As soon as a woman announces her engagement, countless questions start pouring in: “When’s the wedding?” “Are you pregnant?” “What kind of dress are you thinking of getting?” and, of course, “Are you going to change your name?”
In more recent years, the tradition of women changing their name after getting married and assuming their new husband’s surname has seen some pushback. More young women today than ever before are choosing to keep their maiden names or simply go by Ms., questioning why a woman should have to essentially leave behind the identity she’s had her entire life while men are never faced with the strange task of changing the name he was born with.
And yet another facet of the anti-Mrs. movement is the notion that a woman is a bad feminist if she chooses to take on her husband’s name or changes her title to Mrs., perpetuating a sexist tradition that treats women more like property to be obtained than like individuals. The arguments against changing our surname are certainly intriguing, but are they necessarily correct?
Changing Our Title Can Give Us a Fresh Start
Getting married is life-changing. We no longer live with only our needs in mind, do whatever we please, and have total selfish freedom. It forces us to change, grow, and assume a new identity in life, one of another person’s life partner.
Becoming a Mrs. helped me feel more connected to my husband.
While women who established their career before getting married are understandably wary of having to reestablish themselves with a new name, it can actually help us step into a new phase in life. Becoming a Mrs. came with the implication that I was now responsible for more than just myself, and helped me feel more connected to my husband. Leaving behind my maiden name didn’t make me feel like property, but instead like a new, different woman.
It Also Lets Others Know We’re off the Market
It’s no secret that men do the majority of pursuing in romantic relationships, and if a guy sees that we go by Ms., he might assume we’re single, leading us to the awkward moment when he asks us out and we tell him Sorry, I’m married. But one of the best things about being a Mrs.? It easily lets everyone know we’re off the market, keeping us from all sorts of uncomfortable moments and conversations with guys who thought otherwise.
It Creates a Better Environment for Children
Even with some women choosing to keep their maiden name or go by Ms., children will typically inherit their father’s surname. Although not every couple will choose to pass on the father’s name, sharing a name with our husband, and changing our title, can help create an environment in which children see their parents as a united front or partnership, instead of as two separate people. It can also lend itself to creating a strong family culture, helping children feel proud to be part of the clan their parents created.
Sharing a last name can help children feel proud to be part of the clan their parents created.
Changing our name and title is a personal choice. That being said, taking our husband’s name and becoming a Mrs., though seen as the ultimate anti-woman move, doesn’t make us weak women or someone’s property. Choosing to be known as a Mrs. is powerful, helps us create a deeper bond with our husband, and gives us the opportunity to live into the meaningful, challenging role of being a wife.