By Savitre “Rapture” Schaefferkoetter, Copy Editor
Women today have options for last name changes upon getting married, influenced by personal and cultural expectations.
I was born with the last name Geeratisoontorn. I was very proud of it, yet it was a reminder of 28 years where I was trying to figure things out. I wanted to change my last name to start a new chapter in my life. I have always been a culturally open-minded person and to have a German last name with a Hindi first name made me feel at home. Plus, I liked the alliteration.
I also wanted to keep my maiden name somehow. My full legal name is Savitre L Geeratisoontorn Schaefferkoetter. I had intended it to be Savitre Lynn Geeratisoontorn Schaefferkoetter but the Social Security Office told me that I needed to truncate my name so “Lynn” became “L”. Now, I just go by Savitre Schaefferkoetter. The questions about my middle name make me cringe, and I will dodge it if possible. In general, I’ve realized certain details of my life should only be revealed at the right time and place with the right audience.
My friend, Gisel, is a proud Bolivian-American who wants to make sure her last name, Calvo, lives on. Her husband’s first name is Praveen.
“In Praveen’s culture, the wife takes the first name instead of the last name,” Calvo explained.
Thus, their future children would have the last name Praveen. Calvo, however, will continue to be Calvo.
The New York Times article “Maiden Names, On the Rise Again” states: “…women with an advanced degree were five to 10 times more likely to keep their names. Asian and Hispanic women were more likely to as well.”
Calvo and I are both members of the above demographic, yet we made different decisions.
Stacy Rapacon kept her last name, as she explained in her article, “5 Choices for Changing Your Name After Marriage.” She decided “to abide by the law of inertia.”
Carmina Ozaeta, a fellow sister from the University of Central Florida (UCF), is going to retain one middle name while dropping the other. The name to drop was her mother’s maiden name, a common middle name given to Filipino children. Ozaeta has already changed her Facebook name to Tai, showing the importance of social media in the name change process. Ozaeta also believes her husband needs to be an active part of the process, rather than it being her responsibility alone. She admits that her decision to take his name is “old-school.” In 2015, keeping your maiden name became a rising trend , according to the article “How Changing Your Last Name After Marriage Affects How People See You.”
Sister Lara Mitzman, also a UCF alumna, and her husband considered merging their last name with her former one, Contreras. She did not have any expectations to keeping Contreras because she doesn’t “feel that connected with (her) dad’s side of the family to be honest.”
Contreras is a name originating from the Philippines. Unlike myself, Mitzman has not had assumptions made by other people about her ethnicity due to her new last name. Mitzman is a Polish last name, while Schaefferkoetter is an easily recognizable German one.
Research for this article has proven that any decision regarding a name change is acceptable in today’s society. The decision for the last name is definitely a well-conceived decision, rather than a change that happens predetermined.
Featured Image: Pixabay. (March 2017). No title. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/heart-hearts-mr-and-mrs-mr-mrs-2085121/
Miller, CC. Willis, D.(June 2015). Maiden Names on the Rise Again. Retrieved from https://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/upshot/maiden-names-on-the-rise-again.html
Rapacon, S. (August 2013). 5 Choices for Changing Your Name After Marriage. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/amp.kiplinger.com/article/credit/T065-C006-S001-5-choices-for-changing-your-name-after-marriage.html
Thorpe, JR. (January 2017). How Changing Your Last Name After Marriage Affects How People See You. Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/p/how-changing-your-last-name-after-marriage-affects-how-people-see-you-33237