So trying to use this point as some kind of mark against women who don't change their names in the past 40 years or so seems to not be based on real historical cultural practices
I think the issue is that you have to look at each case in proper context. As has been mentioned, women don't (legally) change their names in most Spanish-speaking countries. If I understand correctly, that's been the status quo there for many generations now, as defined by the culture and governmental situation.
Similarly, we can't retroactively impose current motives on past generations. As Ebor notes, naming customs (and not only for women) have varied widely. This is true even within small areas, like colonial America. As an example, in some places, women have kept their maiden names throughout life at the insistence of their fathers
, for reasons of personal prestige. It had the practical effect that modern western feminists want, but of course, the motivation was a bit less egalitarian!
On the other hand, in places like America and Britain, the practice of a woman keeping her maiden name is generally associated with the modern feminist movement. As I mentioned in another thread, the practice seems to have peaked along with the feminist movement in the 70s and 80s, and has been on the decline in recent years. Using one's maiden name in America today is a statement, in a way that it may not have been in other times and in other cultures. If people react negatively to it in America today, they are likely reacting to the perceived motivation more than anything else.