doing it. It was not up for discussion, it was never an option. There was an extremely, and I mean really miniscule, chance that I would hyphenate, but only under very specific circumstances (my future husband would have to hyphenate, too). This was an extremely simple and easy decision to make, and really, it has absolutely nothing to do with Steve. In fact, I had pretty much already decided before we even met.
This may sound somewhat militant to some of you. And truthfully, I’m fine with that. I’m pretty militant about keeping my name. Notice, though, that I’m talking about me keeping my name. If other people want to change theirs, I’m fine with that.
Actually, though, that’s not completely true. I’m fine with women changing their names on an individual level; of course, I believe that everyone should be able to make their own choices about their names. But on a societal level, I’m not ok with name-changing standards at all.
I do appreciate the fact that, these days, women keeping their names is generally culturally acceptable (although not in certain pockets). However, it is still really a choice only for women. I know so many who debated back and forth, not really sure what they wanted to do. I’ve read even more personal accounts on the internet of real, hard, gut-wrenching struggles with this choice. By and large, these accounts are all written by women. The standard is still that women are the ones who will choose whether or not to change their names. I mean, the guy is obviously going to keep his, right? I know there are some circumstances where men hyphenate or even take their wife’s name, but these are few and far between, and, I suspect, only happening in hippie towns (I’m looking at you, Northampton!).
Caitlin Moran’s (go read her book right now) test for whether something is sexist is to ask, “Are men worrying about this?” I think that’s a great question. Until men really struggle with the decision to change their names, things are not equal. I told Steve, who certainly believes in egalitarianism, that I was only really willing to discuss my choice to keep my name if we were going to discuss his choice to keep his. And he couldn’t really think of any discussion that needed to happen regarding keeping his name. I feel the same way.
So, after the wedding, I will not become Barbra Arthurs, or Mrs. Steven Arthurs (I mean, I still will exist as a separate person, right?). Barbra Resnick I will remain, forever.