Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Jae Salinas

Jae Salinas kept her natal name upon marriage due to the uniqueness of her name and non-conformist feelings. Her last name has Spanish roots with her family coming from Mexico and her father is from the middle-Northern part of Mexico. Many people on her father’s side of the family live in Chihuahua. “I chose to keep [my last name], really because I liked mine a lot better than my husbands. His last name is Gonzalez, and where we’re from in Deep South Texas it’s predominately a Hispanic community and there’s a large population of Gonzalezs there and not very many Salinas. So I thought mine was more unique so I wanted to keep it.” She also notes that it was much easier to keep her maiden name. “I didn’t have to stand in line to go change it. Also because it was um, I guess sort of like a personal branding decision as well, so that people who’ve known me for the 21 years that I was not married, growing up will find me easily.” Her involvement in social media was developed under her natal name.

Married in 2007, Jae Salinas expresses surprise in that she experienced no backlash for her naming decision, even from her family. She explains how she was raised and the effect that it had on her decision. “Hispanic community especially the older generations are very conservative. I was raised catholic. As I was being raised I wasn’t really conforming to those ideals and I thought I was just different. I was very different from a lot of my family. It just seemed like an unnatural thing to do, not conform to the norms of changing my last name to my husband’s. It just seemed like it was an okay thing to do and it wasn’t a big deal.”

When asked if she thinks her choice made women more visible culturally, she discusses how she thinks it would be nice if Hispanic women were seen and respected more and by not taking her husband’s last name she helped with that.

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