Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

A. Gracie Rennecker

My name is Amanda Grace Rennecker, but I go by Gracie. I am an Anthropology major at Colorado College.

Early on in the process, I was immersed in the project for about a month in December 2012 and the topic did not strike me as one that I did or should care about. My mother took my father’s last name and I had never been exposed to people who were outspoken about their reasons for exercising non-conventional last naming practices with threads of feminism interlaced. As I interviewed people and probed through the NVivo database, I began to think more about what I would do when I got married. I, also, realized that my current last naming practice, although superficially patriarchal, is indeed relevant to the feminism and last naming practices project. I am adopted and if my birth mother had kept me as her daughter I would have gone by the name Bailey Valdez. Valdez is my birth mother’s last name, and I now recognize that I discuss how my last name would have been Valdez to validate my Hispanic heritage. Plus, checking the minority box on college applications, scholarships, and medical school applications gives me the chance at having a leg up on my white counterparts. Not only does my current life relate to the project, but also the whole process has really made me ponder on my future marital naming decisions.

Interviews: Gina BambergerJessica Giles CopelandJoyce Norton-McCormickKayla HuntLilly MartinMary Pechauer, Bette Antera, Kathy Wade

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