I'm 23, far from getting married, but I have thought about this issue before: whether to someday take my husband's last name or keep my own. Growing up, I fantasized my wedding - I would marry my favorite Beatles member (impossible dreams of mine) and become Mrs. Lennon. I was always so intrigued by the fact that my last name would someday change; the possibilities are endless. Then, I grew up. Weddings no longer seem magical to me, and the only thing I'm looking forward to (about the actual wedding as an event, not about marriage in general) is buying a slammin' dress and throwing the biggest, most glamorous party with everyone that I love under the same roof. So, why again does finding my best friend and life-long love require me to change my last name?
When I tell people that I have decided ahead of time (no proposals yet, you guys) that I will be keeping my last name, people go, "Oh, you're one of those women." What the --- I'm sorry? Why the negative stigma with wanting to keep the name that I've been attached to for twenty-three years and will probably own for even longer? My decision was not based on a "stick it to the man" thing. First of all, if I marry the guy I've been dating for two years, his last name is Irish. How weird would that sound with my Italian/ Spanish names? Also, my parents gave me my first and second names because (on top of them liking them) they went well with my original last name. My name flows, all three names sound good together.
The most important thing, for me, is that I'm very identified with my name, every part of it. This might sound a little exaggerated, but I wouldn't be me with somebody else's last name. It's not my last name, it's his. I can't wait to share my life with someone, but that doesn't mean that I have to abandon my family's name and adopt his. I don't want it to be his family, I want it to be ours. Of course, it would still be our family if everybody had his last name, but it wouldn't feel like it. I put too much emphasis on names, I get it. I might regret this when I have kids and, because he has a you-know-what and tradition has always favored males, they will have his last name. I will be the only Benavides in that family. I have thought about hyphenating, but that will be something to discuss and consider in the future.
And full disclosure: I don't think there's anything wrong with taking your husband's last name. I mean, my mother did it and she's the biggest feminist I know. It's just not something I would be comfortable doing. It's just not for me.