Man receives death threats after taking wife’s surname

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Sonya Barber
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A husband who chose to take his wife’s surname has been horribly trolled by men around the world.

When Grant Phillips in Sydney, Australia, decided to take his partner Jade’s surname when they got married, he had no idea that complete strangers from all over the globe would feel personally offended by his decision.

Taking to social media, Phillips revealed that he would be swapping his maiden name of Davis to take his wife’s surname because she had no brothers to continue the family name. 

Writing on Instagram, he explained: “After much time and consideration, I have made the decision to take my wife’s surname of Phillips. There are so many reasons as to why this is the right decision for Jade and I, not the least being that Jade is one of two girls without any cousins, and therefore their name will be lost after this generation.

“I know a lot of people have the perception that a man taking his wife’s name is somewhat emasculating… Each to their own I guess. I, on the other hand, believe this is a sad perspective based on an understanding of an outdated tradition which centres around ownership. For me, I’m honored that Jade would like me to take her name.”

Sadly, Phillips was right about other people’s close-minded perceptions. His next Instagram post shows just some of the online abuse he received after sharing his news.

“What sort of man take his wives [sic] name,” wrote one stranger, who directly contacted Phillips on Facebook to berate him over the matter. 

“You absolute f*****g p***y. I hope you and your w***e of a wife die in a car crash so that your genes don’t continue [sic].”

Speaking about the comments to the Daily Mail Australia, Phillips said: “I just feel sad for these people that they need to take the time out of their daily lives to track me down or to leave nasty comments on social media,”

“The thing I have an issue with is that people think they have a right to tell me to go kill myself or to tell me to go die in a car accident or wish upon me that my wife has several miscarriages.

“The American men, they were the most threatening but then the Australian men were just kind of, almost childish - comments like, ‘Do you wear a tampon?’”

“Every single hate mail I got was from a male but the ironic thing was the men would proudly display pictures of them with their daughters on the same social media pages they used to condemn me.”

Phillips added that he and his wife mutually decided that he would take her surname a year before they married in November 2017. He then changed his name by deed poll when he got a new passport in December. 

It was then that he announced his decision on social media and the harassment started.

When speaking about the reason for the decision, the newlywed said that he wasn’t trying to make a statement, explaining there was “No political reason at all.”

“She’s the last line in her family,” said Phillips. “She has no male cousins, no one to carry on the name and it kind of made sense.There’s nothing tying me to having to force her to take my name. We want our kids to be able to have the same names as us.”

He added that his family were supportive of the decision, saying: “My dad especially was our biggest cheerleader. He loves my wife. He loves my wife’s family. 

“No one had a concern at all.”

To remind us that not all people are awful, Phillips’ Instagram followers quickly commented with messages of love, support and disgust at the trolls:

@rachelmcvicar said “that’s so empowering for women! Men like you are driving gender equality. Thank you”

@ellaheap commented: “This is just awful! What is wrong with people?!? How does it affect them? Thank God you are strong, well-adjusted people. You keep doing you and make no apologies to anyone.”

@tessacalogaras added: “This is so disgusting and pathetic. Goes to show how fragile some peoples own masculinity is. Good on you for carrying on your wife and her families name. To hell the rest”

And his male followers were just as supportive:

@brickiesboy said: “You are a bloody legend mate!!!!! This is one of the coolest things I’ve heard in ages! This makes you more of a man than most….honouring your wife this way indicates what a true bloke you are!!! I recon [sic] you’ve started a trend  love it bro! Well done! ”

While others shared similar stories in solidarity:

@xdystopiatex commented: “Hi Grant, as someone who also took the surname of their spouse after we got married, my decision was also met with some raised eyebrows. Eventually everyone was pretty cool about it. Mine didn’t have the same reaction yours did, but here’s some solidarity!”

Depressingly, it isn’t surprising that some people felt so strongly about the couple’s decision as there’s still a lot of judgement around the name game.

A study taken last year and published in journal Gender Issues found that more than 70% of American adults believed that a woman should change her name after she gets married. Even more surprisingly, half felt that it should be required by law.  

Another recent study showed that women who choose not to take their husband’s surname upon getting married are often perceived as having more authority in the relationship, whereas men whose wives keep their own surnames are generally seen as being higher in traits related to femininity, such as being “submissive”, “caring”, “understanding” and “timid”.

The results shine a light on the deep-rooted nature of patriarchal attitudes towards marriage names which, sadly, continue today. 

We salute anyone bucking these too-often unquestioned patriarchal traditions and send our congrats to Mr and Mrs Phillips. 

Images: Wu Jianxiong / Instagram