Am I the only one surprised to learn that over 80% of American women still take their husband's surname when they get married? Provided, I've lived in the Bay Area for the last 16 years, which is about as unconventional a region as you can find when it comes to matrimonial practices. However, I always found taking your husband's name to seem like such antiquated practice - sure, it harkens back to "tradition" but so did foot-binding and drowning witches.
It doesn't take a feminist historian to point out the practice is a remnant of both patriarchal societies where women effectively surrender their identities unto their husband and his family as well as an institution of marriage where the act was about consolidating familial power. Ironically, for a practice that once had real material import (however unequal), I can't imagine what the contemporary practical/material value is of the practice except that it might save a little money on stationery and filling out online forms could be a tad faster.
To be sure, I've met some women who just don't care (but their husbands do). Other women see it as a symbolic act (as the NPR story delves into) though it'd be unimaginable to most men to ever consider changing their surname. I have to say, the most rhetorically convincing - though some what cynical - explanation I've heard is that, "who cares? I'm just exchanging one man's surname (my father) for another man's (my husband)."
In the spirit of understanding other cultures, I'm genuinely interested to know:
1) What women out there have or plan to change their surname, and why?
2) What men expect, or at least, desire, for their wives to do the same...and why?
3) What do queer couples do?