Royal Baby 2.0
Yes, it’s another baby expected by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, due in April next year. The Internet goes wild, bookies make billions, name bloggers all collapse from guessing until our brains explode. So far, punters are gunning for a brown-haired girl, and the most popular names for the prince or princess, younger sibling to George, are James for a boy, and Elizabeth for a girl.
I am very sceptical of an Elizabeth, as the queen has apparently made it clear she is not interested in having a namesake (royal babies with Elizabeth as their middle name are supposedly named after the queen’s mother, not Elizabeth II). To me, George and James are too similar-sounding as brothers, and surely the heir to the throne needs a distinctive name, if only for publicity purposes? However, the Duke and Duchess may not agree with my name advice.
You can read plenty of baby name predictions online (most of them are just recycling their guesses for Prince George, with the name George removed). I won’t be doing anything in regard to the name until much closer to the royal birth, as I think it is far too early. They aren’t even at the twelve-week mark yet, and the duchess is ill with severe morning sickness. Give them some space, people!
Last time, my bizarre method of tracking royal baby names turned out to be unexpectedly successful (for a boy, anyway; it might have been totally wrong if George had been a girl), but next time we might try something completely different, and see how that goes.
Utter Drivel Bogan
Kidspot have brought out a rather cringe-making article on “bogan baby names”, which they pretend is all in good fun.
Clare asked on her Scoop page whether this was as controversial or potentially offensive as calling names “chavvy”? I would say, yes Clare, it is: it’s like an article about chavvy names, redneck names, ghetto names, and the like. Despite protestations to the contrary, articles like these are intended to be offensive, and they certainly seem mean-spirited.
Apart from being copied from other sources, the article has some real clangers, such as saying Zaiden is “made up”, when it’s an elaboration of the Arabic name Zaid. Or listing the name Princ’ess, which isn’t even allowed in Australia.
Jorja Fights Back!
One person who took exception to Kidspot’s article was Jorja Orreal, whose name happened to feature on the list of “bogan names”. She loves her name, and her mother says it is not bogan at all, but very pretty. Jorja was named thus because her mum noticed that best-selling author Sidney Sheldon dedicated several of his novels to his wife at the time, actress Jorja Curtright. As she points out, how could the man behind I Dream of Jeannie possibly be associated with something in poor taste?
Jorja believes her name actually looks like a name, rather than Georgia, which is also a country and an American state, and seems more feminine. Unfortunately, she then loses every bit of my sympathy she might have mustered by going on to trash the names that she thinks are really bogan. Thanks to her intervention, my comments on the Kidspot article were much less severe.
Reach the Top of Your Game with a Creative Name
Almost everyone agrees: “creative” names are a terrible idea. Received wisdom is that it’s better to be a Chloe than a Kloey, James looks more professional than Jaymezz, and a traditional name like Elizabeth or William will gain greater esteem than a modern concoction like Neveah or Latrell. Essential Baby examines this idea by seeing if it stands up in the modern workplace.
In fact, there’s a lot to be said for “creative” names, perhaps most of all that they tend to be memorable, and can also be a great ice-breaker. Interviews with a couple of creatively-named people in business demonstrate that their names have been an asset to their careers. It seemed to me that their attitude to their names was really important, because they expected people to have trouble spelling their names, and were relaxed about the idea that people might find them amusing. Could those people skills have been gained through constant negotiations with others over their names?
Paul Barbaro, a spokesman from a recruitment agency, believes the idea that a “classic” baby name has prestige is an old and outdated one, and that people today are much less judgemental, being used to a wide variety of names (someone alert Kidspot to this valuable information!). He suggests that unusual names are now the norm, and that it can be helpful to have a name that is a little different, or globally recognised.
However, language expert Roly Sussex, from the University of Queensland, appears to be unconvinced. He can’t think of many people in public life with an unusual name, and thinks it would be far better to have a name that everyone knows how to spell and pronounce. But perhaps his attitudes really are outdated.
Should You Change Your “Ethnic” Name?
Roly Sussex thought that people with ethnic names were more likely to be successful if they anglicised their names, or used a nickname.
While I’m not sure if it will help you become successful in the long-term, the sad news is that it will probably help you to get a foot in the door. Researchers from the Australian National University submitted 4000 fictitious CVs for entry level jobs, and found that people with a Middle Eastern name need to submit 64% more applications that one with an Anglo-Saxon name to gain a job interview, while those with Chinese names need to submit 68% more applications, Indigenous names 35% more, and Italian names 12% more.
The study also showed that name discrimination was not evenly applied, and there could be differences when other factors were changed. For example, men of all minority ethnic groupings found it harder to get interviews than women; waitstaff and data entry jobs were the most likely to discriminate against ethnic minority males.
The city the person is in makes a difference too, with Sydney the most biased city against people with ethnic names – a Chinese person in Brisbane must submit 57% more applications, while in Sydney, it is a whopping 92% more. There was no evidence of discrimination against Italians in Melbourne, which has a relatively high Italian population.
Middle Eastern job seekers fared better when they applied for jobs with a non-Anglo employer or in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods. Interestingly, while a Chinese employer was much more likely to give someone with a Chinese name a callback, Italian employers were significantly less likely to offer someone with an Italian name an interview!
The entry level job that appeared to have the least amount of discrimination was customer service: your name doesn’t seem to make much difference when it comes to getting an interview in this field.
And there is some good news to go along with this rather depressing research. A study conducted by the University of Melbourne this year found that ethnic minority jobseekers were much more discriminated against during the application process than they were once they had actually secured a position.
Some people who did use an English name or an English nickname to find work felt comfortable enough to revert back to their real name in the workplace, and some were even encouraged to do so by their fellow colleagues. So if you write Rick on your resume, it doesn’t mean you can’t become Rashid again once you have been successful in your interview.