Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Maria and Mackenzie Mulligan-Buckmiller

Maria and MacKenzie Mulligan-Buckmiller’s (identical twins, known as the “little buckies” back in elementary school) parents decided to keep their last name and hyphenate their childrens’ names. Though Maria and MacKenzie seemingly have grown up in somewhat similar environments, their ideas on changing their name vary drastically.

Mia starts out with, “I think that names aren’t that big of a deal. I think that me choosing to go by Mia instead of Maria is not that huge of a deal. And I know that that’s not the same thing but I think that if I choose to adopt another last name that it’s not going to reflect poorly on me or my independence or dependence on men, at all.” Kenzie counters with, “I think names are extremely significant because they carry the history of your family.” When asked about the relation of changing one’s name to feminism, Mia says, “I don’t think adopting a new name has anything to do with feminism…I don’t think changing your name means you’re subordinate to men.” Kenzie argues, “You’re losing your identity in changing your name.” Mia interrupts with, “I don’t think you are. I think you are trying to make your compromise- that’s going to affect your life.”

Mia maintains, “I think that my independence is not in a name. I don’t need a name to tell me that I’m independent.” Kenzie shakes her head and tells her “No, no.” Mia continues: “So I don’t care if I change my name. It honestly depends on the name. If it’s a cool name like, ‘Dr…Blank’, and it sounds cool then I’m taking it!” Kenzie shakes her head again, “You are will to lose your identity just so that…” Mia interrupts, “I’m not losing my identity!” “No, you’re letting your family history of Mulligan-Buckmiller just drop.” “No, I’m not.” “Yeah, you are.” “No, I’m not.”

Interviewed by Kira Osborn

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