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Study Shows 50 Percent of Women Should be Legally Required to Take Husband's Name?

5:50 PM, Aug 12, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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It was part of a larger survey probing public opinion of a range of gender- and family-related topics. Somewhat contradictory, almost half the people surveyed said it would be "OK" for a man to change his name to that of his wife.

Now, the reasons many say it's "OK," according to researchers, are because they either find it implausible, or because men should be able to change their names if they want because they're men.

Surely those results won't please Valenti, but I'm a bit suspicious of a study with such unlikely and divergent results. If fully half of the people surveyed believe a woman should be legally required to change her name to her husband's, then almost all of the left-over folks would have to believe that it's "OK" for a man to change his name to his wife's name (unless you assume the latter segment is encompassed by the former percentage, which would put those folks in an odd position).

Because 70 percent of people believe women should change their names, those folks would inevitably overlap with the percentage that thinks it's "OK" for a man to change his name, which is a much less mainstream position.

It all seems a bit odd, and more than enough reason to be doubtful, especially of that 50 percent figure, until I read more about the methodology and questions used.