Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Mia Ives-Flores

(Mia’s mother kept her own name and her father kept his own name, but Mia and her sister have hyphenated last names)

Interviewer: Rachel Fischman

[Intro and consent] What is your last name story? Like where does it come from?

Well Ives is just like my mother’s family name. There’s not really much story about that. There was an Ives on the Mayflower which is cool. But…are you talking about how I got a hyphen name?

Yeah. Or the history of it. Either way.

Well it’s pretty simple. When my parents were getting married, it was kind of a no-brainer that my mom would keep her last name. So she’s just Ives and my dad is Flores, but…they wanted to combine our names because, I don’t know, it reflects both of my parents. And it’s not just my father’s family name, it’s like, you know, my mother and my father. That’s the story.

And what do you think you would do when you get married or unite?

…I actually thought about this a lot ’cause…like I used to just go by Flores for a while ’cause I thought it was easier but I think when I get married I would also like to hyphen it but only keep my father’s name so it’s not like two hyphens, you know? But I still don’t know, it’s all up in the air.

And do you have role models that would make that decision? Like did you have a role model that gave you the idea to drop the Ives part?

Um, no not really. It just seems more like logic, you know. Like when you get married…No, not really.

Do you think that the uniqueness and the ethnicity of your family name was important in both of your parents keeping their names?

Um, yeah. I think especially for my dad and the fact that he had daughters.

Oh yeah.

He wanted, like, to continue the family name. And sorry what was the question again?

[Repeats question]

Yeah I actually think definitely. Not so much for my mother but definitely for my dad because he’s so proud of his Cuban culture. He really wants to be able to keep that even though now his family’s very Americanized, he still wants to be able to have a really inherent Cuban culture and be able for us to be able to identify with Cubans and have that last name and all that.

What did your parents hope for in choosing to hyphenate your name?

I think that they just wanted me and my sister to be a representation in our name of both my mother and my father and kind of do away with that traditional like take your father’s name kind of business. ‘Cause we’re not just my father’s children, my sister and I. We’re both.

What kinds of reactions do you get about your last name? Like do people ever call you the wrong thing?

Some people pronounce it like “Eve-ez” but that’s just purely like no that’s just ignorant. But no I mean people don’t really react. Sometimes they’ll hear the Spanish-ness of Flores and they’re like “Ooh, that’s cool!” But besides that I haven’t really gotten much confusion or comments about it.

Do you think that a woman keeping her last name speaks to feminist goals?

Yeah I do ’cause I feel like taking your husband’s name when you get married is just sort of this weird traditional thing that doesn’t really need to be anymore. And I think it’s really cool that my mom kept her name when she got married ’cause that’s like her identity. She’s not adopting her husband’s identity just because they’re married, you know, she’s her own person and my father’s his own person

And what do you think the generation of children with hyphenated names should do as they marry and have children?

Woah. Shit. I don’t know. I think it’s a personal decision. It really depends on your perspective on what your last name means to you. But I think keeping a hyphened name when you get married is a little much, especially for kids. On second thought, I think I’ll keep my last name and not incorporate my husband’s name if I get married. But my kids should have a reflection of both of our names in their last names I think. I think that’s a good idea.

Is there anything else you want to add about your last name?

I love it. A lot.

Thank you for being interviewed!

Yay! [End]

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