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Frank Hovis

What's In A Name?

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Most of this is an exercise in the "bleedin' orbvious" (i.e. names are a guide to a person's family background and hence to that person's character) but I hadn't encountered the bit about women with masculine sounding names before so I don't know whether that's right or not. That would actually be interesting if true because that wouldn't be about class / race / religion but about, I don't know - men who like butch women?

I should have written down an extreme example, though that would probably be breach of confidentiality, on a supported drug / alcohol / mental health list but it was something like Zebedee Rainbow Smith. Which is as much a disqualifier for a decent job as facial tattoos:

"Representing the defendent will be Mr Zebedee Rainbow Smith"

<dramatic pause>

"The court finds the defendant: Guilty. Next case."

Emily Walsh and Greg Baker or Lakisha Washington and Jamal Jones - which pair of names do you think is more likely to get a job interview?

Some studies show that a person with a "white" name has a 50% greater chance of getting a call about an application than someone with a "black name".

Ucas says university applications are going to be "name-blind" from 2017 to stop this kind of discrimination.

But others say there is a simpler way - just change your name.

Image caption Jamal Edwards has been so successful he hasn't really needed to worry about job applications

We will come back to the ethics of anglicising a name later. For now let's assume you feel your name is holding you back, on the basis of race, religious or gender discrimination and you want to change it.

What would be the best alternative for you to choose?

Bruce for a girl

Having a masculine-sounding name, even if you are a woman, is generally linked to better career success, research suggests.

Image caption Would Sue Perkins have to change her name if she wanted to be a Bake Off judge instead of a presenter?

For example, one US study claims that if a female lawyer named Sue changes her name to Kerry (a name that is more ambiguous in the US when it comes to gender), her chances of becoming a judge increase slightly.

The chances are three times bigger if she chooses the name Cameron (a name mostly used by men) and five times if she chooses Bruce (a name used almost exclusively by men).

So, no matter your gender, you should choose a masculine-sounding name.

Bruce has another advantage

Most people in in the UK know how to pronounce Bruce.

If you have a name that the people in your community find easy to say, then you are more likely to be promoted at work or successful in politics, suggests a study in Australia.

Image caption Perhaps you should consider naming your child after this man, even if you have a baby girl

They examined a wide range of last names and gave them a value based on how easy people found them to pronounce.

People struggled with ones like Leszczynska, Vougiouklakis and Colquhoun, while Benson, Jenkins and Sherman came out on top.

Optimise your chances

It's not just about picking a male name that's easy to say though.

An investigation of 14,449 first-year students attending the University of Oxford between 2008 and 2013 showed three times as many Eleanors were studying there than might be expected, given how common the name is.

Image caption Jade's might be under-represented at Oxford, but that's not the case in Little Mix

The names Peter, Simon and Anna were nearly as popular.

Jade, Paige and Shannon were under-represented among the names at Oxford. An Eleanor is 100 times more likely to go to Oxford than a Jade.

Peter Jenkins

So, the evidence suggests that Peter Jenkins is a pretty good option when it comes to changing your name.

Image caption As first names go, Peter Andre is on to a winner

But when one British Muslim man changed his name in the wake of the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks, some people online criticised him for trying to "fit in" with Western ideals.

Struggling to find a job, Sheikh Ali Tariq Ahmed changed his name to Daniel Jacob and said he started getting more call backs from jobs he applied for.

"If people want to achieve their objectives, then they have to understand the more they adapt or the more they can fit in without losing their core identity, the better it will be for them and the better it will be for society," he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/34638098/the-perfect-name-for-a-job-application-based-on-biases

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Taking forum names. I liked Frank Hovis as it's as ordinary and working class as Poundland; Frank Skinner took his name (he's actually called Chris Collins) from a member of his Dad's darts team for similar reasons.

Bossybabe is a good name - makes people smile.

We had a Skint Academic who sounded right up themselves - "I may be poor but I'm a lot cleverer than youse" - who then changed her name to Skinty and became much more popular.

The Masked Tulip and The Bolton Fury are also funny names (the latter the more so to me because I was big fan of Game On and knew that it was deeply ironic)

Nuggets Mahoney is also a cracking name for some reason.

This is no commentary on the posters themsleves btw, most of the very good posters actually have very dull names.

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Taking forum names. I liked Frank Hovis as it's as ordinary and working class as Poundland; Frank Skinner took his name (he's actually called Chris Collins) from a member of his Dad's darts team for similar reasons.

Bossybabe is a good name - makes people smile.

We had a Skint Academic who sounded right up themselves - "I may be poor but I'm a lot cleverer than youse" - who then changed her name to Skinty and became much more popular.

The Masked Tulip and The Bolton Fury are also funny names (the latter the more so to me because I was big fan of Game On and knew that it was deeply ironic)

Nuggets Mahoney is also a cracking name for some reason.

This is no commentary on the posters themsleves btw, most of the very good posters actually have very dull names.

I was just musing about changing my name to Bossyguy...should I put it to a vote? :unsure:

Edit to say my real first name is prosaic: Anne. It's never held my career back.

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I was just musing about changing my name to Bossyguy...should I put it to a vote? :unsure:

Edit to say my real first name is prosaic: Anne. It's never held my career back.

Prosaic is good, but it's prosaic from a particular standpoint. If you were an extreme chav, muslim, black gangster whatever then you wouldn't call your daughter Anne, but decent parents would so I would happily recruit an Anne.

To go away from prosaic if you call your child something like Peregrine Worsthorne then you put a huge burden upon them; he will either end up as an alcoholic failed time-share salesman or as a major success. Nothing in between.

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Is housepricecrash still on BST? My last post is timed at 1015...

9.14 on my screen. But I have Noscript on which does all manner of things to webpages that think they know better.

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Guest eight

This is no commentary on the posters themsleves btw, most of the very good posters actually have very dull names.

So do most of the dull posters.

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Image caption Jamal Edwards has been so successful he hasn't really needed to worry about job applications.

I suppose there's quite a big market for image captions. It's a bit specialised though: how's he going to manage if it's not an image of someone called Jamal Edwards?

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I feel the MrPin name makes me look tiny. I should have been MrBollard! :wacko:

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Names are somewhat indicative of socio-economic background and parental influence. Changing your name from Darren Porter to Tarquinius Cavendish isn't going to give you any advantage really. You might be more likely to get an interview for a job that requires that background, like running an art gallery, but you won't then get the job.

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Tristram Shandy (the ultimate shaggy dog story) elaborated at length on the subject of what's in a name.

I support colour-blind recruitment (and have experienced it myself), but I wonder if this could backfire on the PC brigade, leading to the numbers moving in the opposite direction to what they expect or not at all?

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Most of this is an exercise in the "bleedin' orbvious" (i.e. names are a guide to a person's family background and hence to that person's character) but I hadn't encountered the bit about women with masculine sounding names before so I don't know whether that's right or not. That would actually be interesting if true because that wouldn't be about class / race / religion but about, I don't know - men who like butch women?

I should have written down an extreme example, though that would probably be breach of confidentiality, on a supported drug / alcohol / mental health list but it was something like Zebedee Rainbow Smith. Which is as much a disqualifier for a decent job as facial tattoos:

"Representing the defendent will be Mr Zebedee Rainbow Smith"

<dramatic pause>

"The court finds the defendant: Guilty. Next case."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/34638098/the-perfect-name-for-a-job-application-based-on-biases

It is an interesting topic.

I am particularly fascinated by names that challenge cultural expectations such as Jason Mohammad the Welsh/Pakistani sports reporter. One of the things that Jews did so successfully in the UK in the early 20 th century was to Anglicise their family names to increase their acceptance. This has not happened much with more recent waves of immigrants and I actually think it is one of the sources of cultural tension and alienation. Obviously, European Jews had less of an issue because so many Christian names such as David, Jonathon etc are actually Jewish in origin. However, that same cross cultural merger could also be applied to many Islamic and Hindu names. For example, there is no obvious reason why an Ibrahim or a Yusuf could not call themselves Abraham or Joseph because the names have exactly the same derivation. Similarly, an Indian name like Sekunder is derived from Alexander the Great. It is interesting that so many people like to emphasise their cultural distinctiveness simply by spelling or pronouncing the same name in a different way as the interminable variations of the name John, Jan, Johannes, Ian, Jack etc found across Europe and elsewhere reveal

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternate_forms_for_the_name_John

Perhaps I might consider changing my board name from that old Chris Farlowe blues cover, StormyMonday, to something such as Christian Mohammed Cohen. That name would jangle a few cultural stereotypes.

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