George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin are now officially Mr. and Mrs. Clooney, and not just because they tied the knot a few weeks ago. As The Inquisitr reported last week, Amal has changed her last name to Clooney. The clear evidence was the profile on the website of her London law firm, which CNN claimed crashed at the news that Amal was now taking on her husband’s moniker. Much was made about the former Ms. Alamuddin’s professional credentials before the couple’s wedding, and the apparently traditional move to take her husband’s last name after marriage had some saying the move was an affront to feminism.
In an opinion piece posted by CNN on Friday, psychology professor and former gender scholar Peggy Drexler takes a different view, raising the question as to whether or not the debate is, in and of itself, sexist.
“[A] woman needn’t keep her name in order to prove, to anyone, that she is her own person. In fact, she needn’t be required to prove it at all. If anything, it seems to be buying entirely into the patriarchy to dismiss Amal as being anti-feminist, or even anti-progressive, over a choice that she has, by all available evidence, made for herself. And we must assume it’s one she’s made, or agreed to make, or else aren’t we’re the ones being sexist?”
The news led E! Online to take a closer look at the celebrity trend when it comes to name changes after marriage. Kim Kardashian West kept her maiden name as her middle name, and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting hyphenated her maiden name and her husband’s name. Jessica Simpson uses her maiden name professionally and her husband’s name in private. Jessica’s driver’s license says “Jessica Johnson.”
According to a 2011 Wall Street Journal article, women keeping their maiden names reached its peak in the 1990s, when about 23 percent did so. That tapered off to about 18 percent in the 2000s. The article cites a study that found well-educated and higher-earning women are more likely to retain their maiden names, as are women who marry in their late 30s compared to their early 20s. The former Ms. Alamuddin fits this profile.
For women, and indeed couples, who want an entirely different option, there’s also the practice of “meshing.” Couples combine their last names into a new name, and both husband and wife make the switch. A 2013 CBC News report told the story of Maureen Harilyw and Tim Van Overbeek, whom in married life became Maureen and Tim Van Overliw. Another couple, Byron and Susan Fitzky, were formerly known as Byron Fitzpatrick and Susan Sawatzky.
Of course, it is hard to picture the Clooneys taking on the blending approach, unless the famous actor wanted to make a bold statement and change his name. George Cloonmuddin might have an interesting look on a cinema marquee.
[George and Amal Clooney Image: Google]