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Should your husband take your last name? Zoe Saldana doesn't seem to mind

Zoe Saldana and her husband, Marco Perego, are unexpectedly making news because the Italian artist decided to take her last name, despite tradition.

The “Guardians of the Galaxy” actress said she was confused why this was a big deal in a Facebook post, given that women taking their husband’s name has never before been a source of such talk.

“Gentlemen, I implore you to think outside the box — remove the box altogether,” she wrote. “Let’s redefine masculinity. A real 'man' leads along side his partner. A real man accepts his mortality. A real man acknowledges that nothing can be done alone.”

Tradition has dictated that women take their husband’s last name for centuries, and it has long been debated whether this trend is outdated or whether it should remain the norm.

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A Huffington Post and YouGov survey suggests tradition is still winning out. Sixty percent of women take their husband’s name at marriage, 11 percent keep their name and 8 percent combine the names.

The number of women keeping their name has fallen since its heyday in the '90s when 23 percent of women didn’t change their name at marriage, Rebecca Adams reported for the Huffington Post.

The number of men taking their wives’ names, like Saldana’s husband, is so small that it is difficult to get a number of how many men are doing so.

A survey of Men’s Health readers showed that 96.3 percent of men wouldn’t take their wife’s name even if they were asked, Kate Hakala reported for Mic. One man surveyed said he wouldn’t take his wife’s name because “that’s just not manly to me.”

In addition to tradition, women must consider how changing their name would affect them in their career and what their future children would be named, Hakala reported.

“Changing a name is, in many ways, a change of identity,” she wrote. “We associate our names with our heritage, family, childhood, career and even our personal brands. Switching over when we sign a marriage certificate is saying goodbye to one aspect of our life and adopting a new identity; in heterosexual marriages, that often means sharing one with a man.”

Some couples will adopt a new name entirely, which they say gives both of them a fresh start and a new identity as a couple. William MacAskill wrote for The Atlantic that he and his wife took her maternal grandmother’s maiden name because it had a strong history and they both liked it.

“You might say that we need some rule, and that taking the man's name is as good as any other,” MacAskill explained. “But is this true? Why not go with whichever name sounds better? Or which name is associated with the coolest people?”

Related Links:

Should a woman take her husband's name? Here's what the poll says

10 of the most influential baby names in history

Shelby Slade is a writer for Deseret News National. Email: sslade@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: shelbygslade.