A word or words by which an entity is designated and distinguished from others .
This is a definition, that would have previously held more truth. As this dictionary definition suggests that a name is just a group of words that a individual is given, so that we can make a distinction between people, however society has changed and a name is no longer about, simply being able to tell people apart. Society has become a culture based on stereotyping so it is evitable that the original purpose for names has changed and ultimately fallen into another form of stereotyping because of this I will be explore how me and my name is affected by stereotyping.
My name is Laurelle
(pronounced: L A -R EH L )
My mom, like most moms was looking through a baby book when she came across my name she always said she wanted “something unique and unusual” and she thought that Laurelle fitted that perfectly. Most people pronounce my name as Laurel which is a commoner version and what I am always called at first assumption. There are seven other versions of Laurelle:
So far I have never meet another Laurelle and have only heard of two other people with the same name.
“ Hi my name’s …..”
When you meet someone for the first time the first thing you tell someone is your name; because of this moms and dads to be, spend months obsessing and arguing about baby names and the meaning which the names hold play a detrimental part in the choice. Your name is the first personal detail that you willingly surrender to people and because of this it is also the first impression that is created. Good or Bad. People can argue that it’s just a name but it’s a label that stays with you for a lifetime and more. Naming is a communicative code because it contains representational meanings that are attached to it.
Name and Meaning
Parents not only obsess about the name but also the meaning associated with that name, because of this it plays a key part in the choice process. My name origin is Latin and the meaning is: crowed with Laurel or the laurel tree or sweet bay tree symbolic of honour and victory. However the name the meaning has very little influence on the way individual will act but society today does, as the name may lead to that individual being stereotyped consequently influencing the way they way that individual may act.
Label or a Name
Names have become a label to stereotype people just like everything else.
Race- A g irl called Elizabeth you would presume to be white
Social class- Rupert you would assume to be upper class
Gender– A boy or girl, can be called Jordan
Area and surroundings- A person named Seamus you would assume is from Ireland
A whole identity can be formed by a name subconsciously or consciously. Names can have a positive or negative effect on our self-concept, the idea that we have of ourselves as individuals, because of this it can indirectly manipulate and persuade us to act differently.
Label or a Name
You’re in town and a friend introduces you to a girl called
Georgina, automatically our subconscious goes into activation
and all the hidden associations, vague images and media
influence surrounding that name surface and transpire without
us even realising.A mental picture is created along with
a set of expectations for Georgina, a person who previously we
had no contact with. The image that we have created, changes
our behaviour subtlety, so that most of the time we are not
aware. Nevertheless Georgina is. She then consequently picks
up these slight changes in our actions, and then she makes
subconscious changes in her own actions acting the way we
expected her to act thus enforcing the notion that we
We create a situation that forces Georgina to behave the way we think Georgina should behave. The idea or self-concept that Georgina had concerning herself has transformed or altered. If this happens often enough, then Georgina’s self-concept will permanently change.
The self-fulfilling prophecy claims that our expectations or rather society’s can change attitudes, behaviour and perceptions. Eventually creating two cycles, one beneficial and the other brutal.
This is where stereotyping occurs, society expectations associated with certain names can either help or hinder people which is beneficial for some and not for others.
An example of this is in school or the work place. A name like Eleanor immediately gives the impression of somebody clever where as the Stacey doesn’t give the same impression.
research has been carried out enforcing that when people hear a specific name they have a stereotypical reaction.
They found that photographs of young women called Jennifer have more of a chance of wining a beauty contest then equally attractive pictures, labelled Gertrude. The research also found that employers were more willing to grant interviews to Black job applicants with names like Angela or James instead of Tamika or Jarmal.
The research found a strong correlation between the frequency of a name in our culture and its desirability.
even more stereotyping ….
Stereotyping has even advanced to the way a name is spelt. A British study showed that 90% thought that a girl named Ann would be young but that dropped to 78% when it became Anne.
Ann to Anne
My non-existent Label?
My name is rare and unusual and because of this there is less chance of me being stereotyped. Essentially a person like me whose name hasn’t already been defined, because it is distinctive it allows a child like me to “write their own meaning” more easily than a common name, that already has a programmed and predetermined perception; they will find it harder. This allows me to develop and create a positive self-concept that isn’t damaged by negative images and prejudices.
The change in Culture
Celebrities are known for the unique and almost odd baby names their children are labeled with but “ordinary” people are also following trend. Over the last couple of decades parents are making the decision to name their children less common names to emphasize an individuality. The desire for unusual names shows a change in the culture as parents aim for their child to stand out instead of fitting in and following rules. A study researcher Jean Twenge, of San Diego State University said. “ If that unique name is part of a parent's overall philosophy that their child is special and needs to stand out and that fitting in is a bad thing, then that could lead to those personality traits.”
Our name is part of are parents language and because of this we become part of a society. So our name then identifies us as individuals and belonging to a society.
Names such as:
Are what you would call stereotypical black names, some can say it’s become a fashion accessory but names like that have become a cultural product as the names are combined with fashionable sounds with the heritage that was previously taken away from them during the slavery period. Names beginning with La- like Lashay have become popular because certain syllables represent the ethnic heritage of their ancestors .
Cultural and Ethnic Influences
Audio clip about Irish Names
One Hundred Years of Names- Why have certain Irish names, from Cornelius to Bridget, all but vanished over the past century and others (Sean, Jack, Aoife) taken such firm root? How does a name shape, limit or expand your horizons?And what do our current favourite names say about the values we consider important: innovation, heritage, tradition, prettiness, fashion ability, uniqueness.This documentary takes us from the Rotunda hospital to the Central Statistics office in Cork to the National Archives, hearing a wide range of personal stories along the way.
The media can also be a negative influences. In most chick-flicks the cheerleader is often called Brittany or Tiffany or in horror films the bimbo that gets that killed first is usually called Stacey or Vicky. In films, the rude arrogant jock type is usually called Chad or Zack. Because of this constant stereotypical names associated with the characters on a daily basis it subconsciously creates an impression that is hard to separate from reality.
Names have become more of a trend with names becoming more ridiculous and this occurs mainly in western countries, suggesting the difference of culture. Roger(1961) is a theory based, in which lower-class people model themselves of the higher powered class. This can be linked to average people model themselves; in this case regarding the name they choose for their child.
Pilot Inspektor – Jason lee
Fifi Trixibelle - Bob Geldof and Paula Yates
Sage Moonblood – Sylvester Stallone
Audio Science – Shannyn Sossasmon
Daisy Boo and Petal Blossom Rainbow – Jamie Oliver
Coco – Courtney Cox and David Arquette
Baby names Celebrity
Where my identity and Label collides
Self-image, is the view we have of ourselves, however this may be different to how others view us. Our identity is shaped and moulded by different factors, background, family, likes/dislikes etc but when the first impression is created through the power of simply revealing your name it seems as if your identity is being challenged.
Where my identity and Label collides
However your identity hasn’t directly changed, but the way people perceive your identity is different subconsciously or consciously. A person called Hank may be intelligent, clever, witty but is expected to be brainless, lazy and dense. I personal don’t really have a label attached to my name and because of this there is no real collision between “who I am” and “who I am expected to be.”