Betty Friedan is Rolling Over

When I got married in 2001, I chose to keep my maiden name. Now obviously, this is a very personal choice that every woman has to make for herself, but for me, it was prety much a no-brainer. Historically, women entering into marriage were viewed as property, and responsibility for that "property" was exchanged from the woman's father to her husband after the wedding. And with that exchange of property went a last name change from that of her father to that of her husband. Seeing no reason to participate in this "tradition," I kept my name. And my husband is fine with it (and if he wasn't, he wouldn't be the kind of person I'd want to spend my life with anyway). I use his last name socially, so if we go to a wedding, I don't have a problem being referred to as Mr. and Mrs. X. Same thing with Christmas cards, etc.

So I always applaud when I hear stories about women keeping their maiden names, or changing their middle names to their maiden names, or hypenating their last names. Or even combining their last name with that of their husband to form a new last name that both of them share. If I'm not mistaken, that's what the co-founders of The Farm Sanctuary did.

Then I read this story. Here's the gist: A couple went to obtain their marriage license. The husband-to-be wanted to change his last name to that of his future wife's because he was estranged from his father and because his future wife wanted to prolong her family name, since she had no brothers. They discovered that in the great state of California, however, a man cannot simply take his wife's last name upon marriage. While a woman needs only to fill in her husband's last name on the marriage license form, a man wishing to take his wife's last name must file a petition, pay more $300, place a public notice for weeks in his local newspaper, and then appear before a judge.

What century are we living in again?

And this is taking place in California. California, people, where you can legally go from this

to this


and no one bats an eye. Where you can name your children Moon Unit, Pilot Inspektor, Jermajesty, Moxie Crimefighter, and Coco Cox. And yet it's somehow a huge problem for a guy to take his wife's last name upon marriage?

I. Do. Not. Get. It.

10 Responses to “Betty Friedan is Rolling Over”

  1. # Blogger sunShine

    That is insane that a man would have to pay to change his last name when he gets married, but not a woman. When I got married I kept my maiden name as my middle name and took my hubby's last name.  

  2. # Blogger kenju

    Yes, it IS insane. Someone needs to petition Swarzenegger to change that law.

    P.S. He should have taken his wife's name when they married....LOL  

  3. # Blogger Marie

    Yeah, I heard about that. It's very strange for sure. Especially in CA!  

  4. # Blogger sher

    I don't get it either and I live here in CA. Jeesh!! There are always crazy laws everywhere.  

  5. # Blogger Beagle

    I made my maiden name my middle name and now I can use whichever I like for most things.

    We were told you could change you name to anything so long as you are not doing it for reasons of fraud.

    Claifornia of all places should be more modern!  

  6. # Blogger Christine

    I heard that story and yes it is insane. You would think that would be less of an issue. I love the people who keep their names as well.  

  7. # Anonymous Shannon

    So, is that just California's normal fee for anyone who wants to change their last name, regardless of whether it's related to marriage? Or is this something that kicks in when the husband explains that he wants to change his name to his wife's?  

  8. # Blogger Binulatti

    What a load of crap. Hopefully the "republican" Governator will weigh in. Surely he understands the importance of wives' family names.

    (BTW - Prince is from Minneapolis - yes, Minnesota is cooler with symbol names than CA is with feminism)  

  9. # Blogger Ramona

    LOL! I don't get it either, what a crazy world.
    I chose to change my name when I got married, but it was my choice. Greg probably couldn't have cared less, although he has admitted that he likes that we have the same last name.  

  10. # Blogger Kristi

    Sunshine-I know. I completely agree.

    Kenju-LOL.

    Marie-Very true.

    Sher-There certainly are!

    Beagle-I know. I was so surprised that they weren't.

    Christine-Apparently, CA ain't as liberal as we tend to think.

    Shannon-As far as I know, that's the fee for husbands wanting to change their names to their wives'. Insane, huh?

    Karrie-Ya. I believe Ahnold is all over that one. And Prince lives in LA now.

    Ramona-Yup. It's a totally personal choice, but it shouldn't be so crazy-hard for a guy to change his last name to his wife's. Insanity!  

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