Taking a husband’s name after marriage has been seen as a “normal” thing to do so much that it is not even a subject of discussion for many couples during courtship.
However, some women prefer to use their maiden names, or hyphenate their maiden names and their husband’s name. A curious twitter user, who wanted to know the reason behind this asked why and this generated a conversation online.
I worked for almost a decade before I met my husband, under my own name, building my career. Name recognition is key in my business and losing that would have meant starting from scratch. You bet I was keeping my maiden name.
Plus I’d had my name for 30 odd years before I got married. Completely losing my identity simply to be married never appealed to me. It’s no surprise that it’s women we ask to do that.
I’ve tweeted in the past about how this was never a thing women in most African societies were expected to so pre-colonialism, but was definitely part of the Westernization, which mainly saw women as chattel/property, to be handed from one man to the next.
The main aim was to keep the property/dowry and the power that came with it, out of a woman’s hands, but transfer it from her father to her husband at marriage. A man owned a woman because she took his name and everything she owned became his.
So I don’t know why you people are mad at women for not wanting to be considered property and keeping their own names.
The choice of keeping or changing your last name is entirely up to you. Our different upbringings play a part on the choices we decide to make in that regard. I grew up loving my name and loving the connection of being from my family. It always has been part of my identity.
As a child I bemoaned the fact that I had to change my name. It did not seem fair at all to me, I had spent hours perfecting my signature, only to one day discard it for a new one? Come on. When I grew up, I noticed that other women were excited to change their names
They looked forward to it. They had countdowns for it. I realized then that I had no business changing my name, if I did not feel that way about it. Why should I do something that I don’t want to do, for the benefit of other people relishing in the customs THEY enjoy?
It would be outside my nature, to not pick what I wanted first, over society. Realizing that it would be my own choice to make, gave me so much relief. The type of woman I am, it makes perfect sense why I am keeping my last name. It simply is just what I want. It checks out.
Other women may have a different choice and it checks out too. My reasons for keeping my last name expanded when I decided to do a survey on my male friends, on how they felt about taking their wives/future wives last name. Their reactions ranged from insulted to horrified.
I asked why their reactions were so theatrical, their responses were strongly worded but mostly, their reasons came down to, “It would be disrespectful to their fathers’. Why would they take another person’s father’s last name?” I sat there like, True. You have a point.
My last name is from my father. I was named in a time where women did not have the choices we have today. In that respect, I too feel uncomfortable taking the name of people I have no connection to. I would much rather keep the name of my father, who I know & have benefitted from
I don’t believe in two becoming one in a partnership. I believe in my idea of reality, two whole individuals with differences and seperate upbringings, contributing uniquely to a partnership. In that regard, I come as I am, and you come as you are, and we try to make it work.
My name is not absorbed by yours. I don’t become tied to you in how I am addressed. I am not an extension of you. I am myself and you are yourself. That way it is understood that I belong to myself always, the same way you do. That way it is understood that we are equals.
That way there are no blurry areas of ownership or perceived superiority. That way our relationship is not governed by society, but by ourselves. That is what works for me.
My husband has been getting random dms from people asking why my last name is still Sonuga. Of all the things to concern yourself with…it's another person's wife's name. Wonderment. pic.twitter.com/qbxMpg6WHS
— Titilope Sonuga (@deartitilope) March 22, 2018