February 27, 2024

Fighting for the Matriarchy, in Name


Fighting for the Matriarchy, in Name
With March 8th coming up, here's one way you can pay tribute to the most important woman in your life... Russian Life files.

What's in a name?

In June 2023, the Constitutional Court of Kyrgyzstan ruled that women can take a "matronymic," taken from their mothers' names. In honor of this decision, Kholod Media spoke to women who have chosen to take matronymics there and elsewhere.

In addition to a surname inherited from the paternal side, Slavic women have a patronymic, a middle name derived from their fathers' first name. In recent years, however, women in Slavic countries have begun taking a stand against this traditional practice, taking their mothers' names instead. 

Many of the stories of those who are a part of this movement are linked with feminism: When 37-year-old Alexandra Irinovna began identifying as a feminist, she realized she could honor the mother who had raised her instead of the father she had never known. Yekaterina Galinovna does not absolve her mother for the flawed parenting she exhibited alongside Yekaterina's father, but as a woman and a feminist, Yekaterina feels she can more easily understand and forgive her mother. After being abandoned by her biological father and abused by her stepfather, 21-year-old Elena Svetlanovna changed her name to pay tribute to her "closest person." 

Patronymics are synonymous with respect and heritage in Slavic cultures, so it should come as no surprise that these women choose to be called by names they themselves honor. 

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