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It’s Okay to Change Your Name

It’s Fine to Take Your Spouse’s Name

There are many reasons people still do it—and to misunderstand them is to misunderstand the possibilities of the modern family.

Pacific Standard, Aug. 31, 2015

Is your name the heart of your identity, or a patriarchal hand-me-down? If you lose it, is that choice or capitulation? The debate over women changing their names continues, and—at the risk of adding oxygen to a curiously unquenchable fire—I’d like to argue that supporting women who keep their names (as we should!) doesn’t necessitate scolding women who don’t. We should also resist making easy assumptions about why women take their spouse’s name; it’s the conventional path, yes, but that doesn’t mean their reasons are necessarily conventional.

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Photograph: Shutterstock / Fabrik Bilder