Oh the name change. How you plague my feminist tendencies.
To change or not to change? That is a serious question that millennial women find themselves asking as the wedding day draws nearer and nearer. For many, it actually isn’t a question, it’s just done. No questions asked. For others (like me) it’s a pickle.
Current Status: Name is not changed, but I don’t mind or correct people if they call me “Mrs. Martin.” Am possibly considering adding his last name to my name eventually when we have kids.
Before marriage, I personally had no intention changing my name whatsoever. The whole origins of why women changed their names in the first place was distasteful to me. Historically, it was a patriarchal-based practise that indicated the woman was no longer her father’s “property” but her husband’s. And YES (Howie) I KNOW that’s not what it means to the majority of people now but the whole basis of the practise kind of irks me to be honest.
Why me? Why the girl? Why is it the girl that has to change her name? Why NOT the men? (Howie, stop laughing, it’s a serious question).
I get that it makes things more simple, that it unites a household family under one name, that “two become one” and the children won’t “wonder why mommy has a different name.” And for women with particularly unfortunately last names like Crapo or Kuntz (true story) it makes an excellent escape.
I get that it may make logical sense but what about practical sense? I don’t really feel like spending hours in government queues re-issuing documents. I don’t want to pay fees, process paperwork and take time off of work to do these things because these places are only open when everyone works. And, I’m sorry – but I am one of the very few millennials that still have that awesome never-expires red health card and I personally don’t feel like giving that up right now.
But if you shed away all the practical (in my opinion) reasons of keeping a name, I think the sentimental reasons are what’s really compelling me to remain a Duivesteyn right now. I don’t want to lose that piece of my Dutch heritage, I actually love correcting non-Dutchies on the pronunciation of my name. I would miss chuckling at their feeble attempts – the “DOO-VEN-STINES” (sorry there’s no “n” in the middle) the “DWEE-VEE-STEEN” (nice try) oh how I would miss the predictable conversation of “Where IS that name from?” “Oh it’s Dutch actually!” “How cool!”
I grew up Cheryl Duivesteyn, not Martin. I am 5’10” and blonde and look like a Duivesteyn (not a Martin). I went to school as a Duivesteyn, played basketball as a Duivesteyn and when I made friends they were friends with Cheryl Duivesteyn. My report cards, MVP award, and jerseys all say Duivesteyn. I became an independent young Ms. Duivesteyn, earned two university degrees that say Cheryl Duivesteyn, travelled the world and grew up and fell in love with Howie Martin as a Duivesteyn.
I am stoked for my new life as a wife to Mr. H. B. Martin but I don’t think I’m quite ready to say goodbye to Cheryl Duivesteyn. Perhaps I’ll change my mind someday but for now the question is on hiatus.
I don’t think there is a right or wrong last name for women. I think the whole point of women’s liberation was that we actually have a choice now. I think my grandma may have considered remaining a DeKoker because she did not grow up a Duivesteyn. But then again, maybe she wouldn’t have, but at least there would have been a choice.
Cheers ladies, to names, to choices, to us.
Thoughts on name changing?