As far as traditional marriages go, we are pretty used to the idea of the woman taking the man’s last name after saying “I do.”
But in this day and age, there’s no real reason why a woman has to take the man’s name and not the other way around, aside from keeping with tradition. About 90 percent of women still take their husband’s last name, but some people are looking to change that.
In a piece for Medium, Matthew Broberg explains why he decided to take his wife’s last name. His reasoning is simple: His wife didn’t want to change her name, and he felt strongly about his family having a shared surname.
They considered hyphenating both of their names, but neither of them liked how it sounded. After discussing the topic for many months, Broberg, who’s committed to gender equality, ultimately decided to take on his wife’s last name, despite his many fears about letting go of his name and stepping into a new family tree.
It might sound radical to some, but is it really all that crazy? Considering the original reason that women traditionally changed their name has a lot to do with them losing or changing their identity, it’s not all that wild. Back in the day, women were forbidden to keep their last name because they were viewed as “one person” with their husband, according to the law. In fact, it wasn’t until 1972 that the last state in the U.S. changed its laws to allow women to keep their maiden names after marriage.
For Broberg, his choice to take his wife’s last name was a practice in putting his beliefs into action. He believes men and women should have equal rights, and he hopes other couples may consider following suit for the sake of gender equality:
“I would be lying if I didn’t say I hope it inspires other men to consider a name change,” he writes. “I know a name change alone will not bring about gender equality. The name change is a small part of a life-long goal that puts equality into practice everyday.”
Cheers to that.