A generation ago, one in four women kept their maiden name when they got married, instead of taking their husband’s name. But according to the latest poll, the numbers have been steadily falling, and today, only 1 in 12 brides keep their maiden name. In fact, the younger the bride, the less likely she is to keep her name.
Women’s studies professor Dr. Donna Lillian believes the trend is part of a natural backlash against 70s and 80s feminism. That’s because today’s young women watched their mothers struggle with awkward, hyphenated names, or had moms who used one name at work, and a different name with their family. And a lot of daughters decided it was a hassle, and too confusing to live that way.
Another factor influencing which name women use is the internet. Dr. Lillian points out that a lot of our identity is tied up in Facebook and Twitter. So if their husband’s name is easier to write on a blog, or fit into a tweet, they’ll adopt it, and ditch their maiden name. Or use their married name so everyone knows they’re married, and their husband is taken!
Plus, experts say it’s part of an overall “retro” craze. Women want to go back to the good ol’ days when a woman was a woman, relied on her husband, stayed home and raised kids, and almost always took her husband’s name. It makes women feel connected to their marriage, and less independent. Women have a lot of pressure these days to be self-reliant. But a lot of women feel comforted by being part of a marriage, and taking a man’s name is a way of saying, “I don’t have to stand alone.”