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upworthy

tradition

A baby and feminist lawyer Dr. Charlotte Proudman

At this point in human history, it seems somewhat arbitrary that children almost always receive their fathers’ last names. A lawyer in London, England, made the case that babies should be named after their mother, and it caused a bit of a stir on X (formerly known as Twitter.)

On August 9, Dr. Charlotte Proudman tweeted: “A message to pregnant women — please give the baby your surname. You carried a baby for 9 months, gave birth, and will be responsible for that child for the rest of your life. When you’re registering the baby, ask yourself: why is the father’s surname more important than yours?”


The tweet received 5.3 million views and over 34,000 likes.

Many responded by explaining why babies tend to take the names of their fathers. However, should those reasons apply today? Many also said that giving a child the father’s name makes them more likely to want to care for the child, but that’s setting the bar pretty low for men.

Even though there were good reasons for passing down the father’s name in the past, why should they matter in 2023 when the world is drastically different?

While some fought for tradition and others cheered for an outright reversal of naming customs to catch up with the times, others thought people should do what they feel is best for their families instead of conforming to someone else’s ideas.

Everyone is free to have whatever opinion they choose on baby surnames. But Dr. Proudman’s tweet does bring up one significant issue. Just because we’ve always done something one way doesn’t always make it right. No tradition is sacred enough to be beyond reevaluation.