Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Amy Dounay

Amy Dounay kept her last name when she married her husband, both for professional reasons and because the history associated with her lat name would disappear if she changed her name to match her husbands.

I kept my family name (Dounay) when I married, in part because it’s a unique (i.e. made-up at Ellis Island) family name and only women in our family are in my generation (i.e. the name will disappear if we follow the traditional patriarchal naming conventions).

When Amy and her husband had children, they decided to hyphenate their names in a nontraditional manner.

My children are Audrey and Avery Atwood-Dounay), with the idea that if they choose to drop half to simplify their names at some point, it might be easier to drop the harder to pronounce and spell part (mine) and keep the simpler name (Atwood).

Amy states that, although there have been complications and inconveniences surrounding both her kept name and her children’s hyphenated names, she does not regret the decisions.

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