Like obesity and crotch shots, one of America's favorite pastimes is baby name judging. And now that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's baby name has been revealed (North West, no middle name), everyone is jumping on the name-judging bandwagon. But it's not just baby North West who is the target of our ire: Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter Apple and Penn Jillete's daughter Moxie Crimefighter also receive their fair share of judgmental side eyes.
And while it is no doubt fun to gawk and judge, may I be so bold as to suggest that we all just take a moment and shut up?
One of the biggest arguments against unique baby names is that little Sage Moonblood will go to Kindergarten and get mocked for her name and then grow up to resent her parents. Well, I have news for all the judging moms of Sophies out there: I was named Elizabeth and I still resent my parents. Game, set, match. Also, I got mocked for my name too. Elizabeth became "Little Bit" and then "Little Boobs" and then just "Douchebag," which is a progression you can do with any name. Watch me. William. Will's pants. Will I ever shut up? Loser. No name is completely mock-proof. Also, all the kids I know with "weird" names who are adults love their names. Love them. When I taught college, I had a Corvette in my class. She told me that she'd never been made fun of, and with her attitude, I wouldn't mock her, either.
In fact, most of the names we mock aren't "weird," they just don't emanate from our culture. While the name Suri (as in the daughter of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise) was widely criticized, it is actually a popular name in North India. Moon Unit Zappa (daughter of Frank Zappa) is usually cited as a mock-worthy, made-up name. But did you know in China it is common practice to give your child a name that is as unique as possible? Cultural considerations alone should make us pause long enough to think that maybe, just maybe, that name you are judging belongs to a kid who's ancestors weren't all named Katherine and vacationed in Vermont.
The real problem with judging baby names is that it presumes there is a standard for monikers. Presuming that if we aren't all Avas and Jaydens, somehow, the core of our society will be undermined. Truthfully, name diversity isn't something to be feared, but embraced. America is a diverse nation filled with a medley of cultures, from which emerge unique, beautiful and sometimes zany names that should all be celebrated. Names are the first gift we give to our children and they contain within them all that we hope, dream and want to say to that person we love so dearly. Whether the name be "weird" or "normal", the gift is a personal one. And who are we as outsiders to judge?
Spare me. Name your baby what you want. In the end, even if your kid is named Grace Anna Sophia Elizabeth Ava, she's still going to get the crap kicked out of her in sixth grade. That is what sixth grade is there for. And also, your Jacob Mason William is going to hate you. Maybe not for his name, probably for all that kale you made him eat. But he's going to hate you. Might as well have just named him Venysus and got it over with.
Lyz writes about naming her children, and more, over on LyzLenz.com.
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