Your name is the base layer of your identity. It is the part of you that everybody in the world has full access to, whether you like it or not. As a result, parents choose their baby’s name carefully to ensure that it’s perfectly suitable (for example, naming your child Issac if your surname is Hunt, is about the most irresponsible thing you can do).
It’s the reason why some people opt to change their names as they grow older, often adopting their nickname as their genuine name. When it comes to marriage, women are coerced into changing their name in order to take their partner’s surname. It’s just the social norm. It’s a tradition which has been in effect since the earliest of marriages where it was assumed that men would buy and build the house and thus, a woman’s last name would become the name of the house she’d married into. For example, the House of Stark in Game of Thrones and The House of Windsor, the royal house which Queen Elizabeth II is part of. Of course, for those not of royal or aristocratic blood, the surname was usually your husband’s profession. For example, someone with the surname Taylor is likely descended from a tailor, and the ancestors of someone named Thatcher were probably roof thatchers. But times have changed, women now have as much clout as their husband and thus as much right to have their surname honored. With women in the workplace, politics, and entertainment, it’s important for them to maintain their identity just as much as it is for men. Of course, this often results in many couples choosing to double-barrel their names. But, for those fearful of the presumptions of pretentiousness that they may be subject to for having a hyphen in their surname, it’s a struggle to know how to proceed. It’s very uncommon for men to take their wives name, which often sees high-powered women keep their surname even after marriage to their relatively ordinary husband. But, what would happen if it became a choice for every couple to choose which surname to adopt? Grant Phillips and his wife were stuck in this conundrum. “My wife has no male cousins and is the last in her family’s lineage with the name of Phillips, so it would die out after her,” the concerned husband said, explaining his choice to take his wife’s surname. Taking to Facebook he announced the decision to their friends. Thinking nothing more of it, Grant and his wife began to make plans for the future, completely oblivious to the outrage they’d caused online. Grant’s post had gone viral and now he was being inundated with messages of support, and cruel comments from those who disagreed with the couple’s decision. “I was completely taken by surprise that in 2017 this was something that was making noise,” he explained. The post attracted attention across the globe, leaving the Australian couple a little overwhelmed. “Go kill yourself,” wrote one furious user, while another viciously typed: “I hope your wife can’t have kids, that’ll be God’s way of punishing you”. “I hope you and your whore die in a car crash so that your genes don’t continue,” wrote another. Philips was appalled by the tirade of abuse he received, but not remotely regretful of his decision. After all, when you love someone these trivial things don’t matter. Or do they? The following men were asked if they’d take their wife’s surname and they had some surprising responses:
Luckily, more and more couples are beginning to have a conversation about their surnames, meaning that in the future it is highly likely that men taking their wife’s name will be as commonplace. Thankfully there are people like Grant breaking through the barriers the history has constructed to change the future for the better!