Growing up as the only Wanda in my school or, well, the only Wanda I’d ever met, I grew to loathe my name. I had dreams of changing it to something more common – Christina, Ashley, Bridget, Crystal … anything but Wanda. I’d look at displays of personalized pens, key chains, hats, t-shirts and other related wares, always disappointed but never surprised to see there was no place for Wanda. It was a sort of fitting metaphor for my life – always looking for my place but never able to find it. Now at nearly 30, I’ve finally accepted my name. I’ve even come to love it. I’m a Wanda and I’m proud of it. I mention this because my experience with my name has really come to make me believe that short of naming a child something completely outrageous, a child will eventually learn to love the name you’ve given them. For that reason, I was a little surprised when I recently read an article about the most hated baby names this year. It seemed a little unnecessary to me. A parent chooses to name their child based on their personal experiences and their own emotional responses to the name they’ve chosen. How can someone hate that? Let’s take a look at the list and try to pinpoint what causes such a strong reaction in some people.
Before I continue, I want to stress one very important fact. I did not come up with this list. This list was not my idea and I am not responsible for the names on this list. I am simply reproducing someone else’s very unscientific study. The original author states the list was compiled based on the author’s own opinions and the opinions of the select group of people that were asked to participate in the creation of the list. How were those people selected? No idea. How many people were in the group? Not a clue. Please don’t yell at me in the comments for putting names on this list because, again, and I cannot stress this enough (hence bold, italicized font) I didn’t do it. I’m just sharing it because I thought it was interesting. Hopefully by writing this utilizing bold and italics, you’ll actually read this part instead of just skipping to the list. Hey, no judgment here. I do it too. I just didn’t want there to be any misconception because getting called a moron hurts my feelings. Okay, let’s get to the list.
Meaning: Heaven (Nevaeh is just heaven spelled backwards)
My Take: I can kind of get why people don’t like this one. It is a little bit cheesy but I can also get why a parent would choose this name for their child. It’s unique but it has meaning. I think there’s really something to be said for both of those things.
Meaning: Destiny or fate
My Take: I really don’t get why anyone would have a problem with this name. The article that inspired this article (which you can read by clicking here) says some people don’t like names that “confer a virtue” onto a child or may associate the name with exotic dancers. I don’t see it. To me Destiny is a beautiful name.
Meaning: Son of Maude or Matthew’s son
My Take: This one irked me a little bit as did the one we’re going to talk about next as both are names my cousin chose for two of her three little girls and both little girls are absolute delights. I like the name Madison. It’s not quite as unique as it was when my cousin chose it but I still think it’s a great name all the same.
Meaning: Son of the fair one
My Take: The names Madison and Mackenzie share more than being names of my cousins. They’re both unisex names that were at one point or another more common with boys than girls. The author of my source article later explains they feel people may have a problem with unisex names. I, on the other hand, think choosing a unisex name is smart, especially if you’ve chosen to wait until the baby is born to find out the sex.
Meaning: Son of the fair one
My Take: I actually really like the name McKenna although I tend to think of it more as a last name than a first name. Perhaps the people that don’t like this name don’t like the spelling of the name. I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. If a girl with this name didn’t like it, she could always shorten it to Kenna which I think is a fine name in and of itself.
Meaning: Son of Adam
My Take: I’m sensing a common trend here. Mackenzie, Madison, McKenna and Addison all refer to “son” in the meaning of the name. Perhaps that is throwing some people off. I like a name with meaning as much the next person but if a parent responds to a name than it has meaning to them and that’s really all that matters. None of these names are strictly boys names although they may have been intended that way originally. They’re unisex names, just as common with boys as girls. I’ve only ever met one Addison and that Addison was a girl. Just sayin’.
Meaning: Strength of the spear, spear maiden
My Take: The source article refers to this as an “ugly” name and I can’t say I don’t see the reason behind that. In films and television shows, any Getrudes are often shown to be less attractive, older women. I’m not sure how this came to be but that’s the way it is now. I still say there is nothing wrong with naming your child Gertrude though if that name means something to you. Your daughter’s name will not dictate who she is as a person.
My Take: People have a problem with names spelled in non-traditional ways. While I don’t understand the point of taking a traditional name and spelling it in a non-traditional way (it still sounds the same, after all), I don’t have a problem with a parent choosing to go that route with their child.
Meaning: Who is like God
My Take: I object so freaking strongly to this name being on the list. I absolutely love the name Makayla. I don’t intend to have children but if I ever change my mind, this name is pretty close to the top of my list for names for girls. I love this same. It just sounds right to me. This is why a list like this just doesn’t make logical sense to me. No one can tell a parent what name should be right for their child. It’s a personal decision based on personal reasons.
Meaning: Famous, bright
My Take: I am not a huge fan of the name Bertha but I can’t argue with a parent who wants Bertha as a name for their daughter. The name has come to be associated with large women and is even a favorite name for cows but if the name has personal meaning, I say go for it. There have been some beautiful Berthas over the course of history and there have also been some mighty impressive ones. Your daughter could very well be the next great Bertha.
My Take: I don’t see the problem with the name Jayden. I know a lot of people have a hard time with “combination” names but I think it’s a great way to make your child’s name more unique without making it completely bizarre. I think Jayden is a great example of that.
Meaning: Broad, wide
My Take: I’m not big into the name Brayden but that’s just a personal opinion. It doesn’t really hold much appeal to me but I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that would disagree.
Meaning: Little fire
My Take: I love the name Aiden. It’s a strong name with a beautiful meaning. I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would object to this name. It’s one of my favorite baby boy names along with a few others on this list.
My Take: I’m not sure what the name means and I’m not sure I’d choose this name for my son, but there’s nothing wrong with it. I feel like I’m writing those words a lot as I go through this list – possibly because I am.
Meaning: Hunter, One who hunts
My Take: I can understand how Hunter would up on this list in one way and in another way its inclusion makes me seethe with rage. Hunter does sort of give off a violent vibe but at the same time, it is, without question or doubt, my absolute favorite baby boy name. That has a lot to do with the fact that my favorite author of all time is Hunter S. Thompson, a man who single handedly inspired me to put pen to paper and write. See what I mean about the personal meaning thing?
My Take: I was very prepared to pitch a fit over this one as well until I saw the name and then it sort of made sense. I’m sure a lot of people that choose this name aren’t aware of the meaning and hey, that’s okay. It’s fine just to choose a name because you like it. It’s not like choosing the name Hayden means your son will grow up to be a heathen. It just means you liked the name.
Meaning: Bent grass clearing
My Take: A lot of people don’t like this name because they feel it is a “brand name” name. That just isn’t true. The name Bentley doesn’t necessarily refer to the car. I have only ever met one Bentley in my life and he was named after his father who was named after his father and so on and so forth.
My Take: This is another name that people may not be fond of based on the meaning but I think it’s a great name. I’ve met a few Tristans in my time and two out of the three have been lovely people. The third? Well, the meaning of his name really suited him. I’ll leave it at that.
Meaning: Who is like God
My Take: Nope. This list has wrong written all over it in many, many ways but the fact that Michael is included is probably the biggest. I haven’t done the research here but I have to imagine the vast majority of people would disagree with its inclusion. Is it a bit over used? Sure but that doesn’t make it a bad name. Not everyone has to name their child something strange and completely outside the box. Sometimes something more traditional is just more appropriate.
Meaning: Jack’s son
My Take: I adore the name Jackson. It’s a traditional yet still modern name. It can be shortened to Jack or Jacks (or Jax if your son prefers) and just has a nice sort of ring to it. Of course the name has skyrocketed in popularity since Michael Jackson’s death but it’s still not overly common. I have to mention something very obvious here though – Michael and Jackson fall right beside each other on the list. Coincidence? I sincerely doubt it.
I just want to take a moment or two to share my thoughts on why this list, as a whole, kind of blows. First, it’s just so incredibly mean spirited. I know I my self have written my fair share of mean spirited pieces for this very website but never towards poor unsuspecting children and parents. Second, the basis for the author’s research just sort of feels flawed. This is clearly a very opinion based list. A better way to go about it may have been to survey one hundred people from various backgrounds and find the common responses. If you can’t come up with ten names for each list, expand your survey pool. I’m sure the list would look much different considering several of the so called “most hated” names are also on the most popular baby names list for 2012 (which you can browse by clicking here). Finally, the boys section makes me question the validity of the entire list. It really sounds like someone just really has it out for the rhyming names.
That’s just my take on it though. What do you think? Do you love the names on this list or did the original author hit the nail on the head. What names would you add to the list and what names would you remove? Sound off in the comments section below.