Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Jennifer Wolfe-Smith

Jennifer hyphenated her natal last name with her husband’s last name.

Jennifer explained some of her reasons for wanting to maintain her natal last name in marriage; “I have to tell you- and, of course, being a feminist, and I have one year towards a PhD in political science, which was predominantly a male-dominated field, at least when I started- I wanted to be heard and show that I was standing up and being a woman. So it was important for me, for my own identity, not just to represent my family and being the last one [here she refers to wanting to keep the surname Wolfe in the family line].”

Jennifer also described how her children have been affected by her hyphenated name; “I can see the wheels turning when they think of things, and they’re still young. My oldest is twelve, but I think she’ll rethink their name choice when she does and if she does marry. And I think then she might want to maintain a certain level of her own identity involved as well. So at least for my own three children, I don’t think it’s made them realize, “Okay, I can be a mom, I can be a wife, I can do all these things, but still be me.”

 

 

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