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Chrissy Teigen on why she didn’t take her husband’s surname

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Kayleigh Dray
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When a man decided to grill women on their personal life choices, Chrissy Teigen had the perfect response…

More women than ever before are choosing to keep their own surnames after marriage, yet, unlike men, these women find themselves grilled by friends and strangers alike for doing so. In fact, the issue came to something of a head last year when it was revealed that around 50% of US citizens believe that women should be forced – by law – to take their husband’s surname.

Thankfully, though, there is no such law in place: roughly 20% of women married in recent years in the US have kept their maiden names, according to a Google Consumer Survey conducted by The Upshot – and Chrissy Teigen is among them.

So, when she learned that a man had started up a social media thread solely to berate women for their personal choices, Teigen decided to step in.

“I’d really like to hear the reasoning behind women who won’t take their husband’s last name,” demanded the troll.

And while there were plenty of valid responses from countless Twitter users (think “My name is my name, his is his name,” and “Some women have built professional careers on their names.”), Teigen’s flawless answer added some much needed comic relief.

“My husband didn’t even take his last name,” she tweeted.

For those who aren’t aware, John Legend’s last name isn’t actually Legend: it’s Stephens.

And, naturally, Teigen’s tweet got a lot of love from her fans. However, there were a few who took her joke personally, with one woman insisting that she felt “attacked for taking my husband’s name” as a response.

Addressing this person directly, Teigen typed: “The best part is, I am not anti-taking the last name at all. I was going to, but I just never got around to it… I just don’t see how the choice affects anyone else.

“Why do people care so much?”

Once again, a point well made. However, Teigen’s words completely washed over one individual, who was too busy losing their mind over the fact that John Legend’s name isn’t actually John Legend.

Of course, it goes without saying that we should never judge a woman for her choices: taking your partner’s name can be every bit as valid and empowering as keeping your own.

But, because there’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer, the subject of what you do with your surname after marriage is a completely personal choice – and it’s a difficult, complex, and weighty decision, not to mention one which can make people overwhelmingly defensive. For that reason, you may think it prudent to stay quiet about your choices. But, with Margaret Atwood warning of a real-life Gilead on the approach, we can’t stay silent.

Instead, we all need to stand up, raise our voices, and support one another’s right to make our own choices in all areas of life. Whether it’s our bodies, our jobs, or our names, women 100% deserve to put our own interests first – and we deserve the right to do so radically and without apology. 

Just like Teigen.

Image: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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