Having recently got married I have been pondering whether to change my name. Many people have been asking me whether I will take my husband’s name and I have started to realise that this requires some thought in relation to both work and personal identity!
My whole business has been based around being Denise Fryer (my website was originally denisefryer.com) so will past clients suddenly forget who I am and will future clients be able to find me if I changed my name? I have spent years creating and building my career and what if that suddenly just disappeared? Fryer isn’t even my maiden name (which is Wood) so I have little emotional attachment to it anymore, but I do fear that changing it now could mean I lose my professional identity.
I am fortunate that my husband has a good surname, (although in some ways that makes the choice even harder) and I am happy to perhaps have the best of both worlds and be a Worthington at home and a Fryer at work but in reality is that just too complicated? I mean, these days with Facebook, Instagram, twitter, linkedin, Google + and every other digital channel how can I possibly decide which is for personal use and which is for professional. Also in this day of proving your identity deciding which name remains on my passport and driving licence is critical as these are widely used for this purpose. I wonder whether I simply have to be ‘all in’.
I could of course just include all my identities and hyphenate them…so I could be Denise Wood-Fryer-Worthington or Denise Fryer-Worthington!
Surprisingly the tide has turned and an increasing number of women are opting to take their husband’s name. In the 90s a quarter of women kept their maiden names but by 2011 this was down to less than 10 per cent, so if I make the change I certainly won’t be alone.
A lot of people talk about the ‘f word’ but feminism isn’t about making a stand and keeping your name out of principal, it is about embracing the chance to choose. I still haven’t really decided, but I am glad that I have the option...watch this space.
I’d welcome you sharing your experiences and decisions.