Thursday, October 06, 2011

Apparently, Taking My Husband's Name Has Ruined my Career 10/114

When I read this and that (linked from first) I wondered: "Ah!!! That's why I'm not doing great professionally, then?! Because I took my husband's name?!" And the funny thing is that I think of that very often at the university, whenever I see myself referred to as "Dr. My Last Name" -- that should be K, not me, I think, since he's the tenure-track guy -- silly thought, I know. Moreover, once in a while I need to give my username to do something and I always have to say which "under my last name" person I am since both K & I appear there (at least our name is unique enough that there aren't any other people with that last name at the university).

It was not without some qualms that I made the decision to take K's name... in Brazil I could keep my other last names: two, my mom's family name & my dad's family name, no "middle name" for me (some people do have them, though, and their names are really long, four names to begin with, such as Ana Beatriz Lima Oliveira which then grow longer with the addition of the husband's upon marriage). So the fact that I could keep the names made me more at peace with the decision, and then I may have also thought that I wanted to share a name with my children (I've always wanted to have children) -- I suppose that's a common reason for changing one's name when marrying. Another thought of mine was that my last names were already patriarchal to begin with -- my dad's dad last name, my mom's dad... so adding my husband's dad name to the mix would just be more of the same. Sigh.

The day I changed my facebook account to include my full name I made a fuss about it and wrote a furious rant about this issue of people having to drop their names in this country -- mostly, I suppose, because of fitting names inside various bureaucratic forms. People responded with sympathy and curiosity. Yes, I really don't like the fact that here in the U.S. I can't really use my other last names and I have been reduced to First Name/ Husband's Last Name. I used my full name (three last names) in my dissertation, though... I just could NOT not do it. I'm always stumped when I have to provide a "middle initial" because I have two "middle" names (both "surnames" or family names).

So... according to these statistical findings, apparently my decision to take my husband's name may be related to something in me that makes me not be as successful professionally as I should. The truth of the matter is... I don't really care too much (except that I do wish I could make more money... but don't have what it takes to do it, perhaps). I am really happy with my husband, his family is wonderful and I don't mind having taken their name... However, sometimes I do wonder whether I should have left my maiden name intact. Too late to go back at this point.

P.S. The funny thing about names is that my oldest son claims ALL of our family names (my husband's two last names and my two) as his own, even though he only has my dad's and my father-in-laws names attached to his.

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