Saturday, June 19, 2010

Last Names - To Hyphenate Or Not To

Posted in: ,
Verastically Livin and Sting of The smile of a Nigerian Scorpio where we thrashed this out with several people who called in.

Some the issues that cropped up;

1. Identity - The personality of the woman fades away

2. Tradition - It is the norm of the day

3. Feminism - Holding on to her individuality

4. Partnership - Marriage is about oneness and teamwork

5. Belonging / Ownership - Women as chattel (Bride Price)

6. Clarity - It makes sense and avoids confusion especially for children

7. Official - For immigration, citizenship, etc

8. Fashionable - With regards hyphenated - cute, cool, trendy

9. Professional - Work history, career ...

10. Myne's Bottomline - Do what works for you, have a discussion with your fiance.


  1. 'DO YOU' and know why you're doing it!

  2. It's a tricky one but marriage is meant to signify a union. Giving up one's name is the least one can do, in my opinion.

    If a woman goes into marriage with an attitude of me-me-me, that marriage is already doomed before it has begun. Men make sacrifices for the union too, though it may not immediately become as obvious as the ones women make.

    Giving up one's surname does not mean one gets a personality cum identity transplant. The woman remains who she is unless of course, her own attitude and sense of self changes. That is down to her and not the mere change of a name.

    I've got a post about this issue coming up soon. It's been sitting in 'draft' for several weeks. Women should choose their battles carefully, this should not be one of them. There are far more important causes to fight for, like banning female circumcision, marriage to child brides, campaigning against domestic violence etc.

    A rather long comment, Myne. Hope you don't mind the extra inches of space:)

  3. Thanks Nakedsha and Neefemi.

    @Naijalines, I do not mind at all, loved your comment. I look forward to reading your post. Thanks.

  4. I'm actually torn on this. I do believe that you should take your husband's name to signify the union of mariage. BUT I am an only child and would like for my father's name to live on. I am not hyphenating my name. My last name is 11 letters and my honey's name is 9. That is entirely too long lol. So for me its either I take his name or he takes mine.

  5. I don't really see how taking ur husband's name is a problem,there are actually many things to ponder over than a name,the meaning of my surname is a mermaid and I look forward to changing it via marriage(just hope I don't go from frying pan to fire).
    A change of name is the major proof of marriage not the £10,000 ring,right?
    Good morning MW.

  6. In public I will like to be address by my married man...but documentation has to indicate my maiden name for ease. THings are very difficult in Nigeria dont want to get things mixed up.

  7. addressed my my married name*

  8. I am on all fours with Naijalines. A chnage of name does not mean a change of personality for a woman. This issue of having a compound surname get as e be.

  9. I don't know if you're inviting men to give their opinion, but I support couples discussing it and doing what works for them. If I got married and she wanted to keep her name 'as is' that would be fine. If she wanted to hyphenate,that would be fine too (in any order). But honestly, if she took equality to the logical extent and asked me to change my name to hers, I would be unable to do it. :(

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. I think it depends on a lot of things. Personally, I'm in love with my first middle and especially last name. My last name means "this family has vision and purpose". I am quite reluctant to give it up because it's very much a part of who I am. SO will understand.

    At the end of the day, just do you and not conform to society's expectations of you.

  12. I think this is quite an interesting topic... Personally, I don't believe that the argument that one's name preserves their identity holds any water. Your father's name does not correlate with the strength of your character- if you let yourself go, it has nothing to do with which name you chose to take.

    Other than that, it's obviously a personal decision. I have always thought the hyphenated names were silly sha, sorry. Make up your mind. Your name or his? Either way, nothing is preserved cos even if you keep your maiden name, your kids won't get the double-barrel surname, would they? The kids obviously get the husband's surname so what is all the fuss? I don't know sha...

  13. Thanks for the comments ladies, I agree that this topic is becoming a bit controversial and a must in this day and age. Things have changed a lot in the past 20 or so years. What I actually do not get is woman attacking fellow women on account of their personal decisions.

    @Nana, thanks for your input. Of course the topic is a cross gender one and I always want to hear from the other side of the perspective. Your last line made me smile.

    Have a lovely Sunday everyone.

  14. actually had this conversation with the man that loves mii and he agreed not to hypenate but instead to create a new name for both of us and any of the children that might result from the union

    so for instance instead of me being
    and my children being Bear and the hubby being Bear

    we all become AppleBear
    with no hypen

    we are our parent's children but we are also individuals and the fusion to me seems like a symbolic gesture of us both leaving and cleaving to each other

  15. I agree with number 10, Myne. Do what works for both of you.

  16. I love my name. I wouldn't even dream of asking a woman to change hers and take mine because I dont see the benefit. It won't be the name she responds to or signs that will keep us together as a happily married family. It will be how we relate to each other.
    If she dislikes her name, she can share mine.

    Women! Y'all have a lot to deal with. lol
    In the corporate world in some countries the Mrs gets more respect than the Ms. Meanwhile it is the exact opposite in others.


  17. Ok ooo..
    Lol.. No comment biko..
    Before I'm eaten raw

  18. Really interesting comments. I'm on the do-you train because it personally doesn't affect me. When I do get married, I plan to give up my last name up.

  19. Hmm that's interesting Kafo.

    Anyways, there shouldn't be a hard and fast rule. Whatever works best for you.

    I'd like to hyphenate, but it's complicated. Women have wahala sha.

  20. Women sure do have wahala.

    Thanks for all the comments,

    @Kafo, I never thought of that option, sounds really good to me.

  21. As Naijalines said, its important to choose your battles wisely. Your identity is not tied to your name its who you are and you can continue to build your identity after your married.

  22. I dont think taking up your husband's name without reference of any type to ur maiden name denies u completely of ur identitity. I think its one of the things that come with "binding" yourself and "leaving and clinging" to someone else. Dont think ur achievements as a single lady will disappear when u take up your husband's name.

    I love my surname right now and will def miss it but pple will still know omotee as ...well, omotee nee ......

    but if ur husband agrees and u like the long thing, why not?

  23. i do not like the whole hyphenating thing, but like you said its all a choice

  24. i do not like the whole hyphenating thing, but like you said its all a choice

  25. It's a thing of choice and I believe couple's should discuss uncle categorically warned his daughters not use his name when they et married. He actually called the husband of one of his daughters when we told him she hypenated his name with her husbands. For me no big deal

  26. i wrote a post like dis last year, titled 'Dis Mrs Thing'. what someone wants to do depends on them o. people determine what sort of marriage they want & work towards having it. i ddnt want to drop my name. it took a bit of talking to MM b4 he decided to 'allow' it. he was upset @ first, but later decided dat it was not a biggie. all around me, my friends go by Mrs A, Mrs B. I answer Ms C. That'a how i prefer it. My son bears his dad's name though. Socially though, we go by Mr & Mrs D.

  27. hybernating was never an option for me. i don't like it wen i see it written, so i think i would never consider it.

    all i see abt not changing my surname is benefits o. am more of a public person, or rather i plan to become more of a public person with my writings. MM likes to be @ d background. So, by not sharing the same surname, pple will not make the connection between us, which suits us just fine.

  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  30. Thanks FF, I like that input about public vs personal life. This is exactly the reason, a lot of artistes use stage or pen names so the rest of their family are not targeted. Thanks again.

    @Scarlett, Omotee, Lara, Doll, yes o, it's all about choice. Do what works for you and your guy.

  31. whatever works for any for me, i think it depends on the man's last names....If things go great and i marry my Boyfriend, i am hyphenating his first and last name as my surname cuz it sounds and looks sooooo me on
    how have u been luv?

  32. I'm not planning on changing my name. I'm establishing myself professionally with my given name. My SO gets it completely. If this were a big problem for a man in my life, that'd be a red flag for me that he wasn't right for me. If I ever get married, I know a lot of people will assume my name has changed, so it will be a teachable moment or something I'll just have to accept.

  33. I think i might sound old fashioned saying this but
    I was brought up with the belief that when you get married, as a woman, you change your last name to your husband's...and honestly I see no reason to change a tradition that isn't hurting anyone including oneself...
    So i'm not going to change my name. if I establish myself with one name then I think I'll leave it like that and probably work my new name into it somehow...afterall that I answer another name doesnt make me a different person or does it?

  34. Go with 9jalines on this!....she said it ALL!..

  35. I dont think i would hyphenate..but i think it's a very individual thing..i agree with ya..whatever works for you..

  36. What an interesting Topic!

    So many reasons as to why people prefer joint names!

  37. I sincerely couldn't care less if she changed her name for me or if she kept it. You can safely classify me as one of them New Age Nigerian men. But I would certainly be flattered if she dropped a name she'd been using all her life for mine.

  38. @Funms, I'm good girl, and you? It would be interesting to know what your guy's name is, lol.

    @The non-student, thanks for comment. I think that is the mind to take the issue, in agreement with one's SO.

    @Honey, nothing wrong with being tradiotional but identity and names mean a lot to some people too. I think it is important that we respect other people's choices too.

    @NG, Kate and Ms Flyhigh, thanks for the comments.

    @9jaPhoenix, thanks jare, we need more of your type of guy.

  39. I'd love to keep my last name...but i guess we-My man and me have to agree :)

  40. Call me conservative but I'm okay witha girl hyphenating her surname...but not a guy! I dunno, to me it's just not it for a guy to do so. BUt if the hubby and wife are okay with it then I dont see the big deal. The kids are another issue entirely. Do they keep the hyphenated surname of Mum or go with Dad's surname? I dunno...

  41. Call me conservative but I'm okay witha girl hyphenating her surname...but not a guy! I dunno, to me it's just not it for a guy to do so. BUt if the hubby and wife are okay with it then I dont see the big deal. The kids are another issue entirely. Do they keep the hyphenated surname of Mum or go with Dad's surname? I dunno...

  42. I know this is a bit after the say the But I just had to comment, 'cause I feel very strongly about this one. Marriage IS about union, I agree...but why should only one person have to change their name? If it's a union, then both should change their name to something new. In fact, I heard that in at least on European country, that's exactly what they do. They get a whole new name for both of them. Now that's cool!


Click Post a Comment to share your thoughts, I'll love to hear from you. Thanks!

*Comments on old posts are moderated and may take sometime to be shown. That's just because I want to see them and respond to you if necessary.