“I am wondering why you have kept your maiden name?” wrote a reader. “When I married my Chinese husband [many] years ago, I was terribly proud to take his name, and still am.”
So I wrote back to her with my primary reasons. One that as a feminist, I’ve never felt comfortable with the idea that a woman must take on her husband’s name in marriage. And two, that in China, women traditionally keep their last names even after marrying.
When but I thought about my choices later on, I had to laugh. After all, isn’t it ironic that my feminist side finds refuge in China’s tradition? A tradition that, I’m certain, wasn’t created to accommodate feminists like me. Let’s just say I pretty much never expect “tradition” to agree with my feminist perspective on anything…and yet this time, it did. Sometimes, tradition — especially those of my husband’s country — will surprise me in unexpected ways.
But the best part of it all? No one in China ever raises an eyebrow at my surname, and then asks, “Why didn’t you change your name?”
Instead, the Chinese have other ways to put me on the spot, like, “So, do you have children?” But that’s another question for another day. 😉
P.S.: If you’re actually debating whether or not to change your name in marriage, see my post on this.