It is a cultural assumption that when a man weds a woman, the woman relinquishes her last name and takes on her better half’s last name as her own. The thing is, it is not at all beneficial nor is it mandatory for women to do so. As a matter of fact, it can be quite disadvantageous. Most women change their name for reasons such as social pressure from their family and friends, cultural assumptions as I noted earlier or even because their own names might be hard to pronounce. After long research and thinking thoroughly on the matter, I have come to the conclusion that women should not change their names after marriage and in this essay, I will explain why.
Firstly, when a woman changes her name, it means that she has made a decision of throwing away a life-long identity. One’s name is what is basically associated with them and once they lose it then they lose part of what defines them. Changing their names would make them harder to track down by an old friend who may have wanted to communicate with them or provide them with different opportunities. Other than that, a lady may have created a name for herself or even a company but once she changes her name, it may lose its original meaning.
Secondly, the drawbacks to changing your name are particularly evident when ladies are wedding deep in their profession. Ladies today are getting married off later than any time in recent memory, frequently in their mid-20s and mid-30s (especially in most cultures in Africa where young girls were usually married off immediately they hit puberty). Ladies with advanced educations wed even later. They ordinarily wed when they’re on the peak of their vocations, making sure they are self-reliant and independent women. Changing your name, in the long run, undermines your history for past and future businesses rather than benefitting your present colleagues who are the people who would hire you or the individuals who would have an opportunity to suggest you to other beneficial business partners.
More so, once the woman inherits the man’s name, it gives him a sense of ownership. It makes him feel like he is superior to his wife and she is meant to act accordingly. This is quite unfair as when they get married, they are said to be one but this does not depict this. Instead, it shows that she is second to him and he has authority over her. This tends to support the assumption that the father is the man of the house which does not fulfill the essence of marriage.
Furthermore, suppose that this lady is an only child and the last member in her family’s generation to carry their family name, changing her name would mean that a whole family legacy would be forgotten just because of that one decision. Being the only child, she is expected to continue in the family heritage but since she loses her name, then her children will not acquire it and therefore that is how the family’s name dies down. This is quite unfair as she helps her husband build on his family’s legacy while she loses hers.
Lastly, changing your name at this age where one’s presence on the internet is key to their success is not the best idea. For instance, let us see if a lady who is 35 years old and very successful in her profession, changes her name. First of all, she would need to gather all her documentation and change her name in them, which can take months and months of constantly visiting the courtroom. Next, she would have to accept the fact that some of her notable achievements and accolades gained while she had her previous name, would no longer work in her interests. This is bad, as I had said earlier, as it makes one lose the chance of getting a very good job due to the absence of enough proof that the candidate is actually qualified for the job. Lastly, changing the name that most people have known her with and an identity that she has spent her whole life building a reputation is evidently not the right decision to make.
However, some may be in support of this act by saying that it promotes unity in the relationship as the woman becomes one with her husband. The marriage contract is meant to promote oneness and this seems to be one of its most visible signs. Sharing of the name shows a sense of accepting one another and love as well as unity. She is expected to respect her husband and accept to be subject to this.
Taking up the man’s name has been going on from generation to generation in quite a number of societies. With that, it is now assumed to be the tradition that must be followed. Once people are accustomed to a certain tradition, it is genuinely difficult to change their minds about it. Therefore, we are to just play along and live with the fact that it is what it is. Otherwise their might arise conflict between generations due to the decision to change this.
The reasons why women should not change their names are countless and they cannot all be noted here but I am not saying that changing your name is at all wrong. It is entirely upon the lady to choose if she wants to or if she doesn’t want to do so. But I would just like to point out something that has been clawing at my mind. If it is alright for a woman to change her name after marriage, isn’t it also equally ok for a man to change his last name to his wife’s last name after marriage too? Just think about it.