Copycat Jessica Biel Is Soon To Be Jessica Timberlake & Taking My Married Name-Changing Strategy
Leave it to Jessica Biel to buck social convention. First, she wears a pink wedding dress during her marriage to Justin Timberlake. Now, she’s forgoing the general trend in successful and famous women to keep their own last names. Yes for some, changing your last name might still feel like bowing to social conventions. But in the entertainment industry, as well as bastions of progressive culture like New York City, the majority of women seem to be skipping the age-old maiden-to-married name switch.
I understand why some people have a problem with shared last names. The tradition comes from a time when a changing a woman’s name meant she was no longer her father’s property, but now a part of her husband’s household. The ownership men seemed to feel at bestowing their last name on a woman rubbed plenty of females the wrong way. Now, when you consider the high divorce rate, some people thing it seems silly to change your name for a marriage that might not make it forever.
Personally, even if it betrays my feminist convictions, I wanted to change my last name. It had nothing to do with my husband owning me. I wanted us to have a family name that we shared. I wanted us to be a Mr. and Mrs. Honestly, I liked the tradition and I thought that it made sense for us.
The problem for me was that my work and my email were all under my maiden name. Because it was early in my career, I was nervous about making the switch and losing the small amount of credibility I had made for myself. I talked it over with my husband and decided to continue writing under my maiden name and using my married name for my personal life. Given that my work is build around an online persona, it was actually nice to get a degree of separation between my work and my life at home. I feel like I have the best of both worlds.
Now, Jessica Biel is following in my footsteps. She’ll keep the name Biel for professional purposes. In her personal life and in legal documents, her name will be changed to Jessica Timberlake. I’m happy to tell Jessica that the system is nearly as confusing as you would think it could be. In fact, it works out really well.
I don’t think that giving up your name means you’re any more committed or in love than anyone else. I don’t think it demonstrates that JT and JT are the Hollywood couple that will last. Amy Poehler and Will Arnett already showed us that no celebrity couple is safe. We’ve lost all faith in romance.
However, I think that choosing whether or not to change your name is personal. It’s something that’s very important to some people and completely irrelevent to others. I’m just happy that I could lead Jessica Biel to a solution that worked in both her private and public lives. You’re welcome for the idea, dear.