“You will give me your yes and you will take my name. “In his duet with Vanessa Paradis, “In the Universe”, Nekfeu declares his love for the one he wants to see become his wife. Realization and symbol of their love, the day they get married, he wishes to see her “take his name”.
Read also >> Change of surname: “I have been fighting for three years to be able to bear my mother’s name”
Taking her husband’s name, erasing hers to become a family… If, in 1995, 91% of married French women took their husband’s name (which is not legally compulsory), almost thirty years later, more and more young women decide to break with this tradition considered patriarchal. Out of feminist convictions, often, but also for a whole host of other reasons. A professional identity, a family history, a “practical” question: six women agreed to tell us about their choice.
Léna*, 33 years old – “It was he who took my name”
“We chose to each take the name of the other, but putting my name first. We had several types of reactions. The youngest find it cool, modern, we value my husband’s choice by saying that he is a feminist (which also raises questions). But in general, people are really surprised, it hasn’t become commonplace: my boyfriend’s boss told him that he “didn’t think that of him”… It’s not so much the fact that he took both names, it was above all to put mine first, and that he had to make the changes to the marital status, which was surprising. My husband’s mother was not very hot, she wanted her name to “last” as tradition dictates. But he has a brother, who has a son, he already has descendants. My father used to say to me: “who cares about my name!”. He is Indian, and in India, the name does not have the same symbolic value as in France. Our last name started with my father! But it was important for me, my husband understood it, we are very comfortable and in agreement with this choice. »
Camille, 28 – “If I took her name, I would call myself like thousands of other women! »
“I chose to keep my name and attach that of my future husband. He would have liked me to take only his name, but he supports my choice 100% – besides, it wasn’t even really a debate. The real debate is trying to convince him to do like me and to take my name too! It’s a part of my identity, there’s no reason I should give it up when my husband isn’t ready to do the same. But apart from the feminist reasons, I want to keep my name because hers is very common. We’ve already had administrative homonymy problems, so if I take his name, it won’t help the story. We are two in France to bear my name / first name. If I take hers, I’ll call myself like thousands of other women! It’s a story of identity. »
Adeline, 26 – “I don’t think a family can be summed up in a name”
“I didn’t plan to change my name when I got married, to tell the truth, I don’t think I even thought about it! My boyfriend doesn’t care, there’s no point, that’s not marriage for us. We get married because we want to create this bond, to become a family, but I don’t think a family is just a name. I’m a journalist, it’s a profession where the name is “important”: my signature is part of my identity. Besides, I’m not going to redo my papers, and I don’t intend to show up with my husband’s name. In short, for me, it has no interest. If one day we have children, they will bear our two names, but we will choose a common name to make our life easier. Mine, his, it doesn’t really matter…”
Emma, 30 years old – “I am the only child of my parents and therefore I wanted my name to endure”
“My father spent a lot of time studying the family genealogy. I found it important to keep my name, even if I don’t like it – I don’t find it really elegant. I am the only daughter of my parents, I wanted it to continue. This is also often the argument of men to keep theirs, so why couldn’t the opposite be true too? We discussed it before the wedding, and we came to the conclusion that the best thing was to put our two names together. It’s a non-choice, but it seemed to us the most practical. »
Chloé*, 37 – “We gave my name to our daughter to make her life easier”
“That we all have the same names, my husband, my children and me, is important to me. I think the tradition of taking my husband’s name is great, because I see marriage as a new stage in my life, I love his family as I do and it would make me proud to bear his name. So I attached it to mine. We had a daughter, and we decided to give her both names, linked by a hyphen. With mine first, so that she can only give this one when looking for a job, housing… My husband has an Arabic name, and that has often harmed him. It’s terrible to have to think like that, but we thought practicality above all.
Anaïs, 31 years old – “I kept my name… And it’s a real administrative hassle. »
“I had the idea of mixing between my maiden name and my married name. We are three sisters in my family, we knew that if we got married and gave up our last name, it would die. It bothered me. In any case, it was accepted that my name would remain my name of use at work and for the administration. On the other hand, for our future children, I wanted to take my husband’s name in addition to mine. When we bought an apartment, we had to open a joint account for our credit… And that’s when it started to be a hassle! The bank automatically put my husband’s name for both of us. However, all my identity papers, credit cards and bank details are in my maiden name. A real hassle on a daily basis, the bank only recognizes me in my married name. So I had to send a new RIB to my employers (I’m a freelancer), to my social security, while my vital card is in my maiden name… Every time I book a hotel or flights, for example, I I don’t know which name to put: that of my bank card, or that of my identity card. My professional email is in my maiden name, everything is super confusing… Maybe in the end I should have kept only one name, because it complicated everything. But I’m very proud to have kept mine. »
*For the sake of anonymity, some first names have been changed.