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Hello. My name is Isabelle and I'm writing an article for my school newspaper on women who change their last names when they get married and those who don't and why. First, I wanted to know what your organization's view on this issue is. Also, I would be interested to know where I could find statistics on the growth or decline of women changing their names. It would be great if you could get back to me as soon as possible. Thanks.

Because FEMINIST.COM is made up of a group of individuals and is a resource for other individuals, we don't have one view on issues like changing your name, so all I can offer is my own personal opinion. I personally think that there isn't one correct answer. There are so many different experiences that each can't warrant the same response. For instance, I have two female friends--one who comes from India and one who comes from the Philipines, so their last names are related to their ethnicity. They both married Americans with American last names. The women kept their names because it was a connection to who they are. My last name is my mother's maiden name. She wanted us to have the same last name and we had to go to court in order for that to happen. That combined with the fact that I have spent 27 years being "amy richards" means that I won't change my name. I don't want to and I feel like I have a lot invested in my name. I also know people who have taken their husband's last name, mostly because of tradition and also because they want to be a family defined by one name. I also know of one couple where they combined names and another where they made up a new last name entirely. So, as you can see, there are so many options.

What I would like to see happening is that we don't begin every conversation with is "she" going to change her name, but by looking at every situation and what works best for "them." Related to the actually name, I would also like to see us move away from "Mrs." and use "Ms." and "Mr." As I see it "Mrs." is the possesive of "Mr" minus the apostrophe. I think we still have a long way to go.

p.s. As for the statistics, I don't know where to go for those, but perhaps your local county clerks office. I hope this helps--and good luck with your paper.


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