Monday, June 29, 2015

Will You Keep Your Maiden Name?

Maybe it's because words are my bread and butter, but people's post-wedding names have always fascinated me. How do you decide on your last name? Do you take your partner's? Do they take yours? Do you hyphenate? Or, do you get created, like some family friends did a couple years ago when they took each of their last names and made a completely new moniker?

I'll be doing an Open Letter on this topic tomorrow, but have you seen the recent New York Times article on the recent rise of the maiden name? It looks like they're coming back in vogue after declining in the '80s and '90s. But, as sociologists note, the trend resurgence seems to be more practical than political.

"The pressure is huge," said Laurie Scheuble, a sociology professor at Penn State who studies marital naming. "This is the strongest gendered social norm that we enforce and expect. When they do get around to marrying, they’ve already lived in a household with two names, so maybe it seems normal to them."

Scheuble said several factors could be swaying the modern woman's decision: Women now go to college at higher rates than men, celebrities often keep their names and couples commonly live together before marriage.

The article also cited some amazing stats, including...

*Roughly 20 percent of women married in recent years have kept their names, compared to about 17 percent of women who married for the first time in the 1970s. 

*Last year, 29.5 percent of women featured in the wedding pages of the New York Times kept their name, up from 26 percent in 2000 and a recent low of 16.2 percent in 1990. 

*Women are more likely to keep their names if they are older, not religious, have children from a previous marriage or have an advanced degree and established career.

What do you think, friends? Are you married? If so, did you keep your maiden name? Will you? And, perhaps even more interesting, what are the reasons behind your decision? I'd love to hear all about it! xoxo

[Photo by Linus Moran, via Moment Junkie]


  1. This is going to sound super wolfish, but I'm the last of my line. I have a very strong desire to preserve the family name.

  2. I had been at my job for over 10 yrs when I married and I kept my maiden name and added my husband's last name so I have two last names but no hyphen.

  3. I think I'll be keeping my maiden name if and when I do marry, unless he has a really awesome name that calls to me or we come up with something new together. My mom kept her maiden name, and I have her last name, so maybe if I keep mine and give it to my daughters I can start a matrilineal naming tradition.

  4. My partner's last name is way cooler than mine - it's Shakespeare (a distant relation too) and I'm a lit geek. Although as my dad only has daughters I might just keep mine and carry my family with me.

  5. Rambling, it's actually Shakespeare??? THAT IS SOOOO COOOL!!!! :)

  6. I kept my maiden name. The strongest factor for me was that I wanted to keep the name I had when I was first building my career and getting my MA, but I actually don't think I ever thought about changing my name. My mom took my dad's name so there was no reason for me to find it strange, but even as a little kid I think I just thought it sounded weird to change your name when you got married so I never really daydreamed or thought much about being a "Mrs." My husband's mom kept her name so I don't think he gave it much thought either. When I told him I wanted to keep my name he was just like "sure" and I think was a little surprised I bothered to tell him! ~ Laura


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