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Does anyone really judge a child by their name these days ?

(101 Posts)
muscatmama Tue 04-Oct-16 11:50:05

I was idly browsing the internet for mention of the name that we are strongly considering for our soon-to- be born 3rd child and I was really surprised at how aggressively some people seem to dislike some names (this one in particular it seems) I know it's the internet, there are no boundaries, trolling is rife etc - but I really have never had such a strong reaction to any name - I just tend to think 'not my cup of tea' and judging by the names in my DS and DD's classes - anything goes really. I was also surprised by the amount of people, including teachers, who suggested that a child would be bullied because of their name. Surely the problem is with the bullies and not the name? What do people think - is giving your child a name that isn't in the Top 100 really doing them such a great disservice?

MardyGrave Tue 04-Oct-16 11:54:01

Of course, a name is the most value loaded decision you can possibly make. If names didn't matter we would all just be assigned a user code at birth, but we don't do that, we select a title that says a lot about how that child is going to be raised, and our aspirations for its future.

NerrSnerr Tue 04-Oct-16 11:55:39

People do judge names. We gave our daughter a name that isn't in the top 100 but it is still a known name (and one that is often suggested on MN on naming threads). It really depends on what the name is, I would judge someone who called their child 'Tinkerbell' or something similar.

Bohemond Tue 04-Oct-16 11:59:21

this double

Bohemond Tue 04-Oct-16 12:00:11

God, that makes no sense! I wholeheartedly agree with the previous two posters.

AnyTheWiser Tue 04-Oct-16 12:00:54

I'm afraid people do judge.
Little Kaidan Jaxxon Smith and his classmate Peregrine Laurence Cholmondley-Smythe bring up different mental images, don't they?

muscatmama Tue 04-Oct-16 12:10:05

Of course, I completely understand what's 'in a name' - but IMHO the 3 Alexander's in Year 2, the multiple Ava's in Y5 etc - have names that give no clue to the values those different parent's may have. I understand that and consequently don't make assumptions about that child from their name. I'm really aware that this isn't always the case and just wondered why it matters so much to some people? Or maybe it's just a case of 'the loudest troll' and in real life they don't give a flying fig!

anonymousbird Tue 04-Oct-16 12:18:55

I'd only say, the name is theirs and it is for life.

I know people who in their 40s are STILL having to respond to "oh that's unusual" or whatever (gets boring very quickly!).... and they aren't even names which might be considered "controversial" or ones which polarise opinion, just a bit different.

And yes, I am afraid people do judge - rightly or wrongly - hence my opening comment. It's the child that is saddled with it forever, you only have to answer the questions whilst they are young.

muscatmama Tue 04-Oct-16 12:20:28

What most people are saying is that they judge the parents. Once a child has that name and travels through life with it - does it really matter as much as some people seem to think it does? I wasn't really interested in how people see the parents - just if it would affect the way that child was treated.

2014newme Tue 04-Oct-16 12:22:50

Yes they do.
You need only read any baby name thread here to know that.
Some names are classless though eg Harry, ava, Olivia generally the most common names.

MuffyTheUmpireSlayer Tue 04-Oct-16 12:26:36

People that judge children by their names are idiots and there seems to be a lot of those on MN.

DD (and soon to be born DS) have non-English names because we are not English, but I've seen them on baby name threads be labelled "low class" and even "ghetto" hmm It says a lot more about the person doing the judging than the named child!

RainbowJack Tue 04-Oct-16 12:47:06

I agree with Muffy.

I would suggest visiting sites like nameberry that are solely for the discussion of names. I feel you are more likely to be able to have a more openminded discussion than abuse.

Other sites like MN. you are just going to get battered if your name(s) aren't traditional, WASP-y names.

Some MNers like to think of themselves as liberal, well educated smarty pants. At heart they're as twattish as anyone else.

muscatmama Tue 04-Oct-16 13:04:08

I agree RainbowJack - I think I have been a little naive thinking that I would get an actual discussion on this topic - and I was genuinely interested! People seem quick to tell me that 'other people' will judge me for my name choices - how they actually feel about it seems, on the whole, unclear. Oh well . . .

Hellochicken Tue 04-Oct-16 13:04:18

Of course they judge them. Lots of parents chose a name that says something about who they are/where they are/ heritage/ family name/ aspirations. We picked names I liked x4 DC, but all have a link to DHs heritage and where we will be bringing them up, I want them to belong here (and I am - 18yrs later - still a blow-in as they say).

I don't care if you think it is wrong. They aren't all top 100 names btw.

Hellochicken Tue 04-Oct-16 13:07:26

Sorry I meant judge the parent/s

muscatmama Tue 04-Oct-16 13:26:34

Hellochicken- I'm glad you choose your names for those reasons - surely that is good and right? I was really addressing those people who would judge your child for your name choices. I don't do that, but I'm not trying to be smug. I think it's because, not being from here, I have experienced very many different names, as well as the same name that gets very different reactions in different countries. I just wanted to hear from people who have or have known people who will treat my child differently because of their name. Out of curiosity more than anything - he'll probably get the name anyway.

NuffSaidSam Tue 04-Oct-16 13:35:48

Firstly, you can't really discuss a name without judging it beyond 'I like it' or 'I don't like it'. Names are a subjective thing, it's impossible to have an objective opinion on a name. Any discussion will inevitably result in people expressing their ideas/preconceptions/associations of that name. That's true on Mumsnet, in real life and on every other website.

Names are indicative of social class and people are most definitely still judged on their social class. They shouldn't be, but they are.

Names are also indicative of nationality/ethnic origin. People are still judged on this as well. They shouldn't be, but they are. Racism is alive and well.

Names are indicative of gender. Are people judged on gender....of course! They shouldn't be, but they are.

To answer your OP, are children and adults judged by their name? Yes.

How much effect that will actually have on their lives and whether it should actually effect your naming choice is not really clear. There's probably some research on it somewhere.

Hellochicken Tue 04-Oct-16 13:51:35

Well the names will cause people (not all, but a significant number) to guess/identify my childrens religion/background and gender, so they aren't neutral. Anyone who has any opinions positive or negative about DHs background will react to that.
By the fact I have done it I must (at some level) I think be identifying/having preconceived ideas about quite a lot of childrens names. Even if I am polite enough/conciously trying to meet people as individuals.

Pipilangstrumpf Tue 04-Oct-16 14:14:30

Like you, op, I've lived in different countries and currently live in a pretty international open minded part of the UK. We know kids with all sorts of names and i honestly don't think i judge them based on their names.

In my experience kids are pretty open minded and don't care what their friends are called. Perhaps it is the parents who have the need to 'judge'. Seems to be a very British thing imo.

Pipilangstrumpf Tue 04-Oct-16 14:17:51

And to all those of you who do judge, how often does your initial judgement (of class, heritage, values etc) turn out to be incorrect?

JosephineMaynard Tue 04-Oct-16 14:31:03

Yes, people judge names.

They'll make judgements about likely gender and family background - class, race, religion, level of parents education etc - from the name.

How far individuals let that dictate how they treat the bearer of the name is a different question. Depends to a great extent on the prejudices of other people I expect, at least before they've actually got to know them.

HoratioNightboy Tue 04-Oct-16 15:50:42

I've never known anyone judge a name in RL, although an unusal name will occasionally be commented on. It's more genuine interest though, but I'm in Scotland where the social structure is very different, and tolerance can be extreme at either end of the scale.

One of my friends wanted some quite unusual choices for her children but her DH, who had been bullied at school for being born in England, wouldn't agree to any of them in case other judged them 'too English' and then they might get bullied at school too. He'd have gone for things like James and Elizabeth, just to avoid conflict. They did reach compromises in the end, and friend ruefully told me that at DS's school there were names even more 'outlandish' than her choices and she could have got away with them after all!

I have occasionally sighed at some names that become very popular, just because to my ear they sound foul in a Scottish accent, but never would judge the child or parent for it. To each their own, and all that.

GipsyDanger Tue 04-Oct-16 15:53:09

Oh yes, in an area close to me we have a ivy bush, sister rose bush and a Pocahontas. I certainly do judge... the parents. They probably were on glue picking those names grin

GipsyDanger Tue 04-Oct-16 15:53:55

Oh, I also know a william Williamson and a Alastair mcalistair grin

FrancisCrawford Tue 04-Oct-16 16:00:09

I'm not sure Scots don't judge by name.

A Rangers supporter might make an instant judgement about someone called John Paul or Bernadette.

Most Scots would avoid the name Jesse because it is loaded with negativity for us

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