Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Bette Anterra

After her second divorce, Bette Anterra decided she needed a new start.  And so, as part of revamping her life, she created an entirely new last name for herself: Anterra.

Ms. Anterra’s decision to create a new name stemmed mainly from the negative experience of her last marriage and a desire to distance herself from her previous husband.  When asked how she chose the name Anterra, she responded, “Since I didn’t like my maiden name, Lothrop, which is hard to say and isn’t very pretty, I decided I wanted to choose a new name… So one summer before my divorce, a friend and I came out to Colorado and traveled around, and we were trying out different last names. I wanted it to have a Southwestern kind of influence, and I wanted it to flow with my first name, and be easy to spell and easy to say. So we drove around Colorado, and we’d go to a town and Mary would say ‘Bette Buena Vista’? No, that doesn’t sound very good…  So just by happenstance, we were on our way over to the Salida area, and we stopped and we were looking at the collegiate peaks, and I was naming the mountains for her, and told her that’s Mount Antero, and she said ‘Bette Antero,’ and I said, ‘Oh, that sounds kind of nice, but it’s masculine sounding, Antero, so then I said, ‘Well, how about Anterra?’  Terra means the earth and I’m a Taurus and an earth sign, so I thought, ‘Well, that sounds pretty good. It means of the earth, which I feel like I’m an earthy person, so we started trying it out on that trip… I consider myself a feminist, but not an activist. I certainly support women in all areas, in all endeavors, and at the time I was thinking, ‘Well, my dad’s name is patriarchal, I took my husbands name… so for me I was trying to make a statement about the ability that I, as a woman, have; the choices that I have to be who I want to be, to call myself what I want to be.

Interviewed by Sarah Hautzinger

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