February 2nd, 2010

Marriage in 2010:Who should take the last name?

After I heard that Jay-Z would be taking Beyonce’s last name I flipped out!

Mr. & Mrs. Knowles-Carter

I immediately thought, “Wow! That is a serious chick!” She has Mr. Roca Wear himself changing his name and adding her surname. However, after doing my own research, I realized the two will be adopting each other’s names: The Knowles-Carters!

I think that this is absolutely brilliant! Before I dive deeper, let me give some more information on this interesting couple.

The two decided to keep their names for two main reasons. One, they wanted to keep their family names alive. Secondly, the Knowles have always wanted male children. Thus, their new son-in-law took on the challenge and provided them with something that they had always desired.

I personally had to commend Mr. Knowles-Carter because not all men, especially of his caliber, would be willing to do such a thing. However, some young people may not be willing to do the same for various reasons: tradition, love, business etc.

Contrary to belief, this topic has been discussed frequently. Fortunately, there are a plethora of options for couples out there that are currently battling this dilemma.

Woman Takes Her Husband’s Name:

  • It’s the most socially acceptable option. This is the most common idea of marriage.
  • It’s the easiest bureaucratic option. Couples with different last names may encounter problems with insurance, voting records, and so forth.
  • Naming the children is easier. Married couples will have to determine the child’s last name. However, if the woman takes her husband’s last name, the child will automatically receive the father’s last name as well and keep the tradition going.
  • Family cohesion. Having the same name signifies a union for the family.

Woman and Man Both Keep Their Names:

  • Feminist concerns. Women may choose to keep their names because it is often apart of one’s identity.
  • Changing your name is a pain. It is essential that the female change everything that concerns identity: Social Security card, driver’s license, passport, credit cards, etc.
  • Career concerns. Women have already established themselves under their traditional name and may feel it’s too late to change it.
  • Easier than hyphenating. People with hyphenated names confuse the bureaucracy and have to do annoying things like spell their name over the phone multiple times.
  • Attachment to a name. Some women just like their last name.
  • It’s not as hard as it used to be. It has become common enough for a woman to keep her name and bureaucrats have figured it out.
  • If you get divorced, you don’t have to change your name back. Of course one shouldn’t think of this as the predicted ending, however, keeping your name can be easier if things don’t work out.

The Hyphenated Name:

  • Compromise. Both parties will be able to honor their surnames which will create a balance for the relationship.
  • Both partners can hyphenate. A mutual hyphenated name may be the answer if neither person wants to let go of their last name.
  • It’s not as hard as it used to be. A hyphenated name has become common and people are more aware of the idea.

Woman Adds on Her Husband’s Last Name:

  • Compromise. Another way to stay true to tradition, yet honor the husband.
  • Easier than hyphenation. Less bureaucratic issues.
  • Career concerns. If your name used to be Jane Doe, business associates might not know your new name is Jane Smith. However, if you’re Jane Doe-Smith, there will be much less confusion.

Woman Changes Name, Uses Maiden Name Professionally:

  • Best of both worlds. Professionally nothing changes.
  • Less confusion at work. Less paperwork trying to change the last name on documents.

Couple Creates a New Name:

  • Design your own name. This satisfies both individuals by creating a fresh name.
  • Perhaps the least patriarchal option. This is a new opportunity that a woman can take advantage of. She is creating a new family line, and breaking free of the name-passed-down by tradition.

Man Takes the Woman’s Name:

  • Nonconformity, but with the benefits of having just one name. Still maintaining the convenience of one last name.
  • Family cohesion. Helps to support the union among the couple and future children.
  • A way for a man to honor his wife. A great way for a man to pledge his eternal love to his wife.

So after reading the various options, who do you think should take the last name?

About the Author

Joshlyn Ross
A native of Oakland, California, Joshlyn Ross works diligently to share variations of industry news. She also shares words of wisdom and tips for other young professionals looking to capitalize in their respective fields.



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  1. I think that is a business move for the both of them…Personally I have no problem with it.

  2. Wow, I’m very impressed. Ususally a man would’nt be confident enough to be willing to change their name. Most would feel intimidated and worry about what “people” would think.

  3. To each their own.. And what works for a MEDIA couple may not work for a REGULAR around the way couple. If my husband changed his name to mine I would feel i could punk him for the rest of the marriage.

  4. …Shawn Knowles, Catchy..

  5. I think this is an interesting topic… Many people will have different views, but I feel like alot of social norms we were used to have changed.

  6. no problem with that sounds great if both persons agree…..

  7. I may decided to ADD my husbands last name, but I prefer to keep my own! As for Jay and B! Who knows, I just think they are thinking for the future and money…Both Carter and Knowles are wealthy… put them together and they are wealthier!

  8. I believe it’s what is in both parties best interest business wise. After all Marriage is the same as any other business partnership, which is why it needs a license to become legal binding. It’s progressive in a way for a man to add his wife’s name but in this singular case both names have value that is added to with the addition of the partners name. So it’s not so much Jay-Z loves Beyonce that much, that he wants to walk around with her name. As much as it is every time they print Jay’s name they print Beyonce’s and vice versa. It’s double the exposure in half the effort.

  9. Uncle Floyd makes some good points!

  10. In this case, more power to them. I’m sure it was a well thought out business arrangement and life decision. Call me old school but under normal circumstances i would say stick to tradition. But when you dealing with any couple who made Forbes list, you gotta figure that they know what their doing. A regular dude taking wifey’s last name though?,…i’d have to ponder on that one.

  11. Business Move,,, Maybe!!! Both parties probably have people such as Lawyers and Media consultants that weighed all the pros and cons for this move before they made that decision. Whether it is a business move none of us will ever know. Like any marriage the final decision has to be made by the two people involved. Who knows ” not a true statement” but Jay might forsee financial trouble in the future with the recession and the Taxes that Obama is taking from the rich and probably decided that for his credit it might be best to take her last name. It could truly be him trying to show his affection for her or him trying to show ladies that they could be more independent. life and Relationships leads us all down seperate paths and how we travel it and who we travel it with is entirely up to us.

  12. In this instance it seems to be for business purposes. Them being a high profile couple I don’t see anything wrong with it. It will help them both keep their name out in the public. As far as regular people, I don’t see it happening that often as people will state for traditional reasons. In the near future I believe you will start seeing couples putting both names to the side and starting a new family name together. It just depends on how open minded both people are.

  13. This is a very interesting move on both parts. It recognizes their union as a power couple and with both parties having equal roles in the relationship. Patrilineal cultures which are more common, still almost view women as property and are the belongings of men. A woman born with her fathers name is then walked down the isle by him and handed over to another man where she then takes his name. this union breaks this standard. I see Jay as being a real man who is secure in himself and the relationship he has with Big “B” to take her name where society may look at him as a “punk” he will still hold his head up high respecting her as his equal not the woman behind a great man.

    Props to Sean “Jay-Z” Knowles Carter

  14. Nothing shocks me about this, now a days everything is changing and people are making up there on traditions; Knowles-Carter is great! Plus all this is a smarrrrttt businessss moveeeee!! (wow clever)You have to protect your assets!…Hmm Daddy Knowles can be a little shady I wonder if he had something to do with this arrangement!! Ummm hmmm!

  15. I never expected her to change her last name at all I always thought she would keep her last name & he would keep his, but with them doing the Knowles-Carter thing it’s sounds like they’re ready to start creating a Dynasty family of their own. I’d just like to see them work out a lot of our celebrity couples don’t last to long.


  17. Excellent commentary! I also think of this as a power move! They are creating a dynasty that will last when they are long gone. On the flipside, I think that they are totally in love with one another and it shows that two powerful people can compromise for a love that is unique to them.

  18. I say kudos to Mr.Knowles-Carter!! It takes a man that is secure with himself to be able to do that. It actually does make sense for him to do this for his wife being that her only other sibling is her sister. That right there is true love!

  19. As a person with Spainard heritage this is nothing new to me. In Spain especially and most Hispanophone cultures the idea of a middle name does not exist. Women keep their names and the children often use both surnames. So Maria Alverez and Jose Pena’s child would be Rico Peña Alverez. He’d be addressed as Mr. Peña

    Seeing this form of naming convention coming to Americans is exicting to me.

  20. Its a great move… I think the more successful they are as a married couple may help other artist and even unions see it’s not a show and shared success is great for both…. All relationships have benefits -their’s is just high profile with bonuses… His name her name-no ego..Great article keep up the great work!!
    Tue at 5:43pm ·

  21. Just another sign of the changing times, like the slogan YES we CAN! Very well written article.

  22. Great information! Hmmm I think all had valid points. Bravo!

  23. Great information! Hmmm I think all had valid points. Bravo!

  24. We now have phenomenal tools to create real meaning. Perhaps we need to redefine art (again). I’m excited to see something new, but for now, the new creative developments.

  25. I’ve follwed that are being made in the Social Networking world are much more provoking and exciting to me than any contemporary art I’ve come across lately.

  26. I anticipate art and IT (and new media) technology coming together in a real and meaningful way.

  27. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post.

  28. I think that this is absolutely brilliant! Before I dive deeper, let me give some more information on this interesting couple.

  29. Chanel handbag and Rolex watches

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