Men viewed as more feminine, lacking pants if wives keep last name, study finds

RENO, Nevada — What’s in a last name? Muscle, apparently. Men married to women who opt to keep their maiden names after tying the knot are often viewed as less masculine and lacking pants in the relationship, a new study finds.

Researchers at the University of Nevada conducted three related studies in the United States and United Kingdom, hoping to learn how a woman’s decision to keep her last name affected how others perceived her husband.

Bride holding wedding rings
A new study finds that a man is viewed as less masculine and disempowered when his wife keeps her maiden name after marriage.

The researchers’ first two studies found that whenever a husband’s last name differed from that of his wife’s, he was frequently described in ways that both deemphasized his masculinity and overemphasized any feminine characteristics.

Meanwhile, previous research has shown that wives who shun the time-tested naming tradition enjoy a number of benefits, including higher social status and perception of power, along with increased self-focus, ambition, and assertiveness.

These qualities run counter to older, rigid portrayals of women, which depict them as kind and nurturing, yet powerless, the researchers note.

“A woman’s marital surname choice therefore has implications for perceptions of her husband’s instrumentality, expressivity, and the distribution of power in the relationship,” says Rachael Robnett, the study’s lead author, in a journal release. “Our findings indicate that people extrapolate from marital surname choices to make more general inferences about a couple’s gender-typed personality traits.”

Robnett’s third study showed that men who held steadfast beliefs on traditional gender roles showed increased prejudice against husbands who didn’t share their last name with their spouse, seeing him as disempowered.

“We know from prior research that people high in hostile sexism respond negatively to women who violate traditional gender roles,” she explains. “Our findings show that they also apply stereotypes to nontraditional women’s husbands.”

While societal change benefiting women has continued at a steady pace, many feminists still wonder when women will no longer be expected to take on their husband’s surname, which they regard as an obsolete practice.

“The marital surname tradition is more than just a tradition,” Robnett argues. “It reflects subtle gender-role norms and ideologies that often remain unquestioned despite privileging men.”

The researchers published their findings last week in the journal Sex Roles.


  1. BARF on all of it.
    Ever since Eve women have been out of control.
    Men screw things up badly enough without the women helping.
    ‘Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.’
    Stay at home and be an anchor for your husband, be a homemaker, raise your children, and guess what?
    You will find happiness.
    In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    1. that would be great….if you can afford to do so….

      this has nothing to do with earning money……in fact MOST of the family wealth earned will come MANY…..MANY years after you first get married….

      today….a new house (here in California at least) costs about $750K…if the average age of a newly married couple is 26 …there are few jobs that a single income household can obtain that will afford you a house here in my neighborhood …. you need 2 incomes least for a few years

      1. Perhaps.
        However, I did it. Here is how: First I PRAYED. I asked, among other things, that He provide an income sufficient that my wife to be (I hadn’t even met her yet) not have to work outside the home, sufficient to pay for that home. I asked He send me a woman who wanted to stay home and be my homemaker, lover, wife and mother to my children.
        He made me wait 8 years, but everything was delivered. All this is sunny SoCal.
        Truly God has blessed me.

  2. What’s the big deal? My wife is an executive professional who makes 3x the money I make. Her name is known within her career field.. I encouraged her to keep her name. Changing the name is an antique tradition based on the notion that women are chattel. Wtf do I care what other people think about it? I work hard. She works hard. We’re 15 years together and going strong. We take care of each other and there’s no gender confusion. She cooks, cleans, fixes stuff, assembles furniture, etc. and I do to. A wife is not property. Keep her happy and you’ll be all the happier for it. It pays dividends. It’s like being rich. All the goodness just flows right back to you.

    1. your wife can take your name and STILL make 3x what you make..

      what you FAIL to understand is that HER name is not her’s belongs to her FATHER

      you are allowing HER FATHER to hold power over you in YOUR marriage

      1. He was a great man. Vietnam vet. Homicide detective. Served his country and community his whole life. The only power he ever wielded was to pay for our wedding. She’s a daddy’s girl. I like daddy’s girls.

        1. all irrelevant…you are NOW the WIFE of your husband….are you ashamed?

          are you hoping you ex-boyfriends can still find you on facebook?

          are you planning a divorce in a couple of years?

        2. So you have a family unit where everyone has one name and your wife still identifies as her father’s daughter instead of your wife and your childrens’ mother…. And you don’t see where the disconnect is? I once knew a girl who married a guy who was a paraplegic. She insisted that the lack of intimacy that would exist in that marriage wouldn’t be an issue for her… 3 years later she left him for a guy she had gotten into an affair with….

          1. I guess it’s simpler because we have no children and never wanted any. We’ve worked to prevent having children. It’s insanely awesome to not live in the world of the morons in this comment thread. Nobody needs alpha males anymore. Not everybody cheats and lies. A successful marriage is based on friendship. People get old. Bodies droop and sag. Looks fade. If that’s what you base attractiveness on, you’re doomed. My wife will serve me dinner. I’ll make her morning coffee. She’ll do the bills while I put a new starter in her truck. What the hell use would she have for some knuckle-dragging troglodyte? We laugh at those guys when we go shooting. The smaller the willie the bigger the gun.

  3. Why should a wife abandon the name she’s used her entire life, and more than a husband abandon his? Professionally, my wife still uses her maiden name. Personally, she usually uses my surname. After a couple of months, nobody even noticed any more. I don’t give a rat’s ass how it’s “viewed”. Marriage isn’t a matter of last names. In all honesty, I might have a slight an issue if she ALSO refused to wear a wedding ring.

  4. Yes MS (((Steingold))), women taking their husbands name is definitely “privileging men.” Did you wear your “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” shirt as you wrote this drivel?

  5. “While societal change benefiting women has continued at a steady pace, many feminists still wonder when women will no longer be expected to take on their husband’s surname, which they regard as an obsolete practice.” So the inference here is that women who keep their parent’s name are more successful and the trend is growing as more women cast of the chains of their husband’s last name…. Such BS…. first off, did the study ever consider the fact that many times it is an already successful woman who chooses to keep her last name for professional reasons? Not the other way around..

    Also I’d like to see the ratio of divorcees comparing those who keep their last name vs those who honor their family with a singular last name for everyone…. Seriously, liberals will never rest until the family unit is destroyed beyond repair…. and they have almost succeeded.

  6. You know, in plenty of cultures, even in the West (as well as in the East), women traditionally keep their maiden names. In fact, in some places, everyone has two surnames (one from each parent) and nobody changes their names when they marry (Hispanic for example). The English way of doing things isn’t the only way and doesn’t make one more feminine, masculine, liberal, conservative, or whatnot if people decide eschew (or go with) the naming conventions. I changed my name when I married, but you would have thought the banks, SS, et cetera had never heard of the practice. They made it the biggest hassle, to the point that I would not have bothered to legally change my name if I had to do it over.

    1. The English way is far more logical. From a legal perspective having a family unit with different last names is incredibly impractical.

      1. Actually, the English perspective is a relic of a past wherein women were not legally considered as persons (i.e. like children). It had little to do with logic and practicality.

        1. How it started is irrelevant (most people didn’t have last names before around 1100) it is imminently practical in today’s world. Casting away tradition that works perfectly well makes no sense.

          1. It isn’t practical though. Practical is not having to go through the hassle. For me, it was an extreme hassle. I literally had to deal with the same bank multiple times, had issues with SS, and had issues having my name legally changed at a credit union, and on other forms of documentation. It was not nearly as effortless and easy as the process is often touted as being. My husband would have been fine with my decision either way. The only reason I bothered was due to pressure from my own parents and not from him. After seeing what I went through, my sister didn’t change her name. Somehow, everyone knows she’s married to her husband and that their kids are his. Nobody looks at him as being less masculine. I reckon the only individuals that like to lob such accusations against men are those that are afraid of women and are not secure in their own masculinity.

      1. It’s so hard to take someone seriously in a comments section, when they don’t bother to use their legal name.

  7. Women that keep their maiden names are not serious marriage material. They are in it for something else, another feather in her cap I presume. Been happily divorced for almost 10 years now. I have found what true freedom really feels like. Utopia.

  8. Cuck / cuck / noun. 1. US informal A weak or servile man
    2. Any man who voted for Hillary Clinton
    3. Progressive beta male
    “I was called a Cuck because I let my wife use her maiden name.”

  9. what does this reveal about all those husbands in china whose brides keep their names because it is a cultural thing? are you wimpifying the most populous nation on the planet?

    1. In China the way they name their children is, they take coin, toss it downstairs, and whatever sound the coin makes (“Ding Jong Zin Pin Dong Boon!) becomes their name.

  10. gee what a surprise. thats almost as obvious as concluding that women with hyphenated last names are usually @itches like say hillary rodham clinton

  11. I’m a knuckle draggin’ male and I didn’t care. I’m not much for illogical traditions. Marriage means some protective laws if something happens to me she will have things easier. That’s about it to me.

  12. Did brides keeping their last name cause this change in men, or did men like this marry those who would keep their previous name? That’s the divide between cause and correlation… but there I go again, using logic, reason, and mansplaing to undermine the dominant narrative. :/

  13. I asked my future wife if she would change her name. Had she said no, then I would have not asked her to marry me.

  14. My ex wife insisted on this 25 years ago. We divorced quickly (shocker)!!!
    And now she is on her 4th marriage has like 5 kids, and Im pretty sure is collecting public assistance.
    I am grateful she never took my name!!!

  15. Real women, who like real men, WANT to have their husband’s name because they are proud to be part of his family. Women who don’t, are not proud of their men, and there is probably a reason why.

  16. How is this surprising? if your dad is Albert Einstein it’s one thing, but if your dad is Bert Schmall and he works at UPS ?????

  17. Ordinarily I think this is true, but I knew a guy who took his wife’s last name. He had this really long Polish last name, and her last name was Henry. He liked the idea of being known as John Henry, so there are exceptions.

  18. I played in a band in the early 2000’s that did some weddings.

    One wedding reception we played at, the groom (a college professor), had actually taken his wife’s last name.

    Yes, I’m serious.

    But her dad was absolutely loaded with dough, and the reception was at her parents’ very swank McMansion.
    And Daddy paid us good, so whatever…good luck with that, dude..

    Not me….

  19. Funny how the icon of feminism (Hitlery) refuse to give up her husband’s name after he cheated on her multiple times.

  20. My wife took my last name but still wears the pants. After 32 years, I don’t give a flying F*&#. She gives me an illusion and I live with that..

  21. This is one more attack upon the family. Insecurity is never a cause for rejecting the latest feminist nonsense. Accepting it might be,

  22. No surprise. I have known many couples where the wife choose not to take the husband’s name. In every case, the husband was a wuss and was henpecked. Most ended in divorce within five-ten years. Most ended childlessness. A few had hyphenated name children, most of whom had parents who were separated by the time the children hit high school. Interestingly not a single man I know who had a wife who kept her maiden name and subsequently divorce married another woman who kept her maiden name – in every case the second wife took the husband;s name. Which goes to show that even wusse’s get tired of being wusses.

  23. “Robnett argues. “It reflects subtle gender-role norms and ideologies that often remain unquestioned despite privileging men.”” – And that’s when I knew Robnett has spent way too much time in the Bubble of Academia and Latte Clutches. Just gross to even read a sentence like that… all Newspeak-y and all.

  24. I work in a job where I have to call for people by their last names. The hyphenated dual last names some women have are just an assault on the English language. Crunchy, unwieldy, cumbersome, unlovely.

    And guess what? Keeping your maiden name means keeping your father’s name. So you are still bowing to convention.

  25. My wife joined my family, so she changed her name. I didn’t take anything from her, she gained something. It was a huge sign of respect to me that I value to this day. She is also a strong and powerful woman despite what some idiots would assume. People should be like libertarians and realize they don’t have the right to care about someone else’s personal decision. Its very liberating… You can do it!!

  26. In Spain and most Latin American countries the woman has NEVER changed her name. I thought it was an Anglo-Saxon custom. It has always irked me that some men insist on it, I feel like they want to erase their wife’s self. And to be introduced as Mrs Joe Smith is awful, she has been obliterated. Changing the woman’s name is a law only in Hawaii.

    1. If a woman has ALREADY established a successful professional career and a positive, respected, professional reputation under her maiden name, I can understand why she would need to keep her name, regardless of whether or not she wanted to.

    2. Its more of a Christian, and possibly a Jewish tradition/observance/commandment as the bible says; ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” mrk10;7-9

      Sorta hard to claim you are one when you carry two names.

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