"Although a seemingly innocuous personal choice, the issue of marriage names sparked considerable debate in America. Many conservatives and religious leaders argued that a woman who does not take her husband's name is not committed to her role as a wife and that a man who does not insist that his wife take his surname is weak. ... Women who chose to retain their maiden name, however, argued that adopting their husband's name would be tantamount to enslaving themselves and foregoing individual rights."
Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints and Voices - "Marriage Names," By Roger Chapman, James Ciment
I...have so many issues with all of the above sentiments (which are expressed in lots of studies that I'm trying to get my hands on so I can read them in their original form and write about them for this blog). Because I'm spending so much time on this project, you may think I have strong judgmental views of women who take their husband's names. I don't. I don't care. You do you. I think the argument that a woman loses her identity by taking her husband's name is silly and literally the entire point of the name of this blog is an argument against that. However, I have equal problems with the opposite argument presented here - that women who don't take their husband's name are not committed to their relationships or their "role as wife."* I'm sorry, what? Pretty sure my relationship with my husband will not be less than another person's if I choose not to take his last name. I just want to be able to make my own decision without people judging me. (Yes, I'm aware that will never happen, but a girl can dream).
The thing is, the vast majority of arguments on either side of this issue get super personal and offensive very quickly. Can't we all just be friends and talk about these issues reasonably with an eye to historical and cultural context without fighting? ("No," the Internet whispers.)
Also - I really want to find a copy of this book to read at some point, it looks pretty fascinating. It is for sale on Amazon but I haven't found a way to justify buying it yet (I've accumulated so many books in the course of this project already - it's a problem).
*What does that actually mean anyway? Please explain. What does it mean to be "a wife?" Merriam Webster defines it as - "a female partner in a marriage." It's apparently derives from the Middle English/Old English "wif" and the Old High German "wib." I get a little more disturbed when the synonyms include "helpmate" and "helpmeet," which literally means "one who is a companion and helper, especially a wife," but is used in the sentences often to refer to people in more of an assistant type role.