Like most girls, I’ve silently debated — even while single — whether I’d one day take my husband’s last name. I like my maiden name, Griffin — to me, it feels strong, memorable, and representative of who I am. At times, it’s hard for me to imagine inheriting someone else’s surname — like wearing clothes that don’t quite fit. Yet, the thought of whose last name my children would have has never once fluttered into my mind. Like Molly Caro May mentions in her article, What Happened When We Gave Our Daughter My Last Name, I’d always assumed that using my future husband’s last name for our children was a “given.”
May’s article is an eloquent and interesting account of the reactions she received after telling her friends and family that her child would bear her surname rather than her husband’s. Some mentioned that she’d be screwing with historical lineages, while others complained that their own husbands “would never let that shit fly.” In May’s words, “People might say these are small peanuts, but language is never small. Language shapes how we view things before we even know we are viewing them. How we name something determines how we value it. If women’s last names are consistently absent from history, never passed down, then where is their—our—value?”
Ultimately, May argues that a child’s last name should be a conversation rather than a given, and that if one day, more children used their mother’s last names, it would create a monumental impact on our social unconscious. I’m not sure what I’d decide in this situation, but I thought this article was fascinating and well-written and I couldn’t help but share!
What do you think about women giving their children their own last name? Would you do it?
Read the full article: What Happened When We Gave Our Daughter My Last Name.
Photo via arileu