What’s in a name

Are “maiden” names an outdated idea?

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A recent New York Times article reported that among a sample size of about 1,400 women, most of them have opted to keep their name the same after marriage. While both decisions are respectable, the term “maiden” may not be. A woman’s “maiden” name, by definition, is the last name that she had when she was unmarried. But the antiquated term also brings up notions of virginity, which in some ways is still uniquely tied to the institution of marriage. A woman’s name before marriage should just be her name, not her “maiden” name, Kate Tuttle wrote in a column for Dame. “So, a modest proposal: Let’s retire the term,” Tuttle suggested in the piece. “ No matter what choice a woman makes upon marriage about keeping, discarding, or modifying it, the name a woman brings into her marriage is not her maiden name; it is her name.” Perhaps the choice of whether or not to take a surname would be more egalitarian if more men considered taking their wives’ last name — as Zoe Saldana’s husband did.

Read the full story at Salon.

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