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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
The love in a name 
25th-Oct-2011 03:11 pm
Here in the United States, there are various common naming traditions, including religious symbolism, tradition itself (a family name), to make a name sound good in full pronunciation, to give a growing child flexibility of nicknames, etc. Rarely does the meaning of the name get taken into much account.

In one area of India, there is a tradition of naming girls Unwanted when the family wanted a boy instead.

I find that idea pretty darn repulsive. Here is a fresh new life, full of potential, and all a parent can think is "I don't want this child, and I want to be sure that everyone knows that I don't want her, now and for the rest of her life." That child is then labeled, given the identity, and raised under the knowledge that her parents thought so little of her, her future contributions, and her potential for love that they would stigmatize her forever with one decision.

You might say that I'm not one to talk loudly about name choices. My name means "girl" - not very exciting, to be sure. But that isn't why my parents chose it. They worked hard to come to my name, in fact. My name cannot be easily shortened or cutesified. My name has no nicknames. My name is hard to dramatically mispronounce. It is long enough to be dignified and short enough to yell. My name rhymes with very little on the playground. My name has no major catastrophes or celebrities associated with it. It is by the multitude of unremarkable qualities that my name becomes so special.

What's more is that my parents named me out of love. They wanted me to have a name that I could wear throughout my life. My name was one that I would never have to change out of shame or lack of suitability. It isn't glamorous, but it is perfectly serviceable for everyday use. Just like me.
26th-Oct-2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
Your post made me smile (the latter half). :) We put a lot of thought into the girls' names - catastrophes and celebrities and mocking (we also had to do it for their Chinese names). Hee hee. Their middle names have meaning to us and family and friends (specific cousin, very close friend, and a name passed along my husband's family), but their first names are all their own. We wanted either their name or a nickname to be gender neutral as well.

I hope at some point in the future that they'll appreciate and value their names as you value yours.
26th-Oct-2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that you worked so hard on your girls' names. It can be tough being stuck with a weird name, or one that matches everyone else.
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