Eugene Volokh is looking for statements by married women who consider themselves feminists that changed their names upon marriage. The overwhelming conclusion from those who responded is that having different names would be too confusing for the children.
Fred Vincy at Stone Court weighs in with the Vincy/Garth arrangement.
Mary and I have one little Vincy and one little Garth, so each is not only “different” from his brother but from one of his parents. They’ve certainly expressed interest in this constellation of names from time to time, but I’ve never sensed that either of them ever had the slightest sense of not belonging or that we were not really a family or any of the other things that the Volokh commenters seemed concerned about. Moreover — and I will say I was actually a little surprised by this — it has made almost no difference to other people either.
The jury is still out for me. Ethan and I already have different last names. Considering what might be best for him should one buy the different names/alienated children logic, I should keep my last name so that he doesn’t feel left out if I changed my name and had more children.
I don’t necessarily buy this line of thinking, in which case any future marital partner must have an absolutely kickass name that sounds awesome with Lauren. My last name is already mono-syllabic, easy to spell, and hasn’t resulted in any unfortunate nicknames or mispronunciations, so I don’t see much incentive to change it at all. My older sister didn’t change hers, and has said on occasion that it ended up being a clerical pain in the ass. Perhaps, but that’s not enough to convince me. I imagine that going through the hassle of changing one’s name is a pain in the ass as well. My mom took her maiden name as her middle name and I quite liked that, so much so that Ethan’s middle name is my last.
For awhile I entertained the idea of having a dual name change, in which case I would campaign for Mozilla (not after the browser, but after seeing someone on MSNBC with the name) only with a Spanish flair. Mo-zee-ya. But then, that leaves any future children up for the unfortunate nicknames of Godzilla, Mothzilla and other reptilian and horror creatures that are generally unflattering.
Jokes aside, from a feminist perspective I don’t find it that pressing of an issue. There are far greater things to worry about than what I am called, though I can certainly see why others take this issue quite seriously. Yes it is a political statement that I respect, and one that I condone especially for women who marry in the middle of their professional careers, but from this particular feminist’s corner it is entirely for vanity’s sake.
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