Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Julie Allen and Tessa Allen de Oliveira

When Julie Allen married, she adopted the surname Allen da Oliviera, and upon divorcing switched back to her maiden name. Her daughter, Tessa kept the combined name. Julie took the name because her then-husband had just moved to the United states, and felt like that was something she could to for him. She admits she would not do it again.

Was there any importance to you in maintaining or keeping your original last name? Are you glad you got to keep your maiden name in the end? Yes… I should’ve just kept it. But as I said, the only reason was just to give one thing… But yeah, to me it is important.

Tessa discusses some inconveniences with her last name,

I think more than anything it just confuses people. Like they don’t know whether to place me with the “A’s” or the “O’s” with standardized testing and whatnot. My name can never fit in the allotted bubbles, so… Colleges and stuff always sent me duplicates of everything. No one can pronounce it, like at every awards ceremony or at graduation or whatever. It’s always wrong… just confusion.

Julie discusses how even when she was married to de Oliviera, she used her natal name professionally.

Now I’m remembering that I didn’t ever use Allen de Oliviera at work. I always used Allen, no matter what, like when I got married I never changed it because one, the confusion, but… So to me it was important in my business life, but my personal was more geared toward my children.

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