In the name of identity

In the name of identity

Changing Trend

convenient Women today choose not to change their  surnames after marriage. (For illustration purpose only)

But today, more and more women are beginning to question why they are expected to give up such an integral part of their identity just because they have committed themselves to someone. Metrolife speaks to a few such women to find out why exactly they chose to retain their maiden names even after getting married.

One of the most common reasons why several women today refuse to take on their husbands’ names is simply because it’s convenient. Arusha Berry, who got married eight months ago, says she retained her maiden name so that she could avoid the hassle of writing to credit card companies and banks. “It involves changing the name printed on my driver’s licence and my e-mail. Besides, I have used this name for the last 26 odd years. Why should I change it now?” she asks.

Yamini Nambiar, a professional, claims that she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of simply changing a part of her identity. She adds, “It has a little to do with my upbringing, as well. None of the women in my family changed their surnames after getting married.”

However, considering the possibility of pressure and disapproval from their families, women who decide to retain their maiden names don’t always have it easy. But Arusha claims that this was never a problem in her case. “My husband’s parents brought up the topic once, but as he was very supportive this was not an issue,” she says. Deepa Bhat, who has been married for 13 years and is the mother of two children, agrees that neither her parents nor her parents-in-law were in the least bothered by her decision. “The topic never even came up for discussion,” she says. She admits, though, that sometimes the fact that she and her husband don’t share a surname can be a matter of inconvenience.
“There are times when people assume that I’ve adopted my husband’s name, and address him by my last name. This can get a bit annoying, but it works positively as well; in situations where we don’t want the connections to be established, each of us is able to be recognised as independent entities,” she says, adding that sometimes, on non-official documents like school papers, she records her surname as her middle name, and adds her husband’s name as well.

Although Deepa admits that it sometimes feels odd not to share a surname with her husband and children, Yamini faces no such qualms. “There are very few people in my friend circle or amongst my peers who have decided to change their last names. Today, I think more and more women are choosing not to. Convenience is a chief factor behind this; people rarely have the time,” she says.

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