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November 15 2007

Sarah Michelle Prinze. Sarah has officially changed her name to her husband's in honor of their 5th anniversary (according to a US tabloid).

Wow, that's kind of sweet! When I get married I have no expectation for my wife to take my last name, but I think it's great if that's her choice, for my wife or for SMG... I mean SMP (weird!).
As far as I understand it she has been using the name Prinze on documents for a number of years now so I can't figure out why US magazine is making such a big deal of it now.
Well, that...doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well as her former surname (how suddenly strange to type that). *shrugs* However, it's her life and her choice. What a sweet wedding anniversary present to give (though I agree with jam2, I've no such expectations of my own future spouse).
She went from a submachine gun to a service management professional?
Shouldn't this be tagged Sarah Michelle Prinze as well? ;)
I'm a little unclear as to whether she has changed her professional name. If she has it's as baffling to me as Jessica Stevenson changing hers to Hynes.
Yeah, garda39 has me wondering, she may well continue to be credited as Gellar.
I guess "Sarah Michelle Gellar-Prinze" is a bit too long for any marquee, but she wants to show her love for Freddie.
If I recall correctly she has said in at least one interview that she uses Prinze in family situations and to sign documents but she would use Gellar as her professional name so I don't think we will be seeing the disappearance of the use of Gellar in movies anytime soon etc she no longer Smidge? Or SMG? (I tend to call her Sarah Michelle if I'm talking about her.)

I, also, wonder if she'll use Prinze for her acting credits, or stick w/the better-known Gellar. Or maybe she'll drop the Michelle & go as Sarah Gellar-Prinze. Didn't she use her middle name to avoid confusion?
SMP sounds so wrong! (That or when people start mixing it to SMGP *sounds like a company*) She knows we're gonna keep calling her SMG, right? But it is sweet of her to give Freddie this present, makes you wonder what he gave her lol.
What? I really love Gellar... :(
I hope she'll use it in future movies, it was very original and very... well, very Sarah.
Happy Anniversary, Sarah Michelle Prinze, and many, many more happy ones in the future!
Well, some smart alecks in the internet are already condeming Sarah's decision. Defamer has declared her name change fatal to her career, and will guarantee she'll spend more time with her "sporadically employed spouse." Those who responded are just as snarky.
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet", and even sweeter when she has another successful film, guys.
Did this originally come from the Maxim interview?
Not sure. I found US mag link via Defamer. Didn't want to link to snarkiness.
Yeah, I don't understand either whether her show business name has changed or not. I'm thinking not, though.

On a different note, the poll at the bottom... "Do you think women should change their names for their husbands?" I'm surprised how many people said yes. There should definitely be more than a yes or no option... how about "if they want to"? I know men who took their wives' last names, too. The point is, there should be no "should"!
Well I added the bit about the US tabloid to avoid any confusion. I have to admit it's nice seeing her get mentioned in the press. I think she's a really underrated actress. Loved her in The Grudge.
Elizabeth Taylor got married about eleventy-seven times and never changed her professional name.

If she's formally and professionally taken her husband's name, I'm totally comfortable with that.

And I'm sure that means her and Freddy's sleep will be undisturbed by worries about Chris inVirginia's approbation.

And if she hasn't, well, I'm just fine with that, too.
SMP sounds so wrong!

Heh, those were my initials growing up. I used to tell people, "It's PMS backwards!" I hated the name the S stood for, though, so when I married I was glad to change my name and ditch it.

[ edited by swanjun on 2007-11-15 23:59 ]
It's her life, but am I the only one who has a problem with it? Giving up her name to please her husband? Any relationship I've seen where that has happened has been one where the husband has a bit too much control, and the wife has fragile self-esteem.
She's not going to change her name professionally. She's already said that in the past. As far as using her married name privately, I kinda got the impression from interviews around the time she got married that that was always the plan. Regardless, I'm not sure this "source" is in the know either way.

If it hadn't been for someone else already being registered with SAG called Sarah Gellar, she'd never have used her middle name professionally. So if she had taken on the Prinze name and did use it professionally (which won't happen), she wouldn't need the Michelle at all since it's pretty unlikely there's another actress registered as Sarah Prinze.

Nebula: If you believe there's any truth to this story, it seems pretty unlikely she'd be doing it just to please her husband. They've been married for 5 years. If he was really that controlling, it's an issue that would've come up long before now. Not that I think he is controlling, that Sarah would capitulate to his whims even if he was or that Us are even necessarily correct in this report.

[ edited by Impossible on 2007-11-16 00:22 ]
I realize it's a tabloid and they'll print anything they think will draw people in. I can also understand her using the name on some documents to maintain some privacy in her life. If she's changing her professional name, though, yes, it's her life, but I don't think it will improve her career any.

Do we know of any famous male celebrities who've changed their professional last names to please their wives?
Ulllllllllllllllllllhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. ULLLLLGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhlllllllghhhhhhhhhhhhh.
So when is Freddie going to change his name to Gellar to show his love for her?
Friend of a friend of mine decided (with his wife) to change both their surnames to something else. I think that's quite a fair way of doing it, if you feel the need to change your name at all.

Personally i'm a bit ambivalent about it. Part of me wants to continue my family name, the other part of me realises that any woman I married would probably also want to do the same. Not being known for my name in any specific capacity i'd probably just go double-barreled and leave it at that (my surname's pretty short so it'd work out OK).
Sania Delian said:
Ulllllllllllllllllllhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. ULLLLLGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhlllllllghhhhhhhhhhhhh.


I think this is an attempt to communicate; to communicate what, exactly, is unclear ;-)
ShadowQuest: what Impossible said. There was another Sarah Gellar in whichever union SAG or AFTRA she first joined and havign a distinct name is required. No credits on IMDB for the "original" SG tho.

Well, at least I know if I ever run into ehr at Target and ask ehr to sign a page in my notebooks (a scene which, if filmed, would require her to play a dual role) I'll know what to call her.

And yes, it's probably just a change of her real name, not her show-biz name. That wouldn't be wise,a sk Patty Duke and Rebecca Romjin who once had longer names. And Raquel Welch, Patty Loveless, Faith Hill, and "Our Favorite Katrina" Ammelinda Embry are stuck with their first exes' names for their professional lives. (Of course so is Dr. Dawn Summers-Trilling in my fanfics *g.)
See, if O. Henry (the author, not the chocolate bar) had written this, Freddie would have changed his last name to Gellar!

Ah, the classics.
Ulllllllllllllllllllhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. ULLLLLGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhlllllllghhhhhhhhhhhhh.

My sentiments exactly.
Isn't that the sound the Grudge made?
I'd wager Nickels to (shelled) Walnuts that Freddy thinks his dad would have really liked her a lot; perhaps gotten along swimmingly. They all of them (to me) have a tinge of sweetness or preciousness about them. Freddy Sr. as Chico sure did have a lot of heart!

Btw, I see his mom chose a hyphenate personally and used the concise "Prinze" surname professionally.

(fixed link)

[ edited by napua on 2007-11-16 01:39 ]
After much deliberation, I decided to change my name when I got married 25+ years ago. I just mentioned the SMG --> SMP story to my husband. He thought it was sweet and said once again how touched he was that I changed my name.

Our family name wasn't originally what it is now. Neither was Freddie Jr's. Both were changed by the paternal grandfathers.
I hate it.

She'll always be SMG to me.
This mean, it'
You know, it's weird... I usually don't give a shit what the celebrities I like do with their lives... But I guess I never realized how much I liked the name Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Who cares? Women have been taking their husband's last name forevah. If it makes her happy, who are we, or who is anyone, to judge?

She's still our B.

(Gotta agree with the Jessica Stevenson thing though... inexplicably hate that.)
Weak!!! I am never, ever going to call her that.
Well, from a extreme feminist viewpoint, taking your husband's name or keeping your maiden name makes no's just a matter of what man do you want to 'belong' to-your hubby or your father(and even if you take your mom's name, her name probably came from her's a whole patriarchal thing.)

From a 'practical' viewpoint, it would probably be easier if you have kids to have the same name as your spouse.

From a 'prove your love' viewpoint, isn't the whole 'marrying' thing proving love already?

From a 'token of love' viewpoint, if it's important or meaningful to the guy, then it is a very nice gesture.

From a 'my maiden name was a disease' viewpoint, I was very happy to take my husband's name, even though it's 'foreign-ness' has proven quite problematic in the US.
Meh. I understand that some women choose to change their names because they plan to have children and want a cohesive family name, or they just want to share a name with their husband, or they want to distance themselves from a painful history, or dozens of other reasons that don't click with me personally. I get it. Your life, you choice. But honestly, it frustrates me. Marriage is a partnership. If one partner isn't going to change his name, why should the other? It just doesn't make any sense. And it's a particularly sore subject because I didn't change my name, and you would not believe the drama it causes, not between my husband and I, but within each of our families and in countless public situations. I hate that taking your husband's name is still considered the normal thing to do.

[ edited by Samantha on 2007-11-16 07:00 ]
Well, from a extreme feminist viewpoint, taking your husband's name or keeping your maiden name makes no's just a matter of what man do you want to 'belong' to

My response to that has always been that yes, my name is my father's name, but it's also my grandmother's name, my mother's name, and my aunts' name. And regardless of where they got it, I'm still connected to them by it. Mostly though, it's that I just can't see any logic behind changing my name.

[ edited by Samantha on 2007-11-17 04:07 ]
I agree with Samantha completely. If I ever marry, I plan to have us both hyphenate, which in my case will mean having an extremely long name, and it's long enough already.

A couple I know legally changed both their last names to something different all together when they married. I like that idea too.
ElectricSpaceGirl: I actually hyphenated for about 20 minutes, but quickly dropped his name because people kept skipping the name before the hyphen (mine) and just using the one after (his). Apparently two last names are just too difficult to articulate, and it's totally acceptable to ignore what a person says her name is and assume that she meant it's something different. *insert eyeroll* Told you, sore subject.
Maybe I'm thinking too far ahead, but doesn't hyphenating create a length problem for future generations?

I think I probably would have kept my name, rather than taking my late husband's name, if I'd married just a few years later. I'm kind of glad I have it now, because it reminds me of him regularly, in a nice low-key sort of way.
My daughter kept her (his) name when she married recently, so we both have it...despite being pretty much as feminist as you can get- the both of us.

It's interesting though, names have always had a lot of power.
Here's my wacky hyphenation plan. (Obviously, I've been up too long):
Everyone has a hyphenated surname at birth- mother's and father's surname, to begin. Forever after-If you marry a woman, you drop your mothers' name and add her mother's side name. If you marry a man, you drop your father's side name, and add his. Then married couples all have the same name, and so do their kids, until/unless they marry. It kind of makes sense, as you carry the other-sex name of your closest other-sex relative.

I'm still working on a variant for the gay and lesbian couples that will give them the same hyphenated surname..wait, I think they could just do the same thing...does it work? I've got it-they use both same-sex side names (on the "closest male relative" or closest female relative" theory as applies) Ta!Ta! A cohesive hypenation plan, not involving more than 2 names per person, with nuclear family uniformity. Why do I fear this will not look so good in the morning?

[ edited by toast on 2007-11-16 05:57 ]
I never took my husband's last name - not even for insurance purposes. All our kids have his last name, but their middle name is my last name. My oldest son and some friends used my last name as the name of their band - until some band in Ohio made them change it because they already had my last name (but didn't know it was mine).'s totally acceptable to ignore what a person says her name is and assume that she meant it's something different. *insert eyeroll* Told you, sore subject.

Yeah, I know. My name is Elizabeth, and you don't know how many people think that means they can call me Liz. It drives me crazy when it happens -- though it doesn't much anymore. It was a big thing in middle school.
When I married ten years ago, I decided to keep my own name for a number of reasons, foremost of which was the conviction that I shouldn't have to change it. It wasn't meant to be ostensibly feminist, although I don't have problems with that designation; it just felt right, personally. What Samantha said upthread about the family reaction, though, especially of his more- conservative/traditional branch ... even at this stage, when it's pretty clear I won't be changing my mind, either, they continue to address me by his surname on anniversary, Christmas and birthday cards, and when introducing me to relatives on their side of the family. I admit that I find it a teensy bit annoying, but I smile through it because I get that it's a point of familial pride for them, and otherwise we get along well. My husband, however, backed my decision 100% and has never had a moment's qualm about it.

There's nothing wonderful about my last name, except that it's who I grew up being and it represents who I am. I do believe words are power, and so whatever words you call yourself, you should be completely happy and comfortable with. Likewise, it would be lovely if others respected that. I totally understand if other women (or men, if they're hip like that) want to change their names, but for me it would be like throwing out all my own clothes and suddenly zipping on a clown suit or something. It just wouldn't be "me".

My in-laws suggested hyphenation when I explained my thoughts on the matter, but since I already use both first and middle names (like Sarah Michelle), adding another name onto the pile would make me sound like a romance novel writer. (No offense to romance novel writers out there, btw -- it's just I'm polysyllabic enough without the added unwieldy.) If a name with many syllables is a train, then my caboose stops here.

I also have friends, a married couple, who debated about the last name issue. They ended up mixing their surnames to create a new, unique name, which they both legally adopted (they've been married for over thirty years, which should tell you how ahead of their time they were!).

Topically, SMG will always be SMG to me -- but if she wants to be a Smimp instead of a Smidge, I say "go on wit' your bad self," as long as yourself is happy.
Rogue Slayer, I'm pretty sure that 'patrilineal' is the more appropriate word in this context.

You can have patriarchial societies that are either patrilinear or matrilinear. Here in the US, we're used to living in a patrilineal, traditionally patriarchal society, so it's not immediately obvious that there's a difference between the two.

Names are simply 'tags' we put on each other, and no amount of amplification (hyphenation, etc.) can truly pay honor to the ancestors of either branch. Like so many other tags, they are inadequate to describe anyone's nuances.

My own story: my wife (fiancee at the time) was rather offended when I had the temerity to ask if she was going to change her name. She was honestly somewhat insulted that I would accuse her of being someone who would even consider NOT adopting her husband-to-be's name. Sigh. Sometimes, you just can't win.
Finally remembered the interview,It was the Lucky magazine interview from this September in which she mentioned signing "thank you" cards as SMP
I kept my name. I am just me. No reason to change that I could see.
Quite convenient for the divorce as well. But, sometimes it does bother me that my children have a different name.
They all have one of my names as a middle name, but its not the same.
Ugh. People still do that?

I'm with you, ElectricSpaceGirl:

So when is Freddie going to change his name to Gellar to show his love for her?
Ugh. People still do that?

My wife did. Really didn't bother her in the least. Sometimes I think people make too much fuss over it.
taking your husband's name or keeping your maiden name makes no's just a matter of what man do you want to 'belong' to
I didn't change my name when I got married because there was and is no reason at all for me to change it. It was the name I was given when I was born. I don't think it denotes ownership by my father in any way at all. Our son has my surname too.
Didn't change my name when I got married. Never even considered it. Haven't ever had any trouble with it (except for some confusion among friends in Alabama who assumed I would - they know now that I didn't and are only probably slightly miffed because they can pronounce my husband's last name but can't pronounce mine).

As for SMG, I've read before that she uses Prinze's name in private. My guess is that this is what she'll continue to do. But really... I don't care. I'll still like her no matter what her name is.
I just think it's like Mary Kate and Ashley trying to become Mary Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen... Or Kelly Clarkson trying to seperate herself completely from American Idol. Why do they even try?

As for the feminist thing, I haven't met anyone that I would be willing to change my name for. As for the future, no knowing what it will bring, so no judgement here.

On a more personal level, Prinze. It's awkward and wierd verses Geller, which has the same number of letters but appropriately, two syllables. If I had a choice between the two, I would go with Geller. (I thoroughly apologise to the people I have offended with this comment. Prinze people are great people... but in my own humble opinion, you need another vowel.)

You know what though? She's probibly pregnant and preparing for the kid's name, which will be Freddie Prinze... what number is he? 5?
We keep talking about SMG changing her name. How do we know she really did that? This story appeared in tabloid after all. I put more credence in the bat-boy story myself.
It is truly fascinating to see wheere a discussion in a thread can go to. Most everybody discussed their own theories and experiences instead of the celebs and that's great. (I've been re-reading the five books in the already large "Grantville" series and apaprently in the 17th Century, at elast in germany, while children automatically received patronymic surnames, wives generally kept their maiden names.

RazorBlade:I think the publication cited is actuallya slick magazine, not a tabloid papaer, unless I'm confusing two things with similar "turtles."

Xane;Nice rhyme. MAybe i'll steal it for a song lyric or straight poem; I'm an incorrigible wordthief *grin.

toast; It can get confusing (the SPanish system has veyrs trict rules) to try to solve. Given how free-wheelign "post-post-modern" society is, I don't expect any one specific formula to ever catch on. (As a fic writer, I'm still not fully comfortable with what I did with Willow, Tara, and their daughetrs in my AU.)

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2007-11-16 19:02 ]
Not to be argumentative Simon, but I don't think people make enough of a fuss over it. I can't believe how many people just expect this tradition to live on, and for what reason, exactly?
I think the primary issue should be cheesy decor. I mean, how uncool is it to see a welcome mat that says, "The Smith and Brown's". Or maybe it should be about other people. Do I want people to have to address a X-mas card to 'Bob Wright and Betty Jones' or 'Bob and Betty Wright'? I mean, come on, let's get to the meat of it here!! :~P

Apparently, and I'm sure there are some Dutchies that can give a better accounting, but my hubby says in Holland it's quite common for the wife to keep her name as part of the last name, but it goes last, I think? Like if Jane Smith marries Bob Jones, her name would be Jane Jones Smith? Always puts me in a tizzy trying to address mail to his parents....

but I don't think people make enough of a fuss over it. I can't believe how many people just expect this tradition to live on, and for what reason, exactly?
A. There are so many more important things out there to make a fuss over, IMO.
B. Why can't the tradition live on, as long as there is the option to not change your name if you want? Who is it hurting? If you are so tied to your last name as your identity, don't change it. If you want to have your husband's name, carry on the tradition. Everybody happy! :~)

I don't mean to be flip, as it is apparently a very touchy topic for some people, but the fact is...there is no law that a woman has to change her name. So...I don't know why one person would get upset at the idea that another wants to take her husband's name. Quite a personal decision, really.
Yes, of course it's a personal issue, and I'm the first to admit that it's a touchy subject for me on a personal level. But on a grander scale, it says something about a culture when many (most?) women are willing to take a man's name when they get married, while very, very few men would do the same.

[ edited by Samantha on 2007-11-16 20:59 ]
But on a grander scale, it says something about a culture when many (most?) women are willing to take a man's name when they get married, while very, very few men would do the same.

Well, yes, gender issues are a problem still in this day and age, obviously. BUT, having a 'family' name was a way to denote what 'tribe' or 'group' or 'family' you were a part of. And while, in my opinion, it should have been the woman's name way back when(because really...that's the only parent you can be 100% certain of unless you're adopted), I see the reason for having one family name. If the man took the woman's name, would that not be a 'bad' tradition to start? If both people change their name's hard to denote or track what family they came from(and as someone who's been digging up genealogy recently, sometimes a last name is all you have to go on!) If you hyphenate...well, that just gets messy after a couple of generations.

So, it seems the options for tribal affiliation/recognition are limited. Take the man's name or take the woman's name. Either seems fine to me, but both people changing their name doesn't seem very logical, in this respect. It also shouldn't be a case of, "If I have to do it, so do you!" I mean, if women are unhappy giving up their last name, but do it anyway, is it a better situation to make the man be unhappy also by giving up his last name? Maybe it's 'fair', but it doesn't really seem practical.

All this said, my hubby would have probably changed his name if I asked(though I would never ask him to change it to my maiden name, we'd pick some neutral cool last name like 'Powers' or 'Remington' or...'Steel') cuz he's a very cool, liberal, feminist-type hubby. And we're not adding to the family tree, so no lineage/genealogy concerns.
My friend's maiden name was Wurm, and her now-husband's last name was Cutter. They both changed their last names to
Wurm-Cutter. Good compromise. I have a last name that leaves no doubt as to my ethnic background, and that's the main reason I would be hesitant to give it up.
Well, obviously I don't think the "tribal name" idea is important. I'm not sure why, really. I guess it just seems like an empty gesture, and I identify with my relatives more through story/family mythology than name. I realize that it's a contradiction to dismiss the importance of a family name while refusing to give up my own (and I also realize that earlier I said that thing about being connected to my mother, grandmother and aunts through my name, but that's more of a response to the 'you're just choosing one man's name over another's' argument). See, it's not so much that it's my family's name as it is my name. Plus I'm just a walking contradiction.

And yes, I agree. I don't see any reason for a man to take a woman's name either. That was more of a statement about the sacrifice that is expected of women rather than men in this situation. Before we got married my husband asked if I was going to change my name. I responded, "Are you?" He said, "No, why would I do that?" And I said, "Exactly." I'd never ask him to change his name, and I needed him to understand why it didn't make sense to ask me to do so either.

Again, marriage is a partnership, not a takeover. Yeah, I know that's painfully melodramatic, but I hope you get the sentiment. My name is my name and his name is his name, and as partners we're My Name and His Name. If we ever have kids, their names will reflect that partnership with a hyphen, and if they ever have kids, well, they'll figure out something that reflects their own values on the matter.

I'm officially rambling. Congratulations on finding one of my hot issues. :) But all this being said, I know it's a personal choice, and almost all of my married friends have chosen differently than I did, despite the dumbfounded expression on my face.

[ edited by Samantha on 2007-11-16 23:42 ]
Not to beat the proverbial dead horse, (well, I am, but) but I do think names have always had a lot of power. It's not all about nothing much, for many of us. In some cultures, just knowing someone's true name gives you power over them. Wealthy people in the US and UK used to rename their servants, if they thought their names were too high-falutin', "unsuitable" or if they couldn't bother to remember them-if they wanted every kitchen maid to always be called "Mary", she was, even though her parents named her "Ariadne". Talk about control!

Schoolyard bullies torment the weak by giving them humiliating nicknames, and making them stick. In some countries, (I think Poland is one), you cannot fill out a birth certificate, unless you give the baby a name which is considered a "real" name- so celebrities can't saddle their children with names like "Moonchild" and so on. But imagine how intolerable that would be in, say, in urban African-American culture, where creativity in naming children is highly valued.


[ edited by toast on 2007-11-17 00:41 ]
I know Germany has restrictions on names, I think Austria and soem of the Swiss cantons as well.

In Iceland it was never an issue, changing names was never the practice there. (Then again Icelanders alphabetize directories by first names also so they're not an example one can generalize from.
DaddyCatALSO, Icelanders constantly change their surnames. They take the first name of their father and add a s and then son or dottir. Guess what Bjork Gudmundsdottir's father was called.

And, Samantha, I totally agree with you.
Some of you are way too dramatic for one, for another it's not anyone's business. I don't see why this is such a big deal, why it's started a debate or why any of you are upset about it (i.e. trying to apply your views to this situation). From what I understand, SMG was never fond of her father so it makes sense why she'd feel like changing her last name. He's probably more proud of his father and his father's name than she ever was. Perhaps he would have changed his name for her, we don't know what compromises he has made.

It's not as though she was forced to do it, she had a choice of whether or not she wanted to do it and she did. Feminism is about giving woman a choice not forcing them to prescribe to anyone's notion of how a woman should behave.

[ edited by Kyotoyoshi on 2007-11-17 00:50 ]
We all agree that it's a personal choice. It's also a complicated issue, and human nature compels us to debate complicated issues.
I think you are misunderstanding the tone of this discussion,kyotoyoshi-it's just a topic that people are interested in, that's all. You're not interested, so fine. Nobody is bashing SMG or SMP about it, we're just talking, is all.
Some of you are way too dramatic for one, for another it's not anyone's business.

I think you're being a bit harsh in what you say about your fellow posters. Like most things here, this thread has meandered merrily off on its own and is now a general discussion about women taking their husband's names. Some of us don't mind it, some of us do. But it's more or less civilised.

I appreciate that people might be concerned that SMG is getting bashed but my antenna is usually pretty good about picking up double meaning comments or coded wank and it's not going off in regards to this thread.
If I thought SMG was being bashed, I would have stated that she was being bashed. I just think think comments such as "uuuuuuuuuuggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" etc. are pretty unnecessary. People are being overly dramatic about it when it really is no one's business.

I don't know, perhaps I'm irritated from reading this debate so many times in conjunction with what this magazine has printed.

[ edited by Kyotoyoshi on 2007-11-17 00:56 ]
Repent ye sinners, the end is P (instead of G) nigh !!!

Now that's overly dramatic. Three exclamation marks for pity's sake ! ;-).

Considering it's a part of many world cultures, surely it's everyone's business ? Dunno what the fuss is about the fuss - just seems like any other thread to me (i.e. none of the comments are necessary ;).
On principle, I've always been against the idea of a woman changing her name to her husband's, since I see it as an antiquated tradition born of designating whose "property" the woman is becoming. (Along the same lines as the no longer used "love, honor, and obey" and "I now pronounce you man and wife" bits from wedding ceremonies.) In practice... my wife wanted to take my last name, and I didn't make a gigantic fight out of it. At least we weren't listed as "Mr. and Mrs. my-first-and-last-name" under our wedding picture in the paper :) Our newborn son, meanwhile, has my - well, our, now - last name, but his mother's maiden name as his middle name, just as my brother and I have our Mom's maiden (and post-divorce) last name for ours.

None of which is to cricize SMG - or SMP, SP, SMGP, or whatever :) - for her apparent choice. And really, I think few, if any, here have been critical of it. It's just an issue, in general terms, on which many of us have opinions - and which a couple of posters have apparently taken a ridiculous amount of garbage for going against the traditional grain of - and we've just been inspired to discuss our thoughts on the matter. What I would say to Sarah Michelle herself if she happened across this discussion: you're an incredible actress who superbly brought to life to one of the great heroic characters of our lifetimes, as well as someone, from what I've read, who has a sweet and charitible heart. All continued hapiness as your marriage enters its second half-decade, with whatever name makes you happy!

(Edited for typos)

[ edited by LKW on 2007-11-17 02:11 ]
First, I feel compelled to say that I'm in love with Saje. He's at least 14.3% of the reason I hang out here.

Second, I agree that although this is certainly a personal choice issue, it also says a great deal about the culture we live in. It wasn't very long ago (and still is, in some areas of the US (and thankfully fewer all the time)) that a woman wouldn't even consider keeping her own name after marriage. She wouldn't consider it because it was so socially unacceptable that to do so would have branded her as some kind of weird, possibly dangerous radical.

I was one of those young women with a weak sense of self when I married much too young, all these many years ago, and I changed my name to my husband's name. I always regretted it because I felt I had lost an important part of myself. I tried very hard to convey that to my daughter when she got married, but she also caved in to social convention and changed her name. Her life, her choice.

When I got divorced after 26 years, the first thing I did was reclaim my maiden name. Three years later, I'm starting to feel like I'm coming back to myself.

The whole "what does it matter, why even discuss this?" argument raises red flags for me. I personally hear that as the subtle voice of patriarchy trying to keep me in my place. I'm certain it's not a conscious thing on the part of anyone making such comments (and I hear such comments frequently, and from some surprising places), it's just more of the pervasive, insidious culturization we have to put up with if we're going to live with each other. That's why I think it's important to discuss these issues, to help us all look at gender issues from a different perspective.
Kyotoyoshi: I don't think anyone is arguing, either. It's an interesting topic for many of us and is worthy of discussion. Even if some of us don't like the idea of an SMG name change, for whatever reason, nobody is here to tell her what to do.
I really can't understand the controversy about this.

Sarah has grown and changed as an actress AND as a person, and has every right to use a name that reflects the woman and actor she wants to be.

I, on the other hand, have seen too many friends take their husband's name, who then end up inevitably getting divorced a few years down the track. They've had to face the hassle of 'reclaiming' their maiden name and getting licenses, passports etc reissued, while being referred to by the name of a bloke they have grown to hate.

Anyhoo, it's great that Sarah and Freddie have made it to 5 years. I have hope for them yet!
The whole "what does it matter, why even discuss this?" argument raises red flags for me. I personally hear that as the subtle voice of patriarchy trying to keep me in my place. I'm certain it's not a conscious thing on the part of anyone making such comments (and I hear such comments frequently, and from some surprising places), it's just more of the pervasive, insidious culturization we have to put up with if we're going to live with each other.

*Move along. Nothing to see here!*

[ edited by missb on 2007-11-17 01:41 ]
Aww cheers beck, that's my favourite percentage, how did you know ? ;-)
Nebula1400 - It's a discussion or a debate if you will, is it not? That's exactly what I referred to it as. I mean, I don't know about you, but it looks like a debate to me.

I still don't see why there is so much controversy but since I don't want to get into debating, I'm going to leave it at that.
"I still don't see why there is so much controversy..."

I have a theory: Because it's interesting. Why people behave the way they do is interesting. Traditions and their reasons for existing, whether they're worth keeping around (according to each individual--I agree that there should be no forced consensus on issues like these, ever) and all that ? For a great many, it tickles the brain to engage in these sorts of conversation.

It's just fun to play the ping-ponging game of "why?"

An innate sense of curiosity.

Okay, and for some, probably a healthy lust for debate (ie verbal conflict. Non-gorey conflict can be fun).

Shutting up now.
Samantha and beck, great posts. Totally agreed on all points. Anytime I hear "what's the big deal" I know there must be a REALLY big deal somewhere nearby. :D

I've been in a same-sex relationship with another woman for 9 years and intend to be with her for the rest of my life. Neither of us at any point ever considered taking the other's name. That might have a lot to do with our personal feelings on the matter, but it also might be because we don't have social "norms" to adhere to. Society doesn't even know what to call our lifetime commitment (marriage? union? partnership?), let alone our surnames.
The whole "what does it matter, why even discuss this?" argument raises red flags for me.


It seems to me that names are enormously important in so many ways. Some parents spent hours deciding on the names they give their children and still havenít fixed on one on the day he was they are born. Some people confess that they didnít watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer because of its name. Countries and other places have their names changed to reclaim their identity or to escape other associations. Actors in the first half of the 20th century (and beyond) routinely changed their names to make them easier to pronounce or to hide ethnicity.

Therefore, I think the issue of women changing their names upon marriage is, at least, an interesting issue for discussion or debate.
Actors, both male and female have been using different personal names and professional names forever. Only recently have established female actresses with name recognition started changing their professional names when they marry. Although I understand why women would change their personal names when they marry (mostly because of sociaI training and pressures) changing their professional names seemed like an incredibly bad idea since name recognition is one of the most valuable marketing tools an actor has. I am guessing SMG will not be one of those actors who changes her professional name.

Meanwhile, I never married and I gave my son my last name...which his dad was fine with. I have given people who felt a need to inquire about it various social and practical reasons that he has my last name, all of which played a real part in the decision. I realized while going through that exercise, however, that the real reason was because he is MY child. His father loves him and is a great guy but I was the one who wanted him badly enough to go through all the angst and the one who is raising him. That may seem egocentric or just unattractive, but it also speaks to the point of the importance of a name. My gut says my child should have my name. Why? What does that say about the importance of a name to our general sense of identity? What does the fact that some (especially male) readers will probably feel a different gut reaction, that I have denied his father's right to have his child bear his name, say about the importance of a name to men in our society. To make that emotional response that much more confusing, I meant it when I told my son that if he ever wants to, he can change his name to his dad's and I will be fine with that. (So far he likes his name the way it is.)

Then there is my old friend who got married after living together for 12 years, and changed her name to her husband's. She adjusted to it immediately but had the weird experience of suddenly feeling that her mother's name and her sister's name should have changed too. She knew it made no logical sense, it was just this feeling she had. I'm guessing somewhere in her head she felt like her family should all share a name. This human race thing is a funny kritter.
Personal choices matter, hence the feminist slogan "the personal is political." Feminism is about more than giving women choices. If you don't think that changing last names contributes to women's invisibility in our society, try organizing a class reunion or tracking your genealogy.

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