Once you鈥檝e popped the engagement Champagne and posted your new bling to Instagram, brides-to-be know that what follows is an onslaught of well-meaning, but pretty darn nosy questions. Whether you鈥檙e debating the perfect wedding colors or if you should take your fiance鈥檚 last name, you鈥檒l soon find out that everyone and their mother has an opinion. Now science is joining the conversation too.

Female writing on paper

New research in the academic journal Gender Issues delves deep into what people *really* think about women who have and have not changed their names. According to Portland State University researcher Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer, a woman鈥檚 choice to change 鈥 or keep 鈥 her name doesn鈥檛 affect the opinions of women and highly educated men in the US. But when it comes to American men with lower education levels, it鈥檚 a whole other story.

Couple signing documents with real estate agent

Shafer鈥檚 research suggests that men of lower education levels view women who don鈥檛 change their names as 鈥渓ess committed wives鈥 than women who do change their last name, or even women with hyphenated last names. Asked about a made-up scenario where a husband pitches in more with housework in order to support his wife, who鈥檚 working late at the office to get a promotion, less educated men were harder on non-name-changing women than women who changed their last name, even saying the husbands in the scenario were more justified in divorcing them (insert *huge* groan). Shafer used 2010 survey data from 1,253 US residents, though it鈥檚 important to note that 73 percent of the survey participants were white.

Shafer says her research was inspired by the contentious debate in the 1980s over Hillary Rodham鈥檚 decision to change her name to Hillary Rodham Clinton. While it鈥檚 hard to believe now, back then many political pundits blamed Bill Clinton鈥檚 early gubernatorial loss on Hillary鈥檚 initial refusal to change her last name. Shafer鈥檚 research demonstrates that we still have a long way to go before men and women are judged equally, and that even the most trivial of things can affect a woman鈥檚 chance for success. We weren鈥檛 short on proof that feminism matters, but we鈥檒l take it anyway.

Do you plan to change your name after you get married? Did changing your name have a major effect on your life? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!

(Photos via Getty)