I’m a feminist who took my husband’s name

When I changed my name, people thought I’d lose my independence but that wasn’t the case. Becoming a mom solidified my choice and yes, I’m still a feminist.

Oh, Amal Clooney, not only did you break the hearts of millions of women, including mine — I mean I’ve been in love with your husband, George Clooney, since he was on The Facts of Life — now you’re enraging many of those women because you took his last name. Some are even calling the former Amal Alamuddin anti-feminist.

I’m a strong, independent woman who supports equality for all.

Yep, I’m a feminist. A feminist who took my husband’s name. The horror!

Many years ago, a colleague of mine was planning her wedding so the name-changing question was asked.

“I took a while to do it, but I changed my name,” I said.

“I’m not that kind of girl,” said another married colleague with more than a hint of disdain.

Um, what? How, exactly is any woman a “kind of girl” for changing her name?

I was in my early twenties when I married my husband. I held off on changing my name for a while. I did the two last names, the hyphenated name and then the lightbulb went off.

My maiden name is Gourwitz. Try pronouncing or spelling it correctly the first time. I thought taking Burns would make life easier. Then I tried making a dinner reservation with my new last name and the hostess asked, “Is that spelled with a Y or an E?” I can’t make this stuff up.

Anyway, I don’t understand women who are up in arms about taking their husband’s name but then after first comes marriages then comes the baby in the baby carriage, wait for it — the baby gets Dad’s last name.

Whether that reasoning is to carry on the man’s name or because his, um, material was needed to make said baby, whatever. That’s a woman’s choice — a woman who I think probably calls herself a feminist, too. But if she’s not “that kind of girl” who wouldn’t dare let her feminist flag fly at half-mast by taking her husband’s name, why doesn’t she give her baby her last name?

As for my family, it’s easy because my husband, kids and I have the same last name. School forms, medical records, you name it. That said, I have friends who do the hyphenated thing, chose Mom’s last name as a middle name or even created an entirely new last name for their kids. Cool.

What I’m trying to say is, none of this really matters. Feminism is about choices, and Clooney is still going to be the kick-ass lawyer she was as Amal Alamuddin.

So, hats off to Amal Clooney for exercising her choice as a woman to do whatever she wanted to.

I’m happy to be Ami Burns. I mean, if I can’t be Ami Clooney, someone — even a feminist — should be able to take George’s name without judgment.

Read more

Here’s our take on the Amal Alamuddin Clooney name change situation
Why I’m raising a feminist
Create your own baby name


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