Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's in a Name?

So as to distract myself from the sads I currently have because of my patients/dental school/running out of time for the year...I'll get on a blog post I've been meaning to write. And by the way, sorry we skipped out on Toothy Tuesdays this week, our material is running thin. Ask us some questions or something, people!

As I near the end of dental school (hopefully) and my friends are starting to settle down around me, I've been thinking a lot about the future. One tiny detail--amongst many-- that I've wondered about is what I'll be called.

When I was in junior high it was cool to practice writing your first name next to your crush's last name, as if one day you'd grow up, marry this puppy lover and take his name. As that possibility of marriage and name change gets closer, I just don't think I want to change! I've always been my name and it is my identity. Plus, the legality of becoming a licensed dentist doesn't give you a lot of freedom to go switching your name around.

I really feel strongly about forming a unified family unit so I will definitely be okay with an add on last name (no hyphens though as I think it looks forced). I've known other women to be "Dr. Maiden Name" in the office and "Mrs. Married Name" at home, which is a compromise I think I can roll with and will actually end up less confusing if there is another Dr in the house. Ultimately, I think it would make my parents very happy to have a "Dr Maiden Name", but I'm guessing it'll be important to the future Mr that I legally become part of his family.

So here's how I've heard of other, non-Dr people handling this and I'd like to know what everyone thinks. Luckily, Beyonce and Jay-Z made themselves examples and I won't have to out this real-life couple.

The pair will now be known as Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Shawn Knowles-Carter. I think this is really outstanding! Didn't see that coming from Mr. 99 Problems. Maybe I'm a little old-fashioned because I probably wouldn't expect my spouse to do this, but I think this is a good way to be fair and there's no confusion when "Mrs. This" tries to pick up her kid "Little That" from school. If a woman has to stand in line at the DPS or whatever terrible steps you have to go through to get that change legal, then the man should have to also. Maybe in the past he's been too busy bringing home all the bacon to wait in the DPS line, but it's 2010 now and we're working too.

I could go on forever about how female roles are changing, but also kinda staying the same. Now that my classmates and I are making decisions about working and moving to new cities, all this business I read about in feminist theory classes in college is coming to life and it's so exciting! I could get real used to the idea of working at a clinic I am passionate about and having lots of days off knowing that my partner will bring in the big bucks that I'm not making...but isn't that a little sexist of me?

P.S. Is facebook totally changing the rules for name changing? So many people include their maiden names and I wonder if that is just for facebook or if that reflects their real life identity. By-the-by it's getting really confusing now when people change their facebook last names without warning and I can't remember who they are.


Christi W said...

I legally changed my name to make my maiden name my middle name, which seems to be pretty common among our generation. Taking on your husband's last name is one important way to help bond with his family.
For gals getting married after dental school, going by Dr. Maiden professionally and husband's last name socially seems like a good compromise.

[e]M said...

I'm keeping my last name, especially because I doubt I'll get married before I'm licensed. I'll definitely add on the future hubby's, though. And I've thought about it...I want to marry someone with a hispanic-derived name, so I can be Marianne Sanchez Gonzales, for example. Makes me sound like I can speak fluent spanish even though I definitely CAN'T. Haha.

Lauren said...

Maybe this is a little silly, considering the Mr. in my case is somewhere out there in the great wide world, but I've always thought that if I liked the last name I'd take it, and if not, I'd just keep mine. Talk to me in 10 years I guess.

Brigid said...

"I could get real used to the idea of working at a clinic I am passionate about and having lots of days off knowing that my partner will bring in the big bucks that I'm not making...but isn't that a little sexist of me?"
I feel this way also, only after the first several years of paying off debt and getting things rolling, of course. Maybe it is a little sexist of us, or maybe its doing what we feel passionate about...being a mom or doing whatever else on those days off doesn't have to equal being sexist.