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Why More Men Don’t Take Their Wives’ Last Names

Black couple sleeping - GettyImages

Have you ever wondered why more men don’t take their wives’ last names? 

According to Get Pocket, “In a study of 877 heterosexual married men, less than 3 percent took their wife’s name when they got married.”

The outlet also notes that “Seventy-two percent of adults polled in a 2011 study said they believe a woman should give up her maiden name when she gets married, and half of those who responded said they believe that it should be a legal requirement, not a choice.”

In a nutshell, a man taking his wife’s name remains rare in Western cultures.

Brian Powell, a professor of family and gender at Indiana University Bloomington, says men worry they’ll be seen as less of a man if they change their last names to that of their wives. 

Here’s more from the report: 

In a forthcoming study, Kristin Kelley, a doctoral student working with Powell, presented people with a series of hypothetical couples that had made different choices about their last name, and gauged the subjects’ reactions. She found that a woman’s keeping her last name or choosing to hyphenate changes how others view her relationship. “It increases the likelihood that others will think of the man as less dominant—as weaker in the household,” Powell says. “With any nontraditional name choice, the man’s status went down.” 

Powell also noted that the social stigma a man would experience for changing his last name at marriage would be even greater.

Read the full report here.

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