What's in a Name?

In last night's QotD thread, Shaker Dariaclone said: "This is so not the right type of question for QOTD, but I so need to help with it that I am begging the Internets this week. How do you pick a kid's last name? (In a non-patriarchal, feminist way...)"

I was never particularly worried about the whole name thing for myself—my maiden name was no more mine, or no less patriarchal, than McEwan, so unless I wanted to make up a whole new name for myself and go through the process of legally changing it, it didn't really matter. I liked the way McEwan sounded, so I changed it. If Iain's last name had been Fartworthy, I wouldn't have.

If I'd ever planned to have kids, though, I'd probably be concerned about it, in the same way Dariaclone is. I like hyphenated family names, which are more common in Britain and Ireland (e.g. Daniel Day-Lewis). If you hyphenate in alphabetical order, that seems pretty egalitarian to me.

I also love what the mayor of Los Angeles and his (soon-to-be-ex-)wife did when they got married: He was Antonio Villar and she was Corina Raigosa, and they became the Villaraigosas. I've met a few gay couples who have done the same thing—smashing two names into one. That's very romantic, and creates a great last name for the kids, too.

Anyway, what are your thoughts, Shakers? Has anyone picked a kid's last name (or your own) with patriarchy-busting in mind? If so, what did you do?

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