Why Women Keeping Their Maiden Names Is the New Normal
After a tear-shedding engagement, bridesmaid/groomsman/officiant question popping, ceremony + reception planning and finally the actual wedding, the next big decision on the marriage checklist is whether you’ll be changing your last name or not.
Recently, Zoe Saldana and her husband Marco Perego made headlines when he chose to take her last name instead of the typical wife-to-husband name converting (sidenote, her response to the “sexist crybabies” regarding the couple’s decision was A++). While that modern couple could very well be starting a trend of their own, it appears that there’s another one brewing, and it involves women simply keeping their maiden name after they’re wed and the reasons behind that choice are uh-mazing!
According to a study posted on The New York Times’The Upshot blog, around 30% of women have kept some form of their names after exchanging vows in recent years — 20% completely kept their name + 10% hyphenated it with their spouse’s. That number is a huge rise compared to the ’80s + ’90s when 14% and 18% held tight to their surnames, respectively.
The analysis also uncovered that women who married older, aren’t religious, have children from a prior marriage, have an advanced degree or have an established career are more likely to opt out of accepting their partner’s name as their own. Check out the top three reasons highlighted in The Upshot piece on why newly wed women are keeping their maiden name below. Prepare yourself for the girl power feels.
1. I’ve Had It All My Life: Donna Suh, a woman interviewed for the report, shared why she didn’t change her name.“It’s not necessarily a feminist reason, but it’s just my name for 33 years of my life. Plus, I’m Asian and he’s not, so it’s less confusing for me to not have a white name. And on social media I thought it might be harder to find me.”
2. Society Changes: Laurie Scheuble, sociology professor at Penn State, believes the change is driven by society. In the report, she was quoted as saying that the resurgence in keeping names could be because women now go to college at higher rates than men, celebrities often keep their names and couples commonly live together before marriage. Laurie stated, “When they do get around to marrying, they’ve already lived in a household with two names, so maybe it seems normal to them.”
3. Career-Based Decision: With couples getting married later, women are making a name for themselves professionally before tying the knot, and altering their name could cause confusion. Donna echoed that sentiment by stating, “So many women are working and they have established careers for themselves, it almost seemed bigger to decide to take his name than to not take his name.”
Is keeping your maiden name #marriagegoals or not? Let us know why or why not in the comments.