Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Radhika Chavan

Inspired by her feminist mother, as well as being an established within her career field, Radhika Chavan chose to maintain her natal name during marriage. Radhika made this decision despite traditional Indian cultural influences. She describes:

“In Indian culture when a woman traditionally gets married she moves in with her husband’s family and takes on his family name and his family identity…[my husband and I] were not taking the most traditional route…there was certainly some cultural tension.”

This tension was eased somewhat by Radhika and her husband’s families recognizing the importance that Radhika’s professional reputation had on her last name choice. Radhika herself acknowledges that “although [she] made that choice for [her] career” she thinks “that in itself is feminist.”

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