deletedMar 5, 2022Liked by Monica Danielle
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Mar 5, 2022Liked by Monica Danielle

Brava! Fabulous essay. I loved learning about the (albeit wretched) history of surname sharing almost as much as I love the empowerment I feel pouring from this post. My last name did not change when I married my husband ten years ago; I didn’t need to “take” his name, I’d say when asked, I already had one.

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Mar 5, 2022Liked by Monica Danielle

Names are important. I didn’t change my name when I married and when we had our four sons, we alternated last names beginning with mine. It is a point of great pride for me that my eldest son has my name. It knocked me sideways when, after having and naming my first son, my father thanked me for using “his name.” Ugh. I did not and do not see it as “his” name. I had made my own way in a life far from him and whoever knew me knew it as my name. It’s my name. However, I did not have a contentious relationship with my father so the name was not tainted in this way.

I do not understand why a majority of women in heterosexual marriage take their husbands’ names. The historical underpinnings are just so offensive, I am surprised it is still so common. Also using the title Mrs.! Incredible that women are still wanting to be addressed as Mr. and Mrs. Man’sName Man’sName! I am so pleased Jill is Dr. Biden. It was great to see her rightly using her title and sickening to see how it angered so many. #hopelesslysexistworld

Different subject: as an adopted person, I am curious about how adoption is regarded in the Mormon church. With the whole weight given to genealogical heritage, it seems an adopted person would feel not a “real” family member. Having said that, I feel not a real family member in my garden variety Protestant upbringing. It’s complex and I don’t really mean for you to say much; would just like to know your first thoughts.

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Mar 5, 2022Liked by Monica Danielle

So good. So very good. I appreciate the history lesson. I vote for unmarried name- just coming from an adoptee. Turns out my birth name is different than my adopted name. Regardless, love all the points you have made. I use my first and middle name as my username for everything. I’ve got some bad family history so I look forward to my new married name - Shillingford - which sounds dope. Like fancy, right? But it is becoming more trendy cor women not to change their names. Many of my couples (wedding photography) have kept their names. One couple even changed their names from Shaw and Baker to Shawbaker. Which I loved.

One thing I hate when I am at a wedding is when the couple gets announced as Mr. and Mrs. John Smith - as if the bride BELONGS to the groom. I told my boyfriend they will not introduce us that way. I am not his property. It’s so unfair that men don’t have a miss and a misses to distinguish being married or not. They carry mister from the day they are born. I think there should be an equivalent, because there are plenty of women out there who never want to marry so they don’t need misses. There should be a word for men who aren’t married, since it’s mostly a legal thing anyway.

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This one hits. I’ve been thinking a lot about it as my ex’s wedding date approaches in a couple months. I have no idea if she will take his last name, but I still have it and I feel torn about that. Like you, I kept it when we split because I wanted the same last name as my boys, and because I had an established writing career with that byline. My resolve to keep it strengthened months after our separation when my first essay in The Washington Post caused my ex to text me that I was embarrassing his family’s name and he demanded I change back to my “maiden” name. Um, no. I get to decide who I am.

When we’d gotten married I had asked my father whether it would be meaningful to him if I kept my “maiden” (I can’t type that without rolling my eyes) name. With three daughters, his surname would end with our generation if we all took different names in marriage. I am lucky to have a wonderful relationship with my dad, and I wanted to honor him. But his last name was that of his adoptive father, a man he had no strong positive feelings for, so he said the name I’d grown up with actually meant very little to him.

I’m not sure what to do now — not that I NEED to do anything. I’m happy you found a solution that is right for you. Changing to Robyn Suzzane feels odd to me, but maybe it’ll grow on me. The only thing I know for sure is that a societal norm that forces women to think about this at all, let alone justify their choice to the men in their lives, is just … dumb.

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Thank you, as always, for sharing. My girlfriend is going through a similar issue right now - a choice of names between her father, now dead, who tried to kill her mother twice, who never accepted he had a daughter, and who made it a provision of his will that his daughter wasn't to be told he had died until after he was buried...

Or her ex-husband, who ignored her, belittled her, told her she was worthless so many times that she still believes it...

Or, maybe, my name, were we to marry. But my name is too anglicized for her country, and would likely cause her more trouble than it would be worth.

Or something else. She has spoken a few times about her grandmothers maiden name, and I have told her each time that I think that would be a great name - she has no middle name so cannot follow your path.

And as she battles with finding a way to rid her name of the men who have abused her through her whole life, I am also looking to find a way to change my own - most likely to my mothers maiden name, as I feel ridding myself of my sperm donors last name would do wonders for my own mental health in the long term.

And that, I think, is what matters the most, to each and every one of us. Finding a name we can live with, and if possible shedding the names of those who did us harm. You are not property - you never were. And nobody else should be made to feel like THEY are property.

We are individual people, doing our best to find our way through a messed up world, with far too many outdated ideals and ideas, mostly perpetuated by crusty old men who are desperate to cling onto power for as long as they can.

We, as society, have to find ways to be better, to take back control. Even if, right now, we can only take small steps such as changing our names, it's a start

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Mar 9, 2022Liked by Monica Danielle

Your dad sounds super awesome! So weird he can't make relationships work!

Good grief. I'm sorry Monica. Growing up with that is a hard cross to bear. I can say that's best he's out of your life and that he has no contact with your daughter... AT ALL.

My husband and I have been together for almost 20 years, but it took us 7 to get married, so I was 35. By that time I had established my career under my name and when I changed it on my work email, people responded to me congratulating me on my new position... One person stated I had big shoes to fill (my own) and someone else insinuated I was unpleasant and that they hoped I'd be more professional than my predecessor..... who was me. That was a really fun conversation when I next saw that person at the next symposium.

I ended up keeping my birth name when the BMV told me I had to go to the Federal Building to change it. I'm too lazy for all that.

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This is such an excellent post. Thank you for writing it. I’m also planning to take my middle name as my surname - I’ll be Keris Leigh, which friends have joked sounds like an adverb “She did it kerisly.” Fine by me!

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