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Changing your name after marriage – Cheryl Cole, Sarah Michelle Prinze and Jessica Hynes

By admin on December 3rd, 2007 3 comments

Several stories have been making the rounds in the media recently and they relate largely to the first two women of this title. Who is Cheryl Cole, Sarah Michelle Prinze and Jessica Hynes you might be asking. You’ll know them better as Cheryl Tweedy, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jessica Stevenson. Their crimes? Changing their names to those of their respective husband’s!

Whilst Cheryl is a relative newlywed, she has gone one step further and actually tattooed ‘Mrs Cole’ on the nape of her neck. If she forgets her name, she’ll be tied in knots trying to see who she actually is but to everyone else she’s got the ‘I belong to a man’ stamp firmly on show. And you know what, I think it’s daft, but I’m not personally offended by it.

Actresses Sarah Michelle Prinze and Jessica Hynes, on the other hand, were both married several years ago and have only recently changed their names. Were they waiting to see if the marriages worked out? According to reports, Gellar/Prinze decided to take her husband’s name as a five-year anniversary gift and Hynes/Stevenson wanted to take a name that her children also had. Neither of which are particularly odd reasons, it’s just interesting that they waited so long and changed them despite high-profile careers.

Of course many women choose not to take another name after marriage. After all we no longer have to bear the name of a man from birth then have ‘ownership’ transferred to another man and take their name. Does the fact that these high profile women changed their names to their husbands fly in the face of feminism? Hardly. They made personal decisions for themselves without seeking to impress any ideas of traditionalism on anyone else. It just means that we have the choice to take another name or not and that’s what feminism is all about.

  • I disagree. I am personally offended by it, particularly by Cheryl Cole. I cannot believe that a woman has chosen to brand herself in this way in 2007.

    I was particularly disappointed by Jessica Stevenson, since she’s a heroine of mine. I appreciate she did it for the sake of her kids, but what’s that teaching her kids? That she, and they, belong to a man?

    And, yes, I did change my name, because I wasn’t brave enough to not change it (I was young). I regret it, though, and constantly think about changing it. Not back – since my maiden name was my father’s name – but to something else. But I’m not sure I’m brave enough for that yet either.

    I’m not usually this ranty, honest, it’s just something I feel strongly about.

  • Brandon

    Interesting discussion. I honestly hadn’t heard of Cheryl Tweedy (I’m not that old, but I guess I’m out of the pop culture loop). I don’t know, I think there are plenty of ways to prove your devotion to your husband without tatooing his name on your body; while I wouldn’t equate this action to declaring yourself to be your husband’s property, I admit, it isn’t the most progressive thing to do.

    I grew up in a VERY traditional, conservative family, and kind of rebelled against it when I got to college. I’ve kind of mellowed out about that since, but I’ve never regretted for a second the decision that my wife and I made that she would keep her name. I honestly don’t understand why so many women make what seems to me to be such a knee jerk decision to take their husband’s name. I have so many female relatives and friends who are very strong, independently-minded women, many of them making as much money as their husbands, almost all of whom have decided to take their husband’s name. It’s something I’ve always been curious about.

  • Mrs Sam Harrison

    I really don’t understand what the big deal is here!
    I have recently got married and taken my husbands last name as a symbol of our marriage nothing to do with belonging to him!!
    Ps. Jessica stevenson had taken her husbands name at marriage but as they got married just as she was getting famous and felt it would be confusing to change her stage name at that point

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