TODAY, YVONNE KEATING is all over the newspapers.
Because she has changed her name back to her maiden name.
The former wife of Ronan Keating has changed her name back to Yvonne Connolly on her social media accounts, including Twitter and Instagram.
The whole thing has prompted a discussion on Twitter over whether a woman should even take her husband’s name in the first place.
In 2015, more and more women are opting to keep their own name after marriage, but a sizable proportion still opt to take their husband’s name. Others, meanwhile, settle for a happy medium and go for a double-barreled name.
For many women, the main motivation behind taking their husband’s surname is so that the whole family, including children, will share the same surname.
But in 2015, should you feel obliged to take your husband’s name?
It’s an entirely personal decision, of course, and women have a multitude of reasons for taking their husband’s names.
Here are just a few things to bear in mind, though.
1. First of all, it’s an archaic tradition
According to BBC, the tradition of adopting your husband’s name after marriage began over 1,000 years ago and notes that its roots are “controversial” and “deeply unsavoury”.
The married woman had formerly been a vassal with no surname at all, but now, in theory, she came to share the surname of her husband as a symbol of their legal and spiritual unity. However, if there was one person in a marriage, that person was the husband. Married women still could not hold property, vote, or go to law. Legally, at the point of marriage, they ceased to exist.
And so, essentially women became their husband’s property.
Hardly a romantic tradition, is it?
2. It means sacrificing a fairly crucial part of your identity
Explaining her decision to retain her maiden name, writer Jill Filipovic wrote in The Guardian that taking your husband’s name can impact a woman’s self-worth.
Your name is your identity. The term for you is what situates you in the world.
When women see our names as temporary or not really ours, and when we understand that part of being a woman is subsuming your own identity into our husband’s, that impacts our perception of ourselves and our role in the world.
3. Plus, a man is never automatically expected to give up his surname
Of course, some men do take their wife’s surname — the husband of Zoe Saldana recently just did that — but it isn’t automatically expected of them.
So why should women have to give up their maiden name or explain themselves when they don’t take their husband’s name?
Come on, guys.
4. Speaking of Zoe Saldana, she made a whole lot of sense when she said this…
Why is it so surprising, shocking- eventful that a man would take his wife’s surname? Women have never been asked if its ok for them to give up their names — why doesn’t that make the news?
Men, you will not cease to exist by taking your partner’s surname. On the contrary — you’ll be remembered as a man who stood by change. I know our sons will respect and admire their father more because their father lead by example.
5. Did we mention it makes Facebook a nightmare to navigate?
How are we supposed to creep on people we haven’t seen since we left primary school 20 years ago if they’re going around changing their names? Hire a private investigator?
Think of the creepers!
6. If you have children, double-barreled names are a happy compromise for all involved
Sure, people might mock double-barreled surnames, but they exist for a reason — they ensure children get to take the names of both parents and neither parent feels left out when, say, the family is handing over passports.
7. Or you could just invent a new surname
Like Dawn O’Porter did…
8. It’s a completely arbitrary tradition
Women don’t always take their husband’s names, you know.
Different countries have different traditions. In Korea, for example, women keep their maiden names while their children take their husband’s surname. In Italy, both spouses also keep their own names. Ditto Greece.
Just something to think about.
What do you think? Should women be expected to take their husband’s name? Or is it outdated?