What’s In a Name

My mother’s name was always “Margaret Joskow” so I suppose my knee-jerk view has always been that women, whether married or unmarried, should do the traditional thing and stick with the name they were born with rather than adopting some crazy new name-changing social convention. Soon enough I learned that my mom was actually somewhat unusual, but the mainstream process still strikes me as bizarre. And Wency Leung reports that it’s also bad signaling:

Women who take their partner’s name are regarded as more caring but less intelligent, less competent and less ambitious, researchers from the Netherlands discovered. Moreover, they’re less likely to be hired for a job and are perceived to earn much less at work than those who keep their own name.

Of course just going through life with the same last name as your father is also a patriarchal concept, so ultimately there may be less to this debate than their sometimes seems. I imagine that in the distant future we’re probably see some whole new convention, whereby a family is supposed to make up a brand new name for itself. In general, I think people tend to lack sufficient imagination about what gender norms will look like 200 years from now.