Sunday, July 27, 2008

Married Women's Last Names

Every time when I need to fill out some official forms for the government or bank, I always get this comment, " have a long name."

Why? Because I have my Chinese and English names plus the hyphenated last name which includes my maiden and husband's last names. Why did I do that? I will tell you later.

In the Chinese society throughout over 2000 years of history, women don't change their maiden name to husband's last name.

In the old Chinese world, men had several wives. They even greet their wives by their maiden names. This applied to the royal families, too.

A lot of Asian countries had been influenced by the Chinese culture. You will find this same practice to other Asian as well.

Nowadays, some women may add their husband's last name in front of theirs, like my mother's generation.

Before I got married, I didn't expect to change my maiden name to my husband's. But he wanted me to do so and understood where I came from at the same time. So, we finally came to a compromise to keep both names by hyphenated them.

In modern China, adding husband's last name is getting rarer and rarer. Like my sister, she never thought of changing her last name before and after getting married. Part of it because the position of women in the society is rising. But to Chinese women, keeping their last names had been old traditions for thousands of years.

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