It’s a law that makes celebrity parenting an impossibility in Iceland: The tiny Nordic nation obliges parents to pick their children’s first names from a government-approved list that does not include Blue Ivy, Pilot Inspektor or Audio Science, all of which are the real names of the real children of famous people who don’t come from Iceland. Now a young Icelandic girl is challenging the state for the right to use her off-list given name. Sometimes it’s hard to know which side to come down on.
The 15-year-old girl in question was baptized Blaer by a priest who thought the name, which after all means “light breeze” in Icelandic, was an approved one. However, it’s not on the list of 1,712 male names and 1,853 female names at the country’s Personal Names Register; consequently, Blaer is referred to on all official documents as “Stulka,” which means “girl.” A panel that oversees the register has rejected the name on the grounds the noun it comes from takes a masculine article, the ruling made in spite of the fact Blaer is the name of a female character in a novel by one of Iceland’s most revered authors.
The ruling was made by the same panel that has approved Elvis as a child’s name in Iceland. The girl and her mother are prepared to go to the country’s supreme court in their fight. “It seems like a basic human right to be able to name your child what you want, especially if it doesn’t harm your child in any way,” the mother is reported to have told the local media. That’s all that needs to be said in this case. Blaer should be Blaer. Meanwhile, young Pilot Inspektor can take heart in the fact that, in countries that don’t enforce government-approved monikers, changing one’s name is a relatively simple matter.