Women who Choose to (not) Change their Last Names post Marriage

As the majority of you know, I am awake at these hours due to my every other week overnight gig.
Because of this, I choose this time of day/night to browse social media such as Tumblr & Twitter.
On twitter (and Instagram!) I follow a local businesswoman by the name of Megan Hunt.
You may know her as Princess Lasertron.

According to Pamela Paul’s “The Problem that has Two Names,”to editor Maxine L. Margolis, Paul claims she originally chose to only go by her husband’s name in all personal aspects of life except when it came to her professional career.  Why and how could that change?
Paul goes into further depth when she reaches her wits end and decides to legally change back to her maiden name on her drivers’ license renewal. The problem? Paul lives in Florida where “a married woman had to use her husband’s surname on her driver’s license.”
Another woman, Maureen Allen, chimes in saying, “If having a family name was really the point, then the practice of both the man and the woman choosing a completely new name and both changing to it on the wedding day would be common. It’s not. Why? Because men won’t change their names. Why? They don’t want to give up their identity. And neither should women.”

Alright. Here is my two cents, be it worth it or not.

The women mentioned above all clearly state they chose to keep their given last name because it’s their identity. I’d like to take a stance with and against that notion.

As a writer (and hopefully a soon-to-be-known professional writer at that), I have questioned what choice I will make when my love and live-in boyfriend one day asks me to marry him.

And my choice is this,

I will be taking my future husband’s last name.

Professionally, I do plan to remain Amanda B Hansen on all my published entries; not because I am in fear of losing my identity, but because I believe that I get my passion for writing from my father’s side of the family.

As for the whole “giving up my identity” notion, how is changing one’s last name giving up their identity? All the last name says about you is your origin, your past, and when you choose to change it, your future.

In my case, my mother named me Amanda because she thought it was lovely.
I plan to have “Worthy of Love” tattooed on my body someday to show the meaning behind
my given name. My middle name, Beatrice, was my great-grandmother’s name.
I’d like to think I resemble her.
My last name, my maiden name, is the only name that is tied to my paternal background.
Yet, with or without it, it can never erase the fact that I am a Hansen.
Writing is a trait I will carry with me, bestowed upon me from the Hansen line.

Now, I won’t willingly change my last name just because it is “tradition” or that it will “bring me closer to my new found family.”

I will choose to change it because to me, it will show my willingness to put my love for my new husband before the love I will never lose for myself. It does not mean I will love and cherish my own needs less, but I will always think of him and his needs first.
This also is a promise to be made to our future children.

In conclusion, I do see and understand why women choose to remain acknowledged by their maiden names, but head this: your last name serves to reflect your past, your heritage.
Your first name, your informal name, that is your identity & we will never lose that.

xoxo —

Amanda B Hansen

Amanda Hansen

Amanda B Hansen is a writer & poet who currently resides in Omaha, NE. 
She is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She holds a Bachelor's in General Studies. Her certifications include English, Music, & Creative Writing. 

Amanda currently splits her time being a full-time Customer Service Adviser at her local Walgreen's, and being an Editor/Social Media/Writing Contributor for Fine Lines Journal in Omaha.