Mandatory Name Changes For Married Women?

According to a new survey of American opinions, 70% of the respondents thought that women should take their husbands’ last names. And 50% thought that this should be a legal requirement! According to the study’s lead author, Laura Hamilton, this figure was surprising because so many Americans don’t seem to want the government interfering in their home lives: “Americans don’t want much government intervention in family life, so for 50 percent of Americans to feel this way was interesting.”

Click the link above for more information on and interpretation of this study. How do you feel about making the name change mandatory? As I’ve discussed already, I’m keeping my last name in part because I’ve already published peer-reviewed academic essays under it. And I fail to see how changing my name would lead to, I dunno, greater social harmony or whatever. We’re a family even if there are two names on the mailbox.

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About Jeana


Jeana Jorgensen, PhD recently completed her doctoral degree in folklore and gender studies at Indiana University. She studies fairy tales and other narratives, dance, body art, feminist theory, digital humanities, and gender identity.

  • lobizon

    Im opposed to a mandatory name change. When I get married, I will either hyphenate or go by my maiden name. I’ve worked hard under my maiden name and it is important to me.

  • Jeana Jorgensen

    Yes, exactly! It should be a choice. Good on you for working hard and being proud of your inherited name.