Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Renee Yoelin-Allen

Renee attached her husband’s surname, Allen, to her natal surname, Yoelin.

Renee described why she wanted to keep her natal surname and said, “I wanted to keep Yoelin because I had a difficult childhood. But the good thing about it is that I had this family name. That name is from Russia and three generations. They immigrated to the United States. So that was important for me to keep that. My brother, sister, and I had this thing: we were going to be this whole new Yoelins, that we were not going to be the people who came before us. But we were going to be healthy, and that is why I kept it.”

When asked about being called Mrs. Allen, Renee stated that, “Yes, and I do find that offensive. Luckily, people don’t do that anymore. Sometimes people call us ‘Mrs. And Mr. Allen’ but not ‘Mrs. Gary Allen’… I think it’s a bit ridiculous.”

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