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X-Y Surnames?

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  • X-Y Surnames?

    I have been reading a number of articles recently about how outmoded our Western surname system is.

    There is no law in Australia that insists a wife must take her husbands name. I also think there are no legal restrictions on what or who determines a child's surname. I'm not sure if it is regulated in other countries. I do know that in the state I live in, Tasmania, once your given and family names are on your birth certificate it is very difficult to have them changed until you are at least 16 if not 18.

    Its traditional that children take their father's surname and while practical I agree that it is patriarchal.

    Perhaps a better system might be for any child to take a hyphenated surname made up from their direct female (X) and direct male (Y) lines. For instance my surname would be TAYLOR-MALLETT. As BROOKS is my wife's maiden name, my boys (and potentially girls) would be BROOKS-MALLETT.

    If the system had been in place for say 150 years or 4-5 generations or so, my Mother's surname would have likely have been PRESNELL, so mine would be PRESNELL-MALLETT.

    Direct female surnames would be passed down direct female lines. And male surnames would be passed down direct male lines.

    I just think it would be a far more gender-neutral system? I'd be interested to know what people think about this idea.