Mind

Men are seen as "submissive" and "less powerful" if their wife keeps her own surname

What's in a name? Apparently a lot!

By Bettina Tyrrell
When a man asks a woman, "will you marry me?" an answer is often very close to the tip of her tongue. But when asked, "will you take my surname?" it's likely there will be more deliberation involved. While, once upon a time there was no question that a woman would shed her surname and assume her husband's, the tradition as it stands today is a little more complicated.
For the first time, a new study has looked at how men are perceived when their wife chooses to keep her surname.
In a three-part study conducted in the US and UK, researchers concluded that men whose wives keep their own surnames after marriage, are seen as submissive and less powerful in the relationship.
"We know from prior research that people high in hostile sexism respond negatively to women who violate traditional gender roles," Robnett said. "Our findings show that they also apply stereotypes to nontraditional women's husbands."
While it may feel like more women are rejecting their husband's surname and either keeping their own, create a double-barrel name or design a hybrid surname like UK comedian Dawn Porter who married actor Chris O'Dowd and become Dawn O'Porter, it's still far more popular to assume a husband's surname. In fact, more than 80 per cent of women take their husband's surnames after marriage. Meanwhile, 96 per cent of children are given the father's surname.
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The tradition of taking a husband's surname, according to head of women's studies at Flinders University in Adelaide, Associate Professor Yvonne Corcoran-Nantes, is dated back to a time when women were only seen as property (oh, nice).
"It has a very long history and it has to do with inheritance and property and dating back to when women were property or as good as, and you are actually taken into the husband's family and therefore you take his name," Corcoran-Nantes explained to 891 ABC Adelaide.
Of course it's a personal decision whether to keep your surname or to change it after marriage, but you have to admit, it's pretty amazing how deeply rooted we are in old traditions that lend such little favour to women.