Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Susi Marzuola

Susi kept her natal name when she married Peter Waller as an exercise of women’s right to do so and to openly reject the practice of taking man’s name. Despite her strong stance, however, she felt tied to the tradition of giving her two children their father’s surname.

When asked: Did that have anything to do with feminism– you know, with maintaining your own identity?  Susi said, Absolutely. Everything. Yeah…with that. Why do I want to take on somebody else’s name? That’s not my name. So do you feel that taking on your husband’s name is sort of subsuming your identity into his? Well, to me it was more, given the choice I would rather keep my own name…Yeah…so why not?  Why change my name if i don’t have to? And I didn’t have to, that was clear, that became more and more clear. So, good! I was delighted.

When it came to the last name of their children, Susi said: “I remember there being maybe a very short conversation that went something like: you get the last name and I get the first name. How’s that? Perfect. And, cause it didn’t, I don’t know why, I don’t know why that kind of tradition was important to maintain but… [Peter speaks] And I would say that was, my perspective on that was I was kind of curious where Susi was gonna come down on it…Yeah…And I, I think that was…Do you feel strongly either way? Umm…I don’t know if I felt super strongly, I think I was, I think having the kids be Marzuolas would have been a little, to be very honest, would have been a little tougher for me. But I sort of knew, my sort of take on it was I should just let, see how this plays out [laughter]. That’s honest, and Susi, I think kind of came up with that formula. And you were happy with that solution? Yeah.”




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