thoughts on hyphenated names

Dr Hegarty said: “In the 16th century, naming men before women became the acceptable word-order to use because of the thinking that men were the worthier sex. This grammar has continued with ‘Mr and Mrs’, ‘his and hers’ and the names of romantic couples like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

I often do this without thinking, though I’m getting better at noticing and stopping myself.

I was thinking about this in terms of hyphenated names- do most hetero couples who choose to hyphenate their names together put the man’s name first? How do they decide?

As a person in my 20’s, I have several friends with hyphenated names inherited from their parents. They all hate their last names. They are long and difficult to relay. They are embarrassing.

My boyfriend told me about a study he read (I’m sorry, I can’t find a link) that concluded that hyphenated names are detrimental to women and beneficial to men. People would see “Nathan Smith-Roberts” and think his parents must be progressive, open-minded and tolerant people. The same people would see “Norah Smith-Roberts” and not hire her because she must be a man-hating radical feminist.

I think hyphenated names are a well-intentioned but bad idea. They’re too problematic. What does the next generation do?

I think in a family with multiple children, there are two ideal solutions, assuming the couple wants to pass on both names. They could take turns- name the first child one last name, and the second child the other. Or, for hetero couples, they could give the father’s last name to any sons, and the mother’s last name to any daughters. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Where did your last name come from? Do you like it? Have you ever changed your last name? Why? What would your ideal solution be? I would love to hear your thoughts!



Check out Why is Your Son Wearing Pink? at Mistress Mom- it’s an awesome list of responses to this ridiculous but probably all-too-common question.

I don’t have kids yet, but when I do, I don’t plan on slavishly following society’s arbitrarily prescribed gender norms. What reason do I have to announce to the world my child’s gender as if it mattered? As if gender is a coin with only the two opposing sides?

Growing up, I always hated pink, though I could never articulate a reason for my distaste. The color disgusted me, made me angry. I only realized recently that the reason I hated pink so vehemently was because I am expected to love pink, because I am female. What a disgusting thought. Honestly, when I have children, I don’t know yet how I will deal with all the pink-washed stores aisles of girl-toys (weak and simple and unfit for boys!). Why is it that you can walk down the boy’s aisles and see every color (except weak and girly pink!), but pink is the only color a little girl is allowed?