A 15-year-old Icelandic girl is going to great lengths to keep the name her mother gave her. Her government doesn’t think she should’ve gotten it in the first place.
Turns out that her name, “Blaer,” isn’t on the country’s list of 1,853 government-approved names. Iceland, much like Germany and Denmark, has a list of approved male and female names. Parents can either pick from the register or apply to a committee who can approve or decline any request. According to the CBC, Blaer is suing the state to keep her unapproved name.
For now, Blaer is known on her documents as “Stulka,” which just means “girl.” She says the confusion is giving her a hard time dealing with her banking or applying for her passport. No wonder.
But who even knew that Iceland was this regimented about names? And how can we get it to transfer to North America so parents can be barred from naming their child Ashleii or Tessica or Slider or Boat?
Imagine how many lives the government could change, simply by rejecting the ridiculous names invented by over-imaginative moms. Within one generation, we’d rid the world of anyone named Legacy or Queenie.
Admittedly, I’m sensitive about this issue. I have personal experience with an impossible name, as my first, middle, and last names are not phonetic, and weird in any country or language. My Indian parents named me after a Hindi word—not gender specific— then shortened it for “convenience,” added a silent c and an extra a, and enrolled me in public school in suburban Calgary. Like some sick joke.
Where was the Icelandic government when my dad decided on this ridiculous combination of letters? Why didn’t my parents have to apply to a names committee so that someone, at some point, could have explained to them that I would live a life getting letters addressed to “Mr. Koul” when I am actually female?
There’s a lot in a name. It’s character-building, it creates the frame of who you’ll be, and it gives you an identity starting from a time when you don’t even have any neck-control. That’s valuable—far too valuable to give to the government to regulate. Parents may be giving their children bizarre names, but it is, unfortunately, the right of parents to ruin their children in the most delicate ways. Maybe soon, everyone will be named after items in the Ikea catalogue, and that will be our new normal.
Besides, I don’t trust the government as a good judge of first names. Stockwell was, after all, an actual name. Let’s never forget that.
That said, if Canada can implement something that denies any and all silent letters in first names to at least save future generations of years upon years of substitute teachers struggling to pronounce names at attendance, I would be beyond appreciative.
Well, I can still dream.