Monday, June 29, 2015
Marriage and Names
Anyway the Times recently printed the graph above, which shows that despite all the battles over feminism and the like the percentage of married women keeping their maiden names really hasn't changed very much. I found this surprising; I would have thought the number would be much higher than 22 percent. This is probably because there are major class and educational differences, with "higher income urban women" much more like to keep their birth names; about half the brides who have appeared in the Times style section have done so. Surely female academics are similar.
But among regular Americans, taking the husband's name is still the norm. Rather than lingering patriarchy, I see this as a matter of just not knowing what else to do. If you plan to have children, you have to face the question of what to call them, and I see the appeal of wanting the whole household to share one name -- we are the Bedells, which is nice. Hyphenating is a one-generation solution. Smith and Jones can name their daughter Heather Smith-Jones, but what happens when she marries Bob Gretsky-Lamarr?
So I don't have any recommendation, just my usual hope that people will do what works for them and not judge each other about it.
While I am on the subject, I have to say that I am also a little puzzled by the continued prominence of weddings in the dreams of young women. I always imagined that women who were planning careers for themselves (or fretting about not having one) would have less thought to spare for their weddings, but if anything weddings seem to be getting ever bigger and more elaborate. Explanations?