Half Of The US Think Changing Your Last Name After Marriage Should Be A Law


To be honest, I have no idea whether or not I will change my last name when I get married.

But what I do know is, it's up to me and only me whether or not that's going to happen.

But apparently, I'm not the norm.

A recent study surveying 1,200 adults found that more than 70 percent of adults in the US still believe that a woman should change her name after she gets married.

Furthermore, the study, published earlier this month in Gender Issues, also found about half of these people believed changing your last name should be required by LAW.

Of course, I have lots of questions here, starting with why do you care so much? And ending with please logically explain to me how women will be "punished" for not complying.

In the study's intro, researchers cite the name change of Hillary Rodham to Hillary Clinton as an example of our society's opinion on name changes.

Before she was Hillary Clinton, she was Hillary Rodham. She changed her name to Clinton after her husband lost his campaign for gubernatorial re-election in 1980.

People saw her refusal to change her last name to his as "strange, even offensive, and she was labeled a bad wife."

So in order to support her husband's campaign and appease to the American people, she went ahead and changed her last name.

In fact, women who don't adopt their husbands' last names are seen by lots of people in our culture as "bad wives," and as researcher and sociology professor Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer explained to Broadly, "women can face backlash at home."

According to Shafer, she believes a major reason for people pushing for name changes was that a majority of these people think a woman's marriage and family should be her top priorities.

The researchers also explained that their findings are significant because they show society's opinions on women changing their names haven't changed as much as we'd like to think they have.

But it seems education might also be a contributing factor here. Study results showed men with less education stuck most heavily to this super traditional belief about name changes.

Even more, they thought a woman not changing her name meant she wasn't as committed to her marriage.

Yep, believe it or not, we are talking about the year 2017 here.

But the point is, ladies, (for now at least) changing your name isn't a requirement, and you should reject any sort of societal assumption that you have to do it.

Citations: Hillary Rodham Versus Hillary Clinton: Consequences of Surname Choice in Marriage (Springer), Half Of Americans Think Women Should Change Their Last Names For Marriage (Refinery29), Half of Americans Think Women Should Be Required by Law to Take Husband's Name (Broadly)