Worrying that "the mailman would get confused" or that "society wouldn’t function as well if women did not change their names," 70 percent of Americans say that new brides should take their husband's last name. Even more shocking, the study presented yesterday at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting found that 50 percent of respondents thought it should be made a legal requirement for women to change their names to their husbands'!
The reasons given ranged from religious beliefs to social convenience — some people actually suggested that the post office might be confused if there were people living at the same address with two different names. Really? What about everyone living with roommates?! Some respondents also seemed to have forgotten the inconveniences a woman must face if she wants to change her name after she gets married. I guess those inconveniences don't count.
It seems obvious to me that the law should never mandate that a married woman ditch her maiden name. Then again, perhaps there's nothing very liberating about keeping your "own" last name anyway, since the name belonged to a man in the first place. Let's all just make up new names and see how the post office handles that.