Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Isaac Rowe-Raitin

Isaac Rowe-Raitin (Legally Isaac Rowe Raitin) sardonically remarks “My parents decided that they wanted to have a two word last name and both of them blamed the other, or not really blamed the other, but not everyone can agree as to why they decided to do that.” Through this process, they took on a double last name as a family name, though Isaac’s father still professionally kept by Raitin.

Some legal difficulties emerged as a result of Isaac having an unhyphenated, double last name. Masscachussets law, for example, automatically puts a hyphen in the surname on his driver’s liscense. Out of convenience, Rowe-Raitin has taken to hyphenating his name.

Rowe-Raitin dispels the importance of names in generating gender equality: “there are many other ways that women have been eliminated through public policy and social norms and the last name I think for my mom, having me carry her last name has not done too much for her in terms of being made equal in the marriage partnership.” He considers his name cumbersome, however his parents’ divorce prevents him from doing anything. In his words: “If anything I would want to take one of my parents last names and get rid of this hyphenated nonsense but since they’re divorced I can’t do that, I’d be picking sides.”

Interviewed by Lara Atkins

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