Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Danny Keene

Danny Keene, interviewed in conjunction with Nick Mattson and Chris O’Neil, was given an older family name from his maternal side as his middle name, while his surname is that of his father.

Speaking on his connection to his name, Danny said, “I don’t think it’s really shaped my identity at all. I was just given that name… I think it’s to let everyone else know who you are. I don’t think it has anything to do with personal identity… Well, I don’t think your name changes how you perceive yourself, but it definitely changes how people perceive you.” And specifically on his middle name, “I mean, it kind of goes back a few generations so even my mom doesn’t feel a huge connection to it. I honestly have no idea why they picked that as a middle name. I mean, I have four younger brothers and all of their middle names are kind of random too. Two generations back on my dad’s side or my mom’s side… Normally, it was just kind of whipped out when I was in trouble and that was about it.”

Danny, a college-age student, was also questioned about his future plans, responding, “I wouldn’t really care what my wife’s last name is. I mean, I guess it’s kind of how I grew up, so I guess I would like it if she had my last name, but I really don’t care. And, personally, I kind of would like for my kids to have my last name. I don’t know, I think hyphenated last names are kind of weird… I mean, I honestly don’t know that many people with hyphenated names. I know a few, but I just think it’s more traditional to pass down your last name.”

Interviewed by Meaghan Berns

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