Sunday, January 5, 2014

What is a name?

Hey All!

Today, I unintentionally made a facebook change and status that was supposed to be just a factual statement, and ended up being a heated discussion. I changed my name to Alana Henkel Laufman because it seems that people are only accepting me as Alana Laufman up here, when I decided to keep my maiden name. I was trying to make it so people could find me. I ended up being passive-aggressive about it, which is not good and I apologize for doing that.

But really, why won't conservative people accept that my name is Alana Henkel? I feel like I shouldn't be allowed to keep my name because I don't have a PhD, but really, how is that fair? And why is this a church thing? Ahhhhh! I know women do a lot of different things, and that is so awesome, but from the stories I hear, so many women struggle with what to do once they are married.

Kayme was the first Dr. Henkel, but she is not respected in that way because she is a woman. Many women married to spiritual leaders are known only as "Pastor's wife" or "Vicar's wife." I have found almost universal agreement that receiving a letter addressed to "Mrs. John Doe" is quite irksome. Some countries may seem progressive when they do not allow marital name changes, but what about women who want to escape a name associated with an abusive father, or a just horrid last name?

It seems like so many women experience an identity crisis once they are married. Some women are so excited to take on the name and identity of their husband. That is great! Some women want to combine their past with their future through hyphenation. My mother was progressive by dumping her middle name and making "Steinhorst" her middle name. Even though I am Alana Henkel, I am still Mrs. Laufman. I am defined by my husband whether or not I ask for it. Why can't he be Mr. Henkel, the husband of Alana Henkel? When women have children, the woman's maiden name is listed on the birth certificate. No matter what the name change, the US government recognizes a woman's roots.

I was astounded that everybody seems to have their own name story. It seems like there should be a published collection dealing with this topic. Every culture has their own tradition as well. So, why am I and other women experiencing pushback about how we identify?


  1. My own mother was irate FORTY years after Mark and I were married when she FINALLY realized I had taken Bormann as my middle name at marriage (she is not very observant). She didn't like me changing what she gave me for middle name! I must note that in Rudolph and the rest of Wood County, Mark is only known as "Hilde's husband, Mark."

  2. I love my middle name and my maiden name, but took Eric's last name as a sign of our becoming one. However, then I just moved my maiden name to a second middle name. Didn't really think about the implications until I started signing my name as Kristi MF Barclay... :) What of it. ;)