The personal politics of keeping your maiden name

The personal politics of keeping your maiden name


Story by  October 7,2022 in Ensemble

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The personal politics of keeping your maiden name

When Jennifer Lopez recently married Ben Affleck, she decided to change her last name, emerging from the star-studded ceremony a new woman: Jennifer Lynn Affleck. Mrs Affleck is not unique in her decision. Many adopt their partner’s last name, satisfying a social norm, securing certain familial protections, or simply because they want to.

Still, some prefer to retain their surname. Maybe they are known professionally with that name or they prefer their last name. One wonders if Prime Minister Jacinda Arden will become Prime Minister Jacinda Gayford after finally tying the knot, whenever that will be. 

Then there are those who resolutely refuse to conform to the misogynistic power structure that comes with taking on a man’s name.

“When I returned to New Zealand at age 14 after living on islands in the Pacific, I saw the systemic oppression of women in my own culture that others seemed oblivious to. Maybe living in remote villages and being exposed to violence against women in my childhood made me extra sensitive to it, compounded by the male-centric rhetoric from the church I grew up in,” says Ana Wilkinson-Gee.


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(Photo Credit: Getty Images).

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