Name Change

Posted: January 20th, 2009 under philosophy.
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As I mentioned in our family site, we are excited to be starting out the new year with new identities–well, the girls and I anyway. We have decided to change our last names. I will take back my maiden name, Uhler, because that is who I am. The girls will change their last name to Danler, as it is a combination of Brent and my family names; it connects them to each other, and to both of us. We are excited for this change and hope that the girls never acquiesce to changing their last name (if they are to ever get married) and give up their identity.

Read Brent’s post about women, marriage, and the tradition of women taking the last name of their husbands. I agree with Brent; these things are misogynistic and archaic.


  1. I’m only just seeing this, a couple of months late. GREAT post! As was Brent’s, in The Rhetoric.

    I love that your girls are being asked to think for themselves about issues such as this. It’s just so important. As someone who never considered taking her husband’s name, I feel very strongly about this issue and have been on the receiving end of many hostile comments from both men and women, because of this choice. Women who consider themselves progressive have told me that my point of view is highly offensive to them, because it implies that they are not “true feminists” (sic) simply because they decided to take their husbands’ names. I feel very strongly that we need to stop taking the easy path and targeting “just” the usual matters – equal pay, reproductive freedom, etc. Those issues are of paramount importance, but we need to dig even deeper to find the remnants of misogynistic thinking in language and in cultural traditions. One such tradition is the fundamentally unquestioning attitude of most women, who leave behind a name they inherited from a man (their father) to adopt another man’s name. Women are still being symbolically tossed about — willingly, in most cases — between men, and identified as such. Some people have told me that keeping one’s name is “taking it too far”, or that “it’s just a name”. But a name means so much. Words mean so much. So, for me personally, keeping my family name wasn’t enough, because it was another man’s name. I wanted my own name (there were other issues involved, too, in my case, and I wouldn’t expect this further step to matter as much to everyone). It was very important to me. So I changed my last name to one of my choice.. a decision made even easier by the knowledge that I didn’t want any kids. Some couples are doing what you and Brent did too, or choosing a completely different name. I had been wondering why your last name changed on FB. I’m so glad I’m not the only person to feel this way, it’s a matter very close to my heart.

    Once again I feel the need to express my admiration for the way you and Brent are raising your girls.

    Comment by Kerry — March 19, 2009 @ 10:29 am

  2. Thank you Kerry! I appreciate your comment. It was very insightful. It’s sad that you have to deal with hostile comments from others. I like what you said about people saying that keeping one’s name is “taking it too far”, or that “it’s just a name.” No–it’s NOT “just” a name. That’s interesting that you didn’t keep your family name either, though, and chose your own. That’s awesome! It’s nice to know there are people out there who actually think about these things and take a stand.

    Comment by Kirsten Uhler — March 19, 2009 @ 10:54 am

  3. @Kerry – Bravo, bravo, bravo! I loved reading your comment. It gave Kirsten and I quite a bit to talk about.

    Women are still being symbolically tossed about — willingly, in most cases — between men, and identified as such.

    Hear, hear! Why don’t people question their own traditions or the quiet messages we loudly shout at our progeny? Why didn’t I for so many years?

    I commend you for your courage. I wouldn’t change my name because I do want a link to my siblings. I do have one sister who is now a Denny, not a Danley. What would be ideal, I suppose, is if the five of us changed our name from Danley to something that was either a blend of Danley and Longacre or something new altogether.

    The stories about my uncle–that I retold at my blog–are particularly troubling to me.

    A coworker of mine keeps trying to convince me our girls will, when they are teenagers, resent not sharing my name. I’m appalled he (nor anybody else, it seems) seems to mind that my daughters wouldn’t have any connection by name to their mother. Regardless, I don’t give a flying fuck rip what my daughters might think when they’re teenagers. I have to do what I think is right; I have to send them positive messages and teach correct principles.

    Comment by brentdanley — March 19, 2009 @ 1:00 pm

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