Watching the stress women go through in changing their names to that of their male partners shows that most couples uncritically accept this practice because it is conventional.
This woman is running helter-skelter doing a Change of Name because she considers it compulsory as part of documentation to get a grant for her business.
But is it really necessary in today’s world? The marriage certificate shows two persons getting married and each of their names is spelt out clearly on the certificate. Why then does the woman need to do a change of name? If any entity wants proof of marital status, the marriage certificate should be sufficient.
It is a deeply patriachal culture which no longer serves its purpose. Women adopting the man’s name historically comes from the idea that a woman, on marriage, became one of the man’s possessions. Even in Britain where the idea was scrapped more than 100 years ago, 85% of those who consider themselves feminists either follow the practice or intend to when they get married. Norway is surprising for me to read. It is regularly ranked one of the top countries for gender equality in the world, yet majority of married women there still take their husband’s name. A twist over there though is that around half of them keep their maiden name as a middle name, which is something I consider of little practical value.
Several people close to me do it, a couple even have their husband’s names attached to theirs, but discussions with them show it comes mainly from two places: the man wants it or the woman believes that it shows to her husband and (appeases) the society, especially the husband’s family, that she is a ‘good’ woman committed to her new family.
I am a practical man, and the idea of changing all the documents I have gotten for almost half of my life to reflect the name of a partner, who may decide to leave me when push comes to shove, just doesn’t appeal to me. As a woman who changes her name, you have to pay for a Change of Name in the newspaper, get all your banking relationships up-to-date with your new surname, get a re-issue of your International Passport, update your driving licence, voter’s identity card and the likes.
How is this worth it?