Bogan babies and the names that could scar them for life
OPINION: What do Dijon, Bacardi, Apple and Brie all have in common? They are all tasty or thirst-quenching items which can be found in pantries and fridges across New Zealand. But they also top a food-based craze of baby names.
New parents are going to extraordinary measures to get creative with names for their offspring. Chefs often aren't happy dishing up cheese on toast. They want their culinary creations to have more flair. Parents are taking the same approach.
The website Kidspot has just publish its list of Bogan Baby Names: 2017 Edition. It makes laugh-inducing breakfast or lunchtime reading.
It says "alcohol-inspired appellations rank at the top of the bogan totem pole". As a result children are being named Bacardi, after the sickly-sweet drinks teenagers start on before graduating to harder liquor.
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If you don't like the taste of mustard on your sandwiches, it turns out the word Dijon can still be a part of your life – as a name for your offspring. I agree with the website when it says "not every French word is appropriate as a baby name just because it sounds cool."
But let's be honest, there are worse names for children.
Apparently Wyliumm and Kendrew are catching on. The distorted spelling of both names will give the recipients hell for their entire lives. Imagine having to spell out your name to everyone. It's a great way to get your child offside with their teacher from their first day of school.
These names all raise an extremely serious question. Does calling your new son or daughter Phelony, Hashtag, Danger, Colon or Abcde amount to child abuse? I think it does. It opens them up to being mocked and teased in the playground.
Naming your kid after the first five letters of the alphabet is more common than you'd think. According to the Social Security Administration database, there are more than 300 girls in the United States who've been named Abcde since 1990. I'm assuming it's pronounced ab-SEE-dee, but I stand to be corrected.
It is not just an American thing. A Taranaki girl made world headlines in 2008 after she sought help from the courts to change her name. The nine-year-old's parents thought it'd be funny to name her Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii.
The Guardian reported that family court judge, Rob Murfitt, allowed the name-change request after hearing the girl was embarrassed and had refused to reveal her name to friends.
The judge rightly went on to criticise parents who give their offspring bizarre names, saying it exposed children to ridicule among their peers. He said it also sets them up with a "social disability and handicap unnecessarily".
The girl's plight is part of a growing trend of parents choosing out-of-the-ordinary names for their little princes and princesses, everything from Number 16 Bus Shelter to Violence.
But how can a parent get away with calling their child Hugh Jass? It might not look bad, but I dare you to read it out loud. Imagine if they're ever running late to board a flight and airport ground staff page them over the loudspeaker.
Moral and political philosopher Elder Sarajlic raises some interesting points in an article titled: Should Governments Outlaw Bad Child Names? Before you cry 'nanny state', consider what he has to say.
Sarajlic writes that in most cases names do much more than reveal cultural identities and interests of parents. He says they "also bequeath symbolic value to kids, and by doing so can increase or decrease their future symbolic and cultural worth".
Apparently, some US states such as New Jersey, prohibit numerals as names. So, someone cannot be named "69", for example. In Massachusetts, the word count of a person's full name can't exceed 40 letters. Nebraska prohibits obscene names. But even that's subjective. Who decides what's considered obscene and what isn't?
The topic also raises another very serious question: will an obscure name hinder the child's future employment prospects? Poor Phelony can hardly grow up to be a court reporter or lawyer and I doubt Apple will be attracted to a career in horticulture.
Children are being scarred for life by the actions of their parents.
What's going to happen if Bacardi meets her soul mate on a Contiki Tour and discovers his last name is Breezer? Taking his surname is hardly going to be an option if they get married, or is it? I wouldn't be able to keep a straight face if I was their marriage celebrant.