Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Michael Sinclaire

Michael Sinclaire is one of the uncommon male individuals who took his wife’s name upon their marriage in 2005. In our interview he expressed how he considered himself a liberal feminist, and was “excited about flipping the norm.” Along with this, he wanted to share a family name with his wife and children—and it didn’t matter to him whether this name was his wife’s natal name, or his own. There is a certain stigma around this act in society. Michael laughed when remembering reactions he had received from friends, despite living in Berkeley—a very liberal, well-educated atmosphere. He expressed surprise that many of his male friends and peers, who he usually found himself “politically and philosophically aligned with” failed to express any approval for his decision. Michael acknowledged his own feelings on these negative reactions for men taking women’s last names:

“I think the big step is for the man to change his name to the woman’s last name… Men aren’t going to start getting erased, that’s for sure. This isn’t a problem that men could legitimately argue, that ‘oh, but then the men are going to start losing their identities.’ Bullshit, you know man? They’ll still have so much power in our mind… It’s inconvenient, but hell, any gesture of going against the norm, it tends to be inconvenient…It was worthwhile.”

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