Surname - To change or not to change?

Surname – To change or not to change?


In societies across the world, the practice has always been for women to take their husband’s surname after marriage. As per the so called tradition which all of us have been accustomed to, women get rid of their family (father’s) surname as soon as they get married.  But why is it required? As someone said – What’s in a name?

It’s always said that changing surnames keeps things quite easy. If we consider our personal documents like passports, marriage certificates etc. people tend to raise eyebrows if both the husband and wife have different surnames. Why do they raise eyebrows? Answer: Because it has been followed as a practice for years on end.

Many think taking up their husband’s surname give wives the right family identity since they come from a different house, traditions and beliefs. In inter-religion or inter-caste marriages, changing surnames takes a completely different meaning altogether.

But why should women change their surnames? Why can’t men do the same? Or instead, why does either partner require to change his or her name? The answer lies in the past when wives were considered as individuals who couldn’t fend for themselves but instead had to be dependent on their husbands to get on with their lives in every way possible.

The financial independence and stability we talk about with respect to women today in many countries wasn’t even thought about in the not so recent past. Wives were simply considered as possessions who could be ruled over by their husbands.

Detractors of women changing their surnames think that doing this is proof of women considering themselves inferior to men. They feel that its a single for men to do anything they wish.

Whatever be the case, as years have passed by, a lot many women have started to prefer keeping both their own and their husband’s surname. Interestingly, there are also a few men who have decided to adopt their wives surnames after marriage.

In the end, I firmly believe that both the partners should be free to make their own decisions on matters relating to changing their names after marriage. There’s no point in forcing such things down people’s throats.

Linking to NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month – April – My post no 4 for this month.

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