Dec 21, 2011

99. The Name Game

Your name. It's not something you necessary think about a lot - you're born with and use to it. When you get older and get engaged, the wheels start churning about the inevitable topic of changing your last name. In March, the wedding website surveyed nearly 19,000 women who got married last year. Of those women, 86 percent took their husband's name. 

My husband said he would still marry me if I didn't want to change my name, but he wouldn't be happy about it. He said it makes us a family and bonds us together.

86% is staggeringly high; however, just because women are willing to do it - doesn't make it any easier. I was my maiden name for 23 years - it's my mom and dad's last name...I really liked it. I was super excited to become my husband's wife but it didn't make letting go of "Gamble" any easier...especially since 99% of the people I grew up with all informed me how I would still be called Gamble which remains my nickname to all of them.

Kelly Ripa is legally Kelly Consuelos (her husband's last name) but she still goes by Ripa. In order to show her loyalty to her husband, she got his name tattooed to her wrist.

And even though most of us aren't Kelly Ripa - doesn't make it any less important to the value of what we put into our name change.

The reasons women cite for taking their spouse's surname vary: some like the tradition of it, and others find it romantic. In some cases, it's more important to their husbands, and some feel it will be more convenient once they have children. Some women even argue, counter-intuitively, that taking their husband’s name is a feminist choice.

The idea of marriage is two people coming together is like the joining from two teams to one team. And doesn't it make more sense to have one team name? House of Morgenroth? Simpler yet more complicated for the woman making the decision.

It's a difficult decision, you're changing a part of yourself. For me - it was much more difficult than I thought. Being a journalist I have been publishing for a number of years now under "Gamble" - I was concerned that my new name may be difficult to transition to. So while I am legally Morgenroth, professionally published I choose to be Gamble-Morgenroth. I love my new last name but it's hard to just walk away. And don't even get me started on switching email address. I do have an email bearing my new last name - my old email address reigns because it has just way to many emails, filters and labels in it to fathom switching over.

An obvious reason that people fret over this - is when it comes to children. Do you really want your kids to be hyphenated? Or make some type of mixed last name? The truth is - all members of the family bearing one name symbolizes the one team of a family that you are.

I personally think women can do whatever they want. You can be...
- Sara J. Gamble-Morgenroth professionally and Sara J. Morgenroth legally and personally
-  Khlo√© Kardashian Odom - and make your former last name your new middle name
- Katy Perry professionally and Katy Brand legally

The Blog Bitch PhD is very against the name is a snippet of the post found here.

Here's the case for keeping one's name. It's a sign of autonomy in a world where women are still regarded as inferior and are expected to defer to their husbands. It requires that you do no paperwork. It requires that you make no announcements about your new name, or that you ever have to visit the Social Security Administration related to your name. Your old friends will still be able to find you. All the work that you've already done under your name will continue to be identified with your current self. You will be, in your small way, working to change the culture of male-dominated families and male-dominated societies. Even those dreaded questions, that people will ask you, will give you an opportunity to present a different model and advance the cause of gender equality.

My bottom line opinion is that people should do what they want. I won't judge you for changing your name or not changing your name. It's such a personal decision that who are we as outsiders to judge why each person to decide why something is done?

I changed my name. So what. People can't spell it right, it's almost double the size of my old maiden name...but it's mine.


Looking for name changing information? Please check out these great sources:

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