Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Stella Aloria Mainar

Stella is of Filipino descent and has her mother’s natal name as her middle name and her father’s natal name as her last name. She is proud of her name and feels that it represents her parents and family.

Stella discussed her feelings about having her mom’s natal surname as her middle name and said, “My mother, she was the one who actually gave birth to me; she is a significant part of my life. I love both my mother and father equally… and I like that… That I have that [link], that I grew up, not with some arbitrary name, but it actually has significance with my family that traces back at least to my mother’s side… If I were to have children, I would like to do the same.”

When asked her opinion on the best practice for last naming, Stella said, “I think names are very important because… that’s what you grow up in, and sometimes people really grow into their names… Names are very personal; it really depends on reflection of what kind of culture you grew up in and the preferences of your family, what they, both your mother and father, feel comfortable with. And, so in regards to what should it be: I can’t say that I have a particularly strong opinion. I just think that whenever it comes [to deciding the surname], whenever anyone comes together in marriage or has children, they actually have a sit down and discuss what they both are comfortable with. I don’t think that it should just automatically be taken that all the children will take the [children’s] father’s last name and the wife will take the last name of the father. I don’t think that’s very fair. So I would hope that… is the case with a lot of people: that there’s not an automatic belief that this is how it should be versus a discussion.”

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