Long before my husband and I were married, back before we were even engaged, my friends would often ask me, “When you get married, will you take your husband’s last name?” It seemed as though there was this underlying assumption that, because I’m a feminist, that I would obviously not take my husband’s last name. I knew they were trying to bait me. They wanted me to go off on a “girl power” rant about how we shouldn’t subject ourselves to ownership by a man and we should retain our individual identities, but I always disappointed them. I never ranted. I always replied, very simply, “Yes.”

Yes, I am a feminist.

Yes, I intended to take my future husband’s last name. Yes, I did take his last name.

It was never even a question for me. It wasn’t a matter of feeling like I was losing my identity by taking his name. I didn’t lose anything. A name did not, and does not, define me.

A name doesn't define me. I define the name. #Feminism Click To Tweet

I’ll be honest, the topic was never open for discussion. I’m not saying that you have to take his name, you’re free to make your own choice regarding your life and your name. I am saying that I did choose to take my husband’s name, it was the right choice for me, and making that decision doesn’t make me any less a feminist.

See, here’s the thing…

fem·i·nist (ˈfemənəst/) noun
  1. a person who supports feminism.
fem·i·nism (ˈfeməˌnizəm/) noun
  1. the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Feminism gets a bad rap because it has been taken and mutated into something it’s not. It has been twisted in to this dark ugly thing about hating men, holding society to a double standard, and expecting constant favoritism.

But that’s not what feminism is about.

I took my husband’s last name when we married and I don’t apologize for it. It was the right decision for me and that is what feminism is really about.

Feminism is

…about making our own decisions regarding our lives and our names. It’s about choosing to hold on to your maiden name, or choosing to take your husband’s name, and not apologizing for your decision.

…about the ability to choose to go to college, select your major, and pursue a career that you are passionate about regardless of whether that career is in fashion, architecture, politics, education, physics, nursing, engineering, etc.

…about being paid a salary equal to your peers, regardless of gender, once you begin your career.

…about expressing opinions that we hold, thoughts that we have, and emotions we feel without apologizing for them.

…about living our lives, on our terms, and owning them.

It’s also about respecting your right to do the same.

Feminism is about equality

Feminism isn’t about hating men. It’s about saying, “Hey! You’re no better than we are so let’s share the sandbox.” It’s not about saying that women are weak and need feminism. It’s about saying that women are a powerful voice and deserve a platform to express it.

It’s about fighting for the right to vote (which didn’t happen until Colorado was the first to legalize it in 1893. It didn’t pass nationwide until the early 1900’s).

It’s about fighting for safe working conditions (which didn’t happen for women until the 1920’s).

It’s about fighting for the right to have, and use, birth control (which didn’t happen until the 1940’s although birth control pills weren’t available until the 1960’s.).

It’s about fighting for a workplace free from gender discrimination and sexual harassment (which wasn’t even a thing until the 1960’s).

It’s about fighting for the right to pursue the desire for a family while building a career. (It wasn’t until the late 1970’s that a woman became protected from being fired or denied a promotion because she is or may become pregnant.) Did you catch that? MAY BECOME PREGNANT. That actually came up in my last job. The hiring manager actually said, “…but she’s young. What if she decides to become pregnant one day?” I almost wasn’t hired because they thought that one day I might decide to have a child.

That list goes on and on.

There are things we take for granted now (like voting or using birth control) that only a few generations ago was illegal for women.

THAT is feminism.

It’s not about hating men. It’s not about wanting favoritism.

It’s about saying, “Hey! We’re all equal so how about we act like it?”

Taking my husband’s name was a simple decision for me and, to me, it united us on a level playing field, as equal partners, in an equal marriage.

I'm a feminist and I took my husband's last name when we got married. A name is a name, it does not define me.

Let’s Talk…

  • Do you support feminism?
  • Did you (or would you) take your husband’s name?