Comments on: Surname follow-up: Flavia crunches the numbers and says “wev.” History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Tue, 23 Sep 2014 06:29:39 +0000 hourly 1 By: becca Sun, 14 Aug 2011 05:18:53 +0000 I’m in a family situation not totally dissimilar from truffula’s… and yet, I have still gotten called Mrs. MrSurname. I gotta say- it’s even weirder to complain about *passing* for the privileged position of married heterosexuality.

By: A very cute link love « Grumpy rumblings of the untenured Sat, 13 Aug 2011 07:34:54 +0000 [...] A nifty empirical exercise from ferule and fescue on taking of last names in the NYT.  Historiann comments. [...]

By: Best of Fair Fri, 12 Aug 2011 14:37:38 +0000 Flavia – you are correct. I misread the relevant paragraph. My apologies for mischaracterizing your conclusions. I do love that you went through this quantification exercise!

By: shaz Fri, 12 Aug 2011 06:33:33 +0000 Go Quantification!
I’ll be positive and show the 60%+ some of the many daily advantages to keeping your name. Just to start:

1. When someone calls asking for “Mrs. MrSurname”, 99% of the time, it is a telemarketer, and I can immediately tell them: nope, no one here by that name!

2. Easy to publish/get grants together without assumptions of who is the ‘real’ scholar.

I’m sure there are many many more, but it’s late…

P.S. Never had an IRS problem, but we were told by our tax guy to file under Mr’s SS# so the IRS doesn’t flag it as weird to be under my name AND married with different names. Who knows if still (ever?) true…

By: polisciprof Thu, 11 Aug 2011 21:32:35 +0000 My husband and I have always had different names. It became particularly useful when, after 15 years of communting, I was able to secure a job at his university (same department). Sure, all of our friends knew who my spouse was, but I avoided most of the “she got that job because of her husband…” stuff.

It also took the students some three years to make the connection and many still don’t. True story… My husband was discussing feminism in class one day when the subject of women changing names upon marriage came up. A student asked, “Prof. XY, did your wife change her name when you got married.” The knowing part of the class erupted in laughter and said, “You don’t know Prof. XX very well, do you?”

By: Flavia Thu, 11 Aug 2011 20:58:28 +0000 Best of Fair:

I did not assert that the choice itself isn’t a big deal. I believe that the decision whether or not to change one’s name is (or at any rate should be) a big deal, but that given that we have a lot of imperfect options, what an individual woman chooses to do should not lead us to jump to immediate conclusions about her political commitments, feminist credentials, etc.

For me, keeping my name is not only the best option, but an intuitively obvious one. However, that’s not true for everyone, and a woman can live out her feminism in all kinds of important and aggressive ways even if she’s taken her husband’s name.

By: Bridgett Thu, 11 Aug 2011 20:44:24 +0000 This has been an interesting discussion. I chose to hyphenate my name when I married 18 years ago. I did so because I didn’t want to drop my family name and I felt I wouldn’t feel compelled to correct others who assumed I had taken his family name if it was at least part of my name. It is interesting how many people and businesses don’t know how to handle a hyphenated name and summarily choose to drop one of the names, usually my family name.

If I would have known when I got married that I would eventually earn a PhD, I would have kept my name and not hyphenated the names as Dr. Myfamilyname-Hisfsmilyname is a bit long. Admittedly, there are many instances when I use only my family name for ease of use so I have contemplated legally changing my name back to just my family name and dropping the hyphenation, but that seems like a cumbersome process since there is no divorce involved. But when students who are engaged ask me how I have liked a hyphenated name, my recommendation is for them not to do and just keep their family name!

By: Best of Fair Thu, 11 Aug 2011 19:50:35 +0000 @Rustonite -
I should have figured it was much more complicated. It sounds like your state is quite strict. I would be interested to know what state if you care to share. Regardless, best of luck to her! What a miserable situation to face.

I lobbied for the solution that Koshembos’ son and daughter-in-law came up with. I was shot down, but we both still use the mashed together term to refer to the household or to the pets’ last names.

Husband and I get referred to as each other’s last names a lot, and it only annoys/enrages me when I am referred to as “Mrs. Husband” by someone who I know knows better. But our marriage is still young and I am confident that some day I’ll get over it. He is entertained when referred to as “Mr. of Fair.”

I have to disagree with Flavia’s assertion that the question of whether to change your name or not is not much of an issue to most women anymore. I even have the anecdata to prove otherwise: most women I know agonized over the choice, whichever way they ultimately decided. Concerns more or less boiled down to: I might not be a good feminist if I do change my name, and I might not be a good wife if I don’t. I can only think of two men who went through the same handwringing.

By: truffula Thu, 11 Aug 2011 19:46:59 +0000 The father of my children and I are not married, although we cohabitate and expect to do so until one or the other of us shuffles off this mortal coil. A surprising number of people in the professional circles I inhabit are taken aback when they learn of this arrangement. I attribute the attitude to socioeconomic class but have no data to back that up.

Our children’s names are Firstname Secondname Mamafamilyname Papafamilyname, not hyphenated. The lack of hyphenation causes some confusion at school, though I know darn well that schools handle all manner of family structures and name combinations these days. Last summer, I overheard one of my children telling a neighborhood kid that we are all a family because we want to be one.

By: Comrade PhysioProf Thu, 11 Aug 2011 18:58:45 +0000 Frequently when PhysioWife and I travel, she is the traveler of record on our hotel reservations. While we do not share a surname, I am frequently referred to as Mr. PhysioWife by hotel staff. I don’t really give a fucke, and don’t bother correcting anyone, but thatte’s male privilege.