Featuring colorist Ronda Francis

Monday, April 30, 2012

Does Your Child's Name Prejudice How They Are Perceived?

My name is Dea.

Although it seems that every rhyme of this name is currently popular, Mia, Gia, Leah, Pia, and even Priya on the Big Bang Theory, when I was a kid no one had a name like mine.

Part of me loooved the name because it was different and kind of exotic sounding compared to the three Lisas in my class and the four Kathys.

But on the other side of the coin I don't think anyone pronounced my name correctly.  Ever.

People asked me what it meant, if it was a nickname, if it was short for Deanna, Deborah, or Deena.  My father-in-law called me Delia, Donna, and Deebrah (rhymes with zebra), but I have never heard him call me Dea--he calls me honey now.  I still don't think he knows my name.

My name is different and I cannot say I was ever considered ordinary--and I do think names can have an affect on the way we are perceived, and possibly the way we think of ourselves.

The dentists where I grew up were Dr. Payne (oh dear) and Dr. Gold (fillings?).

The music teacher in my grammar school was Mr. Musik!

And I'm sure there are times when the name does not represent you at ALL--like Madonna.

Certain names do carry specific connotations.  For instance Katherine is presumed to be more successful and possibly more wealthy than Brianna. And stars seem to corner the market on odd names.  Read about the study here:


Stars can also influence the popularity of names.

Right now the number one girl's name is Isabella, most certainly after the Twilight series, followed by Emma and Olivia.  Jacob, another Twilight character, is the most popular boys name, followed by Ethan, and the ever-popular Michael.

I have heard some interesting names over the years:  Moon Unit, Pilot Inspector, Dweezle, Apple, Hiawatha, Huckleberry, Minty, and Celery.  And the list goes on and on.

Dea is unusual, but I never thought it was bad.  I wonder how Blue Ivy, North West and Apple will feel about their names in a few years...I would love to ask them.


  1. It's a good name. Distinct.

    I think Moon Unit, Apple, Blue Ivy, Pilot Inspector, and the rest might end up wanting to kill their parents...

    I used the name Jacob for one of my characters, but the man is, in the main part of the book, fifty years old, not a teen like Dog Boy in those Books That Shall Not Be Named. I wanted that name because of the Biblical context, the man who wrestles with God.

  2. I think Jacob is a nice, strong name, and it was very popular before the movie. There were many Jakes and Jacobs in my son's grammar school five or six years ago.
    Edward is the other main character in the Twilight series, yet I did not see that name on the popular list. Maybe Edward has one of those negative connotations attached to it and no matter what kind of sparkly, gorgeous vampire has that name it will not become an "it" name.
    Another thing--it does seem the little girls get saddled with the odd names more than the little boys.

  3. [Seems, I'm not allowed to comment on my iPad... Very annoying.]

    My mother was named Laurel. Well, Laurel Rea, but it wasn't meant to be one name, always the first and middle. My mother HATED both her names. Not just as a child, but as best I can tell, until she died... She hated/disliked her name. As a child, other kids would ask 'Wasn't Laurel the fat one?' to which there wasn't a good answer, since he wasn't... But he was the stupid one. No one could spell it, she received odd looks at it and I think all that helped to encourage her dislike.

    Interestingly enough, other people loved it.

    She was an introvert and from what my dad said, as well as her own comments, she took years to come out of her shell. I could believe that part of that was due to her different name. If her name had been more normal, she may have been a different person. Course, I was very happy with who she was.

  4. I like the name Laurel, or almost any name of a flower or something that grows. I like Daisy, Heather, Rose, etc. I wonder if your mom always hated her name, or hated it after kids said things about her with the name attached. I went to school with a boy named Robin who simply hated that name, and the minute his mom let him, he had it legally changed to Robert. My husband wanted to name my son Seamus, but I have a thing with nicknames--I do not like it if the name can be shortened or rhymed with something negative. So names are interesting and I love talking about them. And I love Kirsty, by the way...