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Will my feminist friends hate me if I change my last name after the wedding?

Posted by Angel Babbitt Harris  April 10, 2013 07:28 PM

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Okay. Perhaps hate is a strong word. Let me explain.

I recently read "Why Should Married Women Change Their Names? Let Men Change Theirs" penned by Guardian columnist Jill Filipovic. The article left me feeling a tinge of hateration toward my choice to add the Mister's name to my own after we get married. It led me to wonder how my feminist crusader-type friends would react to my choice. Through research on the topic, I discovered that everyone from feminists to traditionalists, conservatives to liberals, and average Joes to average Janes have an opinion on the matter!

Let's begin with Filipovic's point of view. In her article, she states that our names are part of our identity and to change them is to give up the most "basic marker" of who we are. She goes on to explain that she understands why women do it given the social judgement of a sexist culture we work so hard to lean in to every day of our existence as womankind.

Then the article took an interesting turn. After stating that she gets it, she proceeds to criticize women who change their last names by saying the reasons we give are not good enough, they make no sense. The always popular response of "We want our family to share a name" or "His last name sounds better" are just excuses.

The article closes with a push to challenge men to change their last names. Hmph. I guess if Jay-Z did it, every man should.

I struggled with accepting Filipovic's article as the gospel and decided to poll my Facebook friends, coworkers, and even people I sat next to on the train. Surprisingly, most people agree with Filipovic. Many women in my circle kept their names or are choosing to keep them after marriage, with some doing the hypenation thing, and a nearly extinct few dropping their names completely.

Eeek! I may be outnumbered on this one.

My reason for deciding to add his name is simple: it's MY choice. How's that for a feminist stance? I don't subscribe to the notion that changing my last name means that my identity is gone forever. The addition of his name does not result in the subtraction of who I am as a person. I'll still be me., what do YOU think?

Women: Did you or do you plan to change your last name once married?
Why or why not?

Men: Did you or would you pull a Jay-Z and take on your wife's last name? Why or why not?

Same sex couples: Where do you stand on the issue?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About this blog

Angel Babbitt Harris, formerly of the Expertly Engaged blog, is now "Newly Wed" and learning how to navigate life as a happy wife. Angel lives for weekend getaways to Brooklyn with her husband and anything currently playing on Netflix. She works as a Marketing Manager for a non-profit organization in Boston. Need newlywed advice? Have newlywed advice to give? Reach Angel directly at or tweet her at @MrsHarrisTweets.

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