Hat tip to The Dennis Prager Show for today’s subject. The hot question, inspired by the decision of Amal Alamuddin to take the last name of her new husband, at CNN: “Mrs. Clooney took his name; would you?”
Amal Alamuddin was well-known in many important circles long before she snagged the world’s most eligible bachelor. But Amal Alamuddin is now Amal Clooney, according to her law firm’s website.
That the 36-year-old British attorney has decided to take her famous husband’s last name has raised many questions about feminism and traditional marriage roles.
My only question is: If you married George Clooney, why wouldn’t you take his name?
In all seriousness, though, the decision over whether to take a spouse’s name is an extremely personal one. Married in May, I had to make it myself just a short time ago, and there was a lot to consider.
Salon says that to even have the debate about names is a sign of “privilege”:
For the vast majority of heterosexually coupled population, the issue of what to do about last names isn’t even an issue. Most women take their husband’s names, and very few men take their wives’. For it to be a subject of conversation or debate at all is usually an indication of privilege, and with privilege comes lots of opinions. Writing last year in the Guardian, Jill Filipovic asked, “Why, in 2013, does getting married mean giving up the most basic marker of your identity?” At the other end of the spectrum, noted bad advice giver Steve Harvey has opined that “If you want to keep your last name you got, marry your daddy.” These are your options, ladies, and whatever you do, you’re wrong.
I was recently at an event where a fellow guest I knew only slightly hesitantly introduced my spouse by my last name. It wasn’t a big deal for us to say that we don’t share a name, but what surprised me was that the man then pressed me on the subject. “Well, why not? Isn’t that confusing? Is it because your last name is so simple? What if your name was complicated, would you have taken his then?” Dude, what’s it to you? At the same event, I hung out with a professionally successful friend who is newly married for the first time, at over the age of 50, and who changed her name to her husband’s. And here’s what I know – we’re both fine.
The new Mrs. Clooney is a smart cookie. She’s no brainless dupe of the patriarchy. I think it’s a safe bet that her choices come from a place of thoughtful contemplation.
What have you observed in your own life?
Congratulations to the Clooney family. Marriage is wonderful.
image via shutterstock/ ChinellatoPhoto