Surprising Findings

According to a new survey from Indiana University and the University of Utah finds that a huge majority of Americans think that women should change their last names when they marry.  And they're not sure we should stop at moral suasion:

Laura Hamilton, a sociology researcher at Indiana University and one of the study authors, says that while gender-neutral terms such as "chairperson" have become commonplace, the same logic hasn't carried over to name change.

"One of the most interesting things is that a lot of people assume that because language in general is gender-neutral, that name change would also be one of those things in which attitudes would be shifting towards being much more liberal," she says.

But she says some studies have found that younger women are as likely or more likely to change their name when they marry as their baby boom counterparts. "It's not a straight age trend."

Respondents who said that women should change their names tended to view it as important for establishing a marital and family identity, she says, while those who thought women should keep their own names focused on the importance of a woman establishing a professional or individual identity.

Hamilton says that about half of respondents went so far as to say that the government should mandate women to change their names when they marry . . .

I can't help but wonder if they got some sort of a screwed up sample.  Government naming rules?  When did I move to Germany?

As a practical matter, I suspect that name changing will endure, because hyphenation is not a stable equilibrium, and it's really quite useful for everyone in the family to have the same last name.  But it's hardly a moral obligation, and in fact, some of the connotations around it are quite odious.  So I'm awfully glad that the government doesn't mandate such a ridiculous thing, because if they did, I'd have to refuse to change my name in outraged protest.