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I’ve decided to keep my last name. It’s the practical choice

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Sydney Antil, Associate Editor

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Yes, I get it, my last name sounds a lot like ‘ant hill.’ Don’t even try with the jokes because I’ve already heard them all.

But while I’ve endured countless remarks about my last name for years, it makes me feel connected to my family in a way that few others experience because I know my dad and his relatives have heard the same things for years, too.

It is because of this that if I one day decide to get married, I’m keeping my last name, and honestly, I really don’t see why that should be a big deal.

While I do consider myself a feminist, my reasons for wanting to keep my last name aren’t because I think society has oppressed women by making them believe that they must take their partner’s last name when they get married. Rather, I believe a person’s choice to keep their last name shouldn’t be viewed as controversial, but rather as a decision of practicality.

I’m not the only one to see it like this. A recent study by New York Times’ ‘The Upshot’ shows that roughly 20 percent of women in recent years have kept their last names. The study shows that women do not only keep their last names for political reasons. Because many couples live together before they get married, it can seem normal to have two last names in the house.

The average age of women getting married in 2017 was 27.4, which is 7.4 years more than what the average age was back in the 1950s, according to an article in Women’s Health Magazine. Many women are getting married later in their lives so taking a different last name in the middle of establishing their career isn’t a practical choice.

Now I’m not saying that I believe every woman should keep their last name when they get married; it’s definitely a preference every woman needs to decide on her own. Where I live, the culture around a woman being required to take her husband’s last name just no longer exists.

Also, despite the rising trend of couples choosing to create completely different last name, I don’t see that as practical either. That’s like a couple giving all of their friends their address and then moving to a different house.

Although life has its ups and downs, I plan on tying the knot around my late twenties or early thirties, when I’m well into whatever career I choose to be in. In other words, I’m really in no rush to get married.

Sure, I want to find someone to spend the rest of my life with, but I also want to establish who I am going to be for the rest of my life. So in that case, keeping my last name is the most practical choice for me.

My parents had two daughters for children, which in most cases means the end of the family last name, but not for my family. I will be dragging this joke-filled name of fun all the way to my tombstone, which if all my prayers are answered, will be conveniently located next to an ant hill.

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2 Responses to “I’ve decided to keep my last name. It’s the practical choice”

  1. Mike Swantek on October 9th, 2018 12:39 pm

    I married a wonderful woman in 2016 and the first thing she said -after “yes” – was “I would like to keep my last name”. I was fine with her decision because it was her life long identity that would have been erased had I not been ok with it. It’s a matter of practicality too, as legally changing names in adulthood is time consuming and expensive.
    Women are labeled much too quickly in our modern society when they are strong, independent thinkers and doers. These traits are the biggest reason I fell in love with my wife in the first place.

  2. Kathy on October 12th, 2018 4:32 pm

    The decision for a woman to keep her last name upon marriage is cultural too; it’s a common tradition amongst many Asian cultures for women to keep their last name their whole life, even when they get married. (this is common amongst Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese cultures)

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I’ve decided to keep my last name. It’s the practical choice