I love this article, and I wholeheartedly agree!
Personally, I have come to the same concrete decision of keeping my last name when/if I get married for both professional and feminist reasons (a decision met with lukewarm approval of my current long term boyfriend).
However, keeping the big picture in mind — I just don’t know how the children’s last names would ever be handled. It would be a much easier path to deciding last names of say, I become a single mom, give them my last name with my family/society agreeing with my decision, and then get married. But that sounds like a lot of work to avoid a topic even more taboo than the bride’s possible name change.
It seems like such a daunting task for future me (and many other women) to approach last names of children. I ideally want to marry a man to who, when the day comes, thinks it logical to discuss whose last name the child should attain. Discuss it as if it’s a 50/50 partnership where both parties have equal rights to the child’s last name. It’s out of the question for me personally to hyphenate with anyone because my last name is long and even teamed with the shortest of last names, it would still be torture for the child. It’s also out of the question that I would concede my last name to be the child’s middle name because that just doesn’t sit right with me. I would want a discussion followed by an agreement — doesn’t matter if the end result is my last name or his — I just want it to be approached fairly.
But it just feels like even asking for a fair discussion on the topic is insane to want. That’s the feeling everyone around me gives off — especially my strong independent mother. I don’t understand how someone who is so amazing could tell me in the same breath “wow that’s great — you should keep your last name!” And then later say on the topic of a child possibly having my last name: “What?! That’s ridiculous! That’s his child. Those are his kids…of course they should have his last name. Now you’re just being silly.”
Feels like after one uphill battle to have everyone accept one “radical” decision….just comes another that’s even more “radical”. All this extra fighting and handling criticism on the shoulders of women,while men just sit back and have every tradition rule in their favor.
If anyone has gotten this far and has any thoughts on the matter, I’d love to know.