Traditionally, a woman takes on her husband’s surname after marriage to represent her new identity but in recent years, there’s been a shift in the practice. More women are hyphenating their maiden and married surnames, and meshing has emerged as a viable option for newly-married couples.

Meshing, which originally became popular in the U.S. six years ago and is becoming increasingly prevalent in the UK, entails that husband and wife fuse their last names together to create a surname that represents both parties.

For instance, a man and woman with the last names Moore and Harrington might become Moorington, Grimes and Andrews might become Grandrews, and so on and so forth.

The practice allows for a sense of equality, which the antiquated tradition of adopting the husband’s surname seems to lack. Meshing also eschews the need for a hyphen, which some people find inconvenient.

What’s your take on meshing, Clutchettes and Gents? Would you be open to embracing this trend?

Source

  • C

    I feel like the married-name topic has been talked about at least 3 times in the last 18 months here. Anyway, I see absolutely nothing wrong with it. I do think it’s a bit much, but to each his own when it comes to stuff like this.

  • D

    SMH

  • whitberries

    No thanks. My surname is my family’s legacy and represents its history. Same goes for my S/O. I’d like to maintain that and I’d like him to do the same. My first name is already hyphenated, so hyphens don’t bother me at all. Not to mention, my last name is pretty unique…I can’t really envision how I would blend it with my current boyfriend’s last name. McSham? LMAO. No.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    I wouldn’t do this, but I know people who have and I don’t have any issues with it.

  • D

    My wife can hyphenate her name. But as long as we’re hyphenating everything, I’ll hyphenate my status: married-single.

    Depends on the day!

  • eh

    Not a problem. I say go for what makes you happy!

  • Marriage is the best

    women grow up. single women keep your single living philosophies to yourselves. married women stay away from single women. the only advise they give u is how to make ur husband run away from you. leaving u with them. single, working for “the man”, & having to hoe or masterbate everyday, week or once a month. don’t be affraid to give up ur last name for a new last name. single life sucks. winners get married & become 1!

  • EST. 1986

    I would not alter or change my name.

  • M

    My last name is relatively long. I will not drop it completely, but I’m not going to hyphenate it either.

  • Oh Whatever!

    This is such an unnecessary trend. Why are women becoming so insecure nowadays? No one will think less of you for taking on your husband’s last name. Same thing goes for women who want to hyphenate their last name and get mad at you for not saying and writing out the whole thing correctly (who has the time for all of that?). Doing way too much. If taking on your husband’s last name bothers you that much, just keep your maiden name (for crying out loud). And don’t give me that, “Oh, my last name has so much meaning and legacy too it blah, blah, blah”. Everyone’s name has “legacy” to it. You’re not that special. Just because you take on your husband’s name doesn’t make you any less a McPherson or a Smith lol (like anyone cares). You are who you are, with or without a name. Nobody gives a d@mn.

  • AM

    I’m not taking his name, neither meshing it. This was a decision made in my teenage years, and it has never changed.

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    lol, good response.

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    not bad idea, if it is that serious why bother getting married. just be single and be happy.

  • Leeshalu

    I was with you…until I read past the 1st sentence.

  • dee

    sounds cool to me if that’s what you’re into, but I do feel like meshing will produce some crazy ass last names.

  • Erin

    A woman not wanting go change her last name (or combine her name with her spouse) has nothing to do with whether she’s “suitable” for marriage.

  • Humanista

    How does not taking your husband’s last name negate everything a marriage is? I highly doubt people who are choosing to keep, hyphenate or mesh their names are doing it so that they appear single.

  • Chillyroad

    Apparently in much of the Muslim world especially in the Middle East women keep their maiden name. It’s the same in China. These are two very large swathes of the world.

    For me it depends on why a woman in a culture where it was customary wouldn’t do it. I changed my last name.

  • dirtychai

    I think name meshing will produce some foolishness. However, when I marry I will keep my last name or suggest that we take each others’ last names…that’s a true merger.

  • K. Michel

    “Meshing”? Wait a minute, here. Some women don’t want to go dutch on the first date …but are willing to go dutch on the family name?

  • Mr. Man

    This is just juvenile, people’s insecurity these days are making them do some kooky-dumb stuff..go get some grownup.

  • BoutDatLove

    lol I know I’m going to be thumbed down for expressing my laughter, but everyone knows this comment was funny.

  • BoutDatLove

    If you are the descendants of slaves, your last name really isn’t your own last name anyway.

  • Flash

    I would have serious doubts about marrying my girlfriend if she talked about hyphenating her name or worse keeping her own name and she knows it. Your either all in, or out, no ifs or buts.

  • Jaslene

    You are making a very big deal out of a last name. Calm down, where you that way when you were single?

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    No, that’s a bit too extra. I will be taking my mister last name but using my own for work purposes

  • Blackmon

    People are too connected to their slave names. You may feel like it represent your family, but it really represents the White family that oppressed your family.

  • Apple

    No? I guess if it looked cute I might consider. But my mom is already fucked me up with my first name so may as well leave well enough alone

  • http://theantifash.blogspot.com Theantifash

    I sense something is happening in your life…

    LOL

  • marriage is the best

    i just watch tv & i know single women. who have to have boyfriends often & we all see the vibrators being sold on tv for women to pleasure themselves. maybe u have one.

  • http://theantifash.blogspot.com Theantifash

    What’s the big deal?? If a couple wants to mesh their names it’s fine. If they want to hyphenate, that’s fine as well. It should be a decision made by the two people entering a marriage.

  • http://gravatar.com/perspectiveofreal The Real Perspective

    I wonder what would be the male equivalent to this be to this. I honestly feel like it’s some sort of security blanket, that has nothing to do with the keeping the woman’s family name. If you agree w/ Meshing, I hope you don’t have a problem pulling a “Chrissy Lampkin” (proposing to men).

  • BoutDatLove

    Right, that is what I was saying. It seems like most woman feel like taking their husbands last name may show a man having ownership or executing their power over them. But some seem to have no problem with the power and ownership that the slave masters placed over us by giving us their names.

  • Kenzy

    i took my husbands last name when we married..id be open to meshing the names but i know he would not lol i havent read any of the other comments so forgive if its repetitive but why are ANY black ppl arguing over last names anyway…yes im going there…but its the truth any last names african-AMERICANS have arent our own anyway! they are the names we adopted from whoever owned our ancestors so whether its your ancestors owner or mine does it really matter?? neither are our true last namess which i suppose is why i feel so much indifference on the matter.

    he didnt ask me to take his last name btw he didnt care either ..i shouldnt be this honest on a random interent post but ill say..my decision to take his last name had everything to do with my legal name…my mother when i was born decided to make my fathers and hers my legal last and that is how i have been all my life…if i just added my husbands…i would have to legally write out 3 last names, i was already annoyed w/ 2. at any rate like i said even if i didnt have 2 last names already i would still have indifference as it isnt my families last name anyway..just whoever owned my ancestors from England

  • AM

    LMAO!!

  • Keepitreal

    I was never a slave and neither were my parents nor my grandparents. My great grandparents and so on may have been slaves but they were also so much MORE than that. When I think of my last name, I don’t dwell on how it came to be but on the legacy my forefathers have created with it and the legacy I will so spare me the tired slave spiel, get some freedom m’am.

  • http://gravatar.com/ravsmith78 Ravi

    never heard of this before. So if I’m about to marry someone last named Kelly then our new last name would be Smelly? interesting

  • Flash

    @The Real Perspective

    I’ll get thumbed downed for this big time but only because the truth hurts! ;)

    With black women it ain’t got nothing to do with keeping their family name, it basically a little symbol of defiance, a rebellious streak, code for: “I ain’t going to fully submit to my man”. or “if I take HIS name what’s he gonna do for me” etc And we’ve seen plenty of evidence (In my case I seen this on the previous two posts on this name changing subject) by the way they act and the lack of respect they show black men in particular.

    This is why you never accept it and I refused to marry my girlfriend, if you want to keep your name don’t get married. They pick and chose what parts of the so-called dreaded “patriarchy” they like. Like men paying for date, accepting alimony, chivalry, receiving 50/50, and taking kids in a divorce…but they don’t want to take your name?… f%$k that B.S!!

    They basically following the ideologies of these krazy white feminists who have a bone to pick with their men. But more and more men (black and white) are waking up and refusing to get married. And in black women’s case they are picked the least to get hitched with, so name changing won’t really be an issue any time soon. ;)

  • Mademoiselle

    I don’t think there is a male or female equivalent to this. It’s a fusion of both the male and the female’s names — they’re both participating equally.

  • Mademoiselle

    I like it. It eliminates the “why won’t you take my name?” “why can’t you let go of your name?” “well, why don’t you take my name instead?” foolishness. Blend them into a brand new name! I think it perfectly symbolizes what happens in marriage: you give up some of what each of you came from to merge into one new family with a new history to write in the future.

  • Pseudonym

    yES!!!! I don’t have a white slave master’s last name and if I marry a black man, I pray I marry a man who understands why I don’t want to trade my last name to become a Jackson/Brown/Washington/etc.

    BUT, for the sake of completeness, post-emancipation, a lot of black families chose their own last names. They ended up choosing from white American last names bc that’s all they knew. Washington was a popular choice. All this is to say that not every black last name is the last ne of the family that actually owned their ancestors.

    …but I still hope to keep my name.

  • Pseudonym

    Man! People will find ANY opportunity to come onto a site targeted toward black women and black woman bash.

    If you simply Google “name meshing” you will see that it’s mostly whites and whites from the UK, so all this “black woman so defiant blah blah blah” is YOUR baggage, not black women’s. And as long as you are proudly refusing to marry your girlfriend who you continue to date, you can spare us your criticism and instead concentrate those energies on sorting out that raggedy situation you seem to have at home. Thank you,

  • Mademoiselle

    LMAO! That’s only if you insist on yours going first. I’d avoid the Kelly clan just in case though. lol. silly

  • Mademoiselle

    I doubt the same women who won’t go dutch (likely because they value traditional roles) want any parts of meshing since taking his last name is in line with tradition.

  • Mademoiselle

    My questions: for everyone against people who hyphenate or mesh, why does it matter so much to you? Particularly for meshed names, how would you even know some of those names are meshed unless you were told? For the hyphenators, are the wives the only ones with the hyphenated names, or are you insisting your husband hyphenate too? I would think regardless of what you choose, you would want a unified family name, right?

  • __A

    @Pseudonym – Right? I read this article and thought it was weird but funny. It is some new thing that is not very common.

    How many hyphenated black women do you know? It’s rare for white women to hyphenate and I’m willing to bet it’s even less common with black women.

    Really though, I want to meet some of these die hard black feminists. The men on this site stay complaining and repeating their same anti-feminism crap.

    This dude and his lame excuses. He didn’t marry his girlfriend because he didn’t want to marry his girlfriend. He’s perfectly content with using her for years and then he’ll drop her. He blames it on feminism, but it’s him most likely him. These types of guys do nothing but complain about women and make excuses for why it’s okay to use and lie to them because of feminism. He could you know break up with her if he finds her feminism so disrespectful and find another woman but he doesn’t because he’s selfish.

  • BoutDatLove

    @Keepitreal
    ”I was never a slave and neither were my parents nor my grandparents.”

    Why don’t you save me the tired spiel of ”I was never a slave and blah blah blah” I never said you or your parents were slaves, but the one’s who came before us were. And what does this have to do with the fact that certain things have been forced on us, with or without our consent? When I say WE or OUR, it is because I see black people as a whole, not separate. No, I was not physically a slave, but we are very much still slaves (in the world, Spiritually, consciously and unconsciously) and are still dealing with the after effects of what our ancestors went through, rather we acknowledge it or not.

    ”My great grandparents and so on may have been slaves but they were also so much MORE than that.”

    I understand this, because the one’s that came before me were so much more than slaves. I’m not by any means trying to take away from the greatness of black people when I posted my opinion. At the end of the day we can agree that a last name is just a last name. However, looking at black history it was so much more than that, it was part of our identity as a people and it was what separated us, showed our greatness and what made us great. Are we unconsciously carrying on the legacy of our slave masters by carrying their last name, by this do they still own a piece of us? That is all I was saying, wondering and indirectly asking.

    ”When I think of my last name, I don’t dwell on how it came to be but on the legacy my forefathers have created with it and the legacy I will so spare me the tired slave spiel, get some freedom m’am.”

    That is great that this is the way you feel and think, when you think of your last name. I was just stating an obvious fact, that these still are not our names. Rather we chose our last names or not and the legacy’s that came with it, these are still not our names. We are talking about the article m’am and I was comparing the fact that we have someone else’s last name and not our own but some seem to have a problem with the ownership and power associated with taking on their husbands last name (which also has legacy and can continue legacy) but no problem with the last names THAT ARE NOT THEIR OWN. It is great to hear your point of view though. Also, thank you for your suggestion of getting some freedom, but I don’t need SOME freedom, I have freedom from God and self knowledge.

    @Pseudonym ”BUT, for the sake of completeness, post-emancipation, a lot of black families chose their own last names. They ended up choosing from white American last names bc that’s all they knew.”

    ”They ended up choosing from white American last names bc that’s all they knew.”

  • BoutDatLove

    P.S.

    If we could have a talk with one of our ancestors (one that was actually a slave) and if we are to ask them if they enjoyed having their slave master’s last name, what do you think they would say? We can pretend like we aren’t hearing what I am saying but when you see the last name Li or Wang, you think Chinese. This is how people are able to us discrimination against an individual or a whole group because of last names, because it serves as a way to identify. Tis’ is all.

  • D

    This is a good point for the name-hyphenation crowd (I ignore the name-meshing mentioned in this article because it’s just idiotic). Whose name will the children receive? Will they have hyphenated names and, if so, when does it stop? I guess it’d be “right on!” if your great, great, great, great, great, great granddaughter has 8 last names strung together. Now she would be a real legacy preserver!

    All this legacy talk is bunk, by the way. It would be so refreshing if the “you don’t own me” crowd would just give their real, honest reasons.

  • D

    I don’t think it matters that much to anyone, really. Who cares what someone else does? But it’s more of a visceral reaction to the breaking of tradition and the reasons behind it. It’s like the explosion of men wearing pink….sure it’s OK, but……lol

    Personally, I think families should share a surname….one surname. There should be a good reason to break a tradition that isn’t really damaging, and is, in fact, unifying. The reasons I’ve heard for hyphenation (again I’m ignoring this asinine name meshing trend) – legacy, retaining individuality, feminism, equality, “why should I change it?,” “no man owns me,” the evils of patriarchy, etc., etc. – just haven’t impressed me and strike me as hitting back against a problem that doesn’t need to be solved.

  • Oh Whatever!

    That’s because that was the only sentence you understood.

  • D

    By the way, all of you legacy preservers, you do realize you’re only preserving the legacy on your father’s side of the family. What about the legacy of your mother’s family (assuming she changed her last name like most women)? Shouldn’t you adopt her maiden name and pin it to your father’s last name (let’s call it “post-marriage, child-induced hyphenation”) to preserve the true legacy of your united family tree?

    Oh, but then you’d have to keep climbing back through your family tree and joining married names to maiden names and pinning them together. Good luck with that. All in all, what are you really preserving? You’re preserving one name above the bundle that make up your family….all those names – ONE LEGACY. Chances are 95% of the women in your family tree changed their names to their husband’s name….and guess what? They all still have legacies!!!

  • Mademoiselle

    Good point D. I like the philosophy of wanting a good reason to break with tradition if the tradition isn’t inherently harmful. Otherwise, we collectively spend a lot of time and energy challenging the status quo for no added value. But, I will say I do like the exercise of questioning whether status quo is optimal every once in a while because questions IMO ensure you’re adapting/evolving with the times when necessary. For me, that’s just part of my “argumentative” nature — I like to know that any tradition or standards I’m “born” into makes sense and have a place in my life. But if there’s no good reason to change, I’m always happy to acquiesce once I have all the information.

  • D

    True indeed. Well said.

  • P

    I really didn’t have a problem taking my husband’s last name. I kept my last name as my middle with no-hyphen… and dropped my middle name completely. Also, what I attempted to do was to preserve my last name thru our son’s. Even tough, I wasn’t crazy about MY last name (an obvious slave -given name) – I still wanted to have my name as our son’s middle.

    I think it is very neat when you have a suitable last name that canbe used as a first name or a middle name for the children. For example – Jackson Bridges. This way both names are preserved for genealogical purposes. .

  • Mademoiselle

    I was waiting for this one to come out as soon as I saw the “but it’s your slave master’s name” posts. The next question would be if this meshing becomes a trend, genealogy will be a helluva field to work in 3 or 4 generations from now when you have to decipher how your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc decided on the combinations they used. At the end of the day, you’re either preserving a one-sided legacy or detaching yourself from at least some part of your past.

  • Pseudonym

    Ummm…this comment makes no sense b/c this is discussing the actions of MARRIED WOMEN! These aren’t single women meshing their names with their partners and giving backseat love advice, these are wives meshing their names with their husbands and someone pointing out the trend among some married women.

    It may not work for you, but it seems to be working for some people, obviously.

  • Perspective

    PROUDLY WEARING THE MATRIARCHAL BADGE

    E.G. – No true male ownership of their homes, children, or community – NO LEGACY FOR THE BLACK MAN.

    And then they wonder why the black woman is NOT collectively valued to PATRIARCHAL STANDARDS as in ALL other communities where men build and pass on their wealth or what they have created to THEIR CHILDREN with THEIR NAME – which gives them a sense of pride and overall responsibility. SMDH

    URL:
    http://vimeo.com/53811183#

    Notice how they go right into – “THEY DON’T FEEL THE BLACK WOMAN IS VALUED OR APPRECIATED AS OTHER RACES OF WOMEN”

    They ALWAYS – miss the point that the value of ANY WOMAN is directly attached to what men are building and trying to pass on, and here you have women in the below comment talking about HYPHENATION of their name which is in league with the STRONG INDEPENDENCE OF BLACK WOMEN – and then they wonder why they aren’t valued.

    I’m about to be done with this whole conversation because I can see my words just simply fall on deaf ears.

    “Traditionally, a woman takes on her husband’s surname after marriage to represent her new identity but in recent years, there’s been a shift in the practice. More women are hyphenating their maiden and married surnames, and meshing has emerged as a viable option for newly-married couples.”

  • http://gravatar.com/anechan1 ronchane

    The Solution is simple…

    Do NOT marry American women…

    Peace:~)

  • Flash

    @ Perspective

    I made a comment on this thread a while back and I was going to argue it out… but then I thought what’s the point? marriage, with the current laws we have, divorce rates, alimony, child custody, matriarchal women etc is a bad deal for men, lets face it the cards are stacked against them.

    I think women hyphenating their name is the least of our problems. I fully understand what you mean about building and the passing on of wealth etc but what can you really build with women like these?!!? Its not happening, and the state of the blk community and relations between BM & BW is evidence of that.

    All BM can really do is work/focus on themselves and their children and leave BW to their own devices. You made a great comment though.

  • Perspective

    Thumbs down all you want. This is a REALITY that eventually black women are going to have to face.

    At this point I’m just thinking the community is too far gone. There is too much internal resistance to patriarchy, too much internal resistance to “structure” and “respecting positions” because people always find some way of DISMISSING it because its associated with the overall white power structure.

    I don’t know how black people expect other black people to want to fulfill positions that NO ONE RESPECTS – that are needed positions in the community.

    “YOU AIN’T NO BETTER THAN ME! DAMN THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE MONEY!”

    Even though MONEY is precisely what is being used AGAINST the black community, precisely what we lack and don’t have, also it is only those individuals WITH RESOURCES – damn where they got it from that SHOULD be used to repair the community.

    With the community the way it is – and the complete LACK of structure that exist because everyone wants to be so much of a “GDI”

    Put all that in a box – OH YEA! Black women will never be VALUED in the ways that you see women valued in other communities.

    With the way things are – it will NEVER HAPPEN.

  • YoungBlackCollegeStudent

    In response to your question about who hyphenates the name, it is traditionally just the woman. My mother has a hyphenated last name but my father just kept his name.

    If I chose to hyphenate my name I would not ask my husband to do the same. If he chooses to great, but I do not feel strongly about having the man change his name as well.

  • YoungBlackCollegeStudent

    I HATE this idea that you can’t be a feminist and love men.
    I consider myself a feminist, but not in the sense that everyone thinks. I do not hate men. I do not bash men. I have no problem with women staying at home. I do not have a problem with women taking the last names of their husbands. IF THEY WANT TO. I think people should educate themselves on feminism before they go and criticize it. Every feminist is different and personally speaking I believe what makes me a feminist is the fact that I want equal opportunities. I want women to be free to make decisions for themselves and not just be forced to abide.

    Now getting back on topic….I am very attached to my surname. It is rather uncommon—in fact every person I’ve ever met with my last name has ended up being related to me. I have always taken great pride in my name because of this uniqueness.

    Also my father and I were always extremely close and when he passed almost two years ago more than ever I wanted to keep my last name. I am definitely not opposed to taking my husbands last name though.

    I am still very young, 18 to be exact, and there’s still enough time for me to make up my mind.

  • liwymi

    I love the idea, I even have a facebook page created for the practice :) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Blended-Surnames-FamilyLast-Name/206118099517780

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