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Zoe Saldana and her husband are making us reconsider last-name traditions. Here's why that's great.

Zoe and Marco Saldana made news by defying one major social norm. Here's why that's a huge deal.

When Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego got married in 2013, the couple bucked tradition when Marco took Zoe's last name.

While there are a lot of women who opt to either keep their last name or use a hyphenated version of it, it's rare to hear about the husband adopting his wife's name.

According to InStyle, Zoe tried to talk Marco out of it, saying, "If you use my name, you're going to be emasculated by your community of artists, by your Latin community of men, by the world."


His response was right on: "Ah Zoe, I don't give a s--t."

Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for AOL.

Most women do take their husband's last name.

60% of respondents in a 2013 Huffington Post/YouGov poll said women should take their husband's last name. More than half of those polled believed that men shouldn't even be allowed to take their wife's name.

Some couples opt for hyphenated names, but it's typically reserved for wives.

When she married Jay-Z in 2008, Beyoncé legally changed her name from Beyoncé Knowles to Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (there are conflicting reports as to whether Jay-Z adopted the hyphenated name as well).

And, no, there's not a conflict between that and her self-identifying as a "modern-day feminist."

Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

Some opt to take their husband's last name and make their maiden name into a middle name.

This is what Hillary Clinton did. By birth, she was Hillary Diane Rodham. When she got married in 1975, she changed her name to Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.

Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images.

No matter what someone decides to do with their name, it's a deeply personal subject.

In 2013, Women's Health polled Men's Health readers on the question of last names for an article titled "How Men REALLY Feel When You Keep Your Last Name."

The answers ranged from possessive to extremely possessive.

63% of men surveyed said they'd be upset if their wives kept their birth names.

"One family, one name," one of the men responded. "If she didn't take my name, I'd seriously question her faith in us lasting as a couple."

“It sounds like she's trying to hang onto her 'single person' identity and not identify with the fact that she's married now," wrote another.

96% of men surveyed said they wouldn't consider taking their wives' last name, even if asked.

"My name is part of who I am," a man wrote, demonstrating the disconnect between the idea that men are entitled to their names while their wives are not.

"It's not happening," said another.

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images.

Of course, it's perfectly acceptable for a woman to change her name should she want to, or to take her maiden name as a middle name. Lots of women do, and their reasons for doing so are their own.

But when you consider why women are expected to give up their names while men are not, it's a little surprising that more couples aren't choosing to do what Zoe and Marco Saldana have done.

By speaking about their decision, the Saldanas are helping establish a precedent and dismantling some of the gendered aspects of traditional marriage ... and that's a good thing.

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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