Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Jean Scandlyn

Jean Scandlyn kept her last name when she got married, both for professional and feminist reasons. She states

From the minute that we were talking about getting married that I would keep my own name. And maybe even before that. So, it was a decision I made prior to having the real possibility of marriage right in front of me – that I wanted to keep my own name. And so, it was a decision I’d made in college, probably I think, or maybe late high school. And out of real feminist principles.

Jean explains how, when she had children, she was never concerned with having names that related her to them, that her keeping her name was more about retaining her individual identity than it was about carrying on that name.  She admits there have been some inconveniences surrounding the separate last name, especially with her children’s schooling, and elaborates on a situation that could have become incredibly problematic.

They were say 10 and 12, and we traveled to Europe. I took them by myself and then joined my husband in Paris. We went to Italy first. And all of a sudden I realized that we had no documents that tied each other, that I had no documents that tied me to my children. So everything that I had was in my own name, and everything they had – they had their own passports at this stage – was all Eppler. And I thought, what happens if you know we get separated, there’s an emergency, someone in immigration says, “how are you connected to these children?

She concludes that she is incredibly happy with her decision and attributes keeping Scandlyn to helping her maintain a personal identity separate from her marriage.

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