Thursday, March 15, 2007

What's in a Name?

There are many things that happen when a couple becomes lawfully wedded. They move in together (if in fact, they have not put the cart before the horse already), decided who is going to take the lead in certain areas (finances, etc), and they start the conversion process of becoming one unit.

The initial purposes of a blended family name came from initially the woman adopting the customs of the home that she has been welcomed into. It was a show of solidarity and uniformity. Don't quote me, but I also know that it was also (at least with tribes) a way to idenfity certain tribes/groups of people.

With that said, with an ever-evolving change in (Western) culture and civilization we are seeing a number of different things evolving behind surnames. Here are the options. For the purposes of neutrality, I will reserve my opinion about how I feel about this until all people have commented.

Traditional - Female Surname Change: This is the most common practice of most people for many reasons - religious, historic, tradition, fairy tale-esq. Also utilized for purposes of as to not 'confuse' things, to keep in solidarity with children, and to fulfill, what is often times, a lifelong wish of many women to 'change their last name'.

Modern - Female Blend and/or hyphenation. Often times, linguistic things are lost (ethnic, only child last name) become lost in the shuffle when a woman transitions over to the husband. In a show of solidarity to the marriage, as well as recognizing keeping her heritage intact, she will elect to substitute her middle name for her maiden name, or hyphenate her last name for that reason.

Post-Modern - Keeping the Surname. Most people who do this is for innumerable reasons, many of which I could never support here. It seems prevalent in the workplace with women who work outside the home who have longstanding histories with their employer/line of work, or those that don't align their philophies with a patriach - type structure. Or, they just never got around to it.

Metrosexual - Husband changing their last name. It's becoming more and more popular, either by name change, or blending of the last names. Our very own mayor is one of those people who did this. A girlfriend of mines also indicated that her dude's brother opted to hyphenate his name because the children's names were hyphenated, and he didn't want to be 'left out'.

I have a few male readers - I would like for you to openly express how you feel about this and your reasons (if any) behind the feelings that you do have.

Females - please also feel free to express yourself. I will post my opinions after most have commented.

So you tell me, What's In A Name?


Anonymous said...

I think with women getting married later in life and having established themselves with their maiden name, it's hard to just give that name up. I floated between taking my husband's name and hyphenating my name when I got married. I was very happy to "take" my husband's name but I didn't want to just drop my maiden name because I'm an only child and didn't want to lose that connection. I also didn't want to replace my middle name with my maiden name because my middle name is very unique and meaningful.

I decided against the hypen because it just would have been too long and cumbersome. But ideally I would have gone that route just to preserve my maiden name. I didn't like the idea of having two middle names or two last names either. I ended up dropping my maiden name which didn't make my mother happy because she heard that some women did that when their father's weren't involved in their lives and they felt no ties to his last name. My parents have been married 30+ years so that wasn't the case with me.

If I had to do it all over again, I think I would just have 2 middle name. Actually if I could do it all over again, I wouldn't get married but that's a whole 'nother story.

chele said...

I took my first husband's name but when the marriage was annulled I went back to my maiden name and gave our son my maiden name.

I took my second husband's name and when we divorced I kept it. He remarried and (jokingly) addressed me as my maiden name. Whatever.

If I get married again I will take his name too. I can't be married to one man and carry the name of another. I'm just old-school like that.

Glad you're back. ;)

P said...

@ Anonymous. (I'm dying to know who you iz):

It's not a literal losing of the name really, it's more of I guess the way you write things out, but I understand where you are coming from. . . Hell, my middle name is Ann so that's neither here nor there. Still a part of me, though. :)

@ Chele: I don't know how this sounds (take it as a compliment), but I'm really surprised at your comments. Don't take it wrong, because for sure, I don't see you as one of those bra burning women with an appetite for destroying men, not at all. I guess that I can't explain why I'm surprised. I am impressed though.

The Best [ Ghostface ] said...

This is a very interesting situation, a name carries power also Tina turner kept Ike turner's last name for career reasons. Angela Bowie was married to Davis Bowie but kept his last name for recognition. Vanessa Bell Calloway her husband's name is Calloway but is her original maiden name. In Latino (Hispanic) culture the children take the mother maiden name as a middle type name and the father's name as a last name. Like Julio Cesar Tapia Chavez, Tapia is the mother maiden name Chavez the Father's. I feel that is all depends upon how a female feels about that, I see nothing wrong with a female having her maiden name and the last name of her husband. Example Sarah Hunter Olivier, Olivier is her husbands last name, and Hunter is her maiden name. On all documents her name is like this - > Sarah Hunter Olivier. But when people ask her for her last name she can just say Sarah Olivier ( pronounced like the last name of actor Laurence Olivier). She can use her middle name on all documents to but when people ask she can just say Sarah Ann Olivier and leave Hunter out.

If there is a divorce then she can go back to Hunter or maybe keep Olivier because it is more established and a lot of connection and attention has been built up around that name. There have been some women who have changed the name of their kids from their Fathers maiden names after divorce out of anger and resentment. But the woman (ex wife) keeps the maiden name of her ex husband because she is stilled hurt emotionally, trying to be negative and make him mad, or is still attracted to him and wish they never got a divorce, is still proud to have been his wife and holds on to the name for endearment, etc..
Think about it change the kids last name but wants to keeps the name her self. But don't want to go back to her maiden name but wants to give it (her maiden name) to the kid.

I have no problems with males and females combining their last names to create a unique last name for marriage. A man will take his wife last name for specific reason like Jane Kennedy's husband Leon took hr last name in the 1970s. But she was more famous than her was so it was obvious why. If I ever married, I would have no problems with my DEAR, having her last name as a part of her middle name.
If she wants to keep her last name and not take mine, we can talk about but if she insist on keeping her last name I have no problems with it. You have to find out what you feel comfortable with. I would definitely insist that the children have my last name.

Do what makes you feel comfortable an talk it out with your future husband. Sometimes a compromise can be reached.

Peach said...

I prefer taking my husbands name. I dont know why but I do. Maybe its cuz I have issues and I wanna be able to say "Bitch IM MRS JONES" lmao. Nah, really though, I am a traditional person.

Metro sexual sounds weird as hell to me, and when I think of a man taking a woman's last name I see an overbearing DOMINANT WOMAN and a meak week little man. Thats just me.

Peach said...

okay weak, sheesh. lol

P said...

@ Best Ghostface:

I knew you would bring something interesting, to say the least, to the table.

@ Peach: LMAO at your comment. I'm this close to disclosing how I feel about one of the ones that I listed, but considering I told you I was laughing at your comment, I guess that gives it away.

Terry said...

Well, I don't think I'll be changing my name if I ever get married again. It's just too hard to remeber my own damn name as it is.

As for her, well, what ever floats your boat. I could care less as long as the IRS keeps it straight.

The Best [ Ghostface ] said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
smoothie said...

my wife is from a nother country and we decided to hyphenate her last name so she could keep it.(rahter unique last name ) It works for me.

Miz JJ said...

I can not see myself giving up my last name entirely. It is so part of my personality. Then I would not be JJ anymore. That doesn't work for me. I think I would probably hyphenate. I have a friend who did the metrosexual thing. They both changed their middle name to the girl's maiden name and she took his last name. Nobody really knows about it (how often do you use your middle name), but she said it makes them feel like more of a couple since they both had to change their names. I like that idea, but I still like my own last name more. Lol.

My mom kept her last name she divorced my dad. She said she wore that name better than anyone in that family. Lol.

The Best [ Ghostface ] said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think that it doesn't really make a difference anymore. I have 2 middle names by birth and 2 last names by marriage. In fact I didn't hyphenate my name until I divorced my ex and I only did it because of my children. Two of them have my maiden name and one has my married name, although all of my children have the same father. I told my ex that I didn't think that I should have to change my name and that he should change his to mine, of course he laughed at me.

But if I had it all to do over again, I would definitly change my name to my husband's, because I would be proud to be a part of someone that I loved and respected so much.

P said...

As for what I think:

I believe that it is important for everyone to understand where they come from. I equally believe that your identity is not attached to your name.

So, for the purposes of locating your heritage 200 years or so down the line, I vote for putting your maiden name as your middle name, (which is, according to my mother, the directive that many took down south) and then opting for the surname of your male spouse. I don't like hypens (personal preference) because it seems to me as if the hypen is something that speaks "Hey, I can detach you at any time mutha fucka"

That's just me.

So, let's just say I married Idris Elba or Reggie Bush :) Then I would opt for P Haley Elba, et al. I would love for the family to be represented on one accord. I will ALWAYS be a Haley. That will NEVER change, but if you want to get real ugly with it I'm not even sure what my original name is, considering this is probably a plantation name anyway. I know my name is originally Irish (O'Haley), but the O was dropped well over a century ago, so It certainly didn't come from my native ethnicity. I'm not trying to get all Malcolm X on here, but I know that who I am is both my name, and who I am NOT is someone so caught up in my name, that I am not willing to stand as a blended unit in my new household, and I am. Meaning. . .I'll adopt the name into mines. It would be an honor.

Plus, whatever my sweetie wants, that's what Imma give him - if in fact that's what he wants. . . :P

GC (God's Child) said...

Visiting for the first time from Miz JJ's blog and I'm just gonna go ahead and jump right in.

I don't want to disappear. If you knew me when I was Janet Ogletree, and you wonder how I'm doing and what I've been up to since the third grade, and I've changed my name to Janet Von Frankenburger, how are you supposed to find me?

I'm not married and very few of my friends are. One hyphenated her name. The other three took their husbands'. Whatever floats your boat.

The Phoenix aka ThatGirlTam said...

I'm all late responding to this post - cuz you know I'm busy as hell at work IMing n'shit right? HAHAHAHA

Ok, so here's the deal...I made the decision to retain my maiden name long before I ever met my husband. My sister and I are the only two LeBlanc women left in my family and I'm proud of my heritage and my name. Now...professionally I use my maiden name, but when it comes to family shit, I flip flop...sometimes I'm Tam LeBlanc-Morgan and sometimes I'm Tam know I'm hella fickle so I change my mind often - but dropping my last name was never an option.

The only one thrilled with that choice is my daddy! HAHHAH

Passion Promises said...

@ GC:

Why do you think you are going to disappear. You will always be who you are, and it's not attached to a name.

But that's just me and my big azz mouf.

@ Tam

How can you disappear when your broom flies all over the world? (Inside joke)