Almost 100 years later, and it’s still true. I still get Christmas cards and invitations addressed to Not Me, after many years of marriage. And my gentle corrections are still sometimes met with hostility. Women of the 19th and 20th centuries fought for the legal right to keep their lifelong names. It’s because of their work that I was able to keep my own name without a fight.
Lucy Stone, married to Henry Blackwell, was one of the first American women to keep her name after marriage. Ruth Hale, a journalist, founded the Lucy Stone League in 1921 and named it in Lucy’s honor.
(For the record, I have no issue at all with women who choose to change their names upon marriage.)
And that’s why I made this sticker. It’s available at TotallyLegitCardCo.com
Still true, alas. The automatic assumption you take your husband’s name upon marriage. I married my husband in 1994 and at that time the law in The Netherlands already gave a couple choices. One could each keep their birthname, could chose the surname of the spouse, could chose to use both surnames and could chose which surname would be mentioned first, when using both names as surname.
If a couple were to get children the choice which surname (out of the aforementioned possibilities) would be the surname for the children was determined by the parents at the birth of their first child. Not to be changed with subsequent siblings.
I was and am always challenged for sticking to my own name. Suggesting my husband could adopt my name was met with the answer, ‘why would he give up his name’ for yours, was met with my retort ‘exactly, and why would I’.
When traveling I would be the one who made reservations and it happened more than once that my husband was greeted as Mr. Jetten as a consequence.
If he corrected it, staff would apologize. Where as the other way around people still can get irritated when I tell them I use my own name.
And don’t get me started on the fact that children get ‘legitimate’ when they have the surname of the husband of the mother and are still called an illegitimate child when they wear the name of their mother.
The woman who gave birth to the child (modern techniques excluding) is more certain than the father, after all, so her name is the most natural name to give to a child and should be enough to legitimate a child.