15-Year-Old Icelandic Teenager Is Suing the Country For the Right to Be Called By Her Name

Here in the U.S., we give our kids ridiculous names like "Hashtag," because this is AMERICA. But some countries, such as Iceland, have very stringent and arbitrary rules regarding monikers.

According to the AP, most Icelanders don't question the Personal Names Register, a list of 1,712 male names and 1,853 female names "that fit Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules and that officials maintain will protect children from embarrassment." Examples of banned names include Cara, Carolina, Cesil, and Christa, because the letter "c'' is not part of Iceland's 32-letter alphabet (what about other names that start with C?), and Satania because it sounds like "Satan." They've also rejected middle names that people have wanted to add later in life, like Zeppelin and X.


"What one person finds beautiful, another person may find ugly," acknowledged Agusta Thorbergsdottir, the head of the names committee.

Does anyone else feel like they're reading a Roald Dahl tale? Also, can you imagine how Americans would respond to a similar law? All Tea Partiers would name their children "Honey Boo Boo" in solidarity and protest.

But now, a 15-year-old is suing Iceland to use the name legally given to her by her mother: Blaer, which means "light breeze" in Icelandic. Pretty! But also masculine, which means it's not allowed.

"I had no idea that the name wasn't on the list, the famous list of names that you can choose from," said her mother, Bjork Eidsdottir, who says she knew a Blaer whose name was OKed in 1973. There's also a female character named Blaer in a novel by Nobel Prize-winning Icelandic author Halldor Laxness. What the fuck? Is the names committee not a fan of Gossip Girl?


First names are particularly significant in Iceland, where everyone is listed in the phone book by their first names and even the president is called by his first name, Olafur. Blaer has been called "stulka," which means girl, on all of her documents for years.

"So many strange names have been allowed, which makes this even more frustrating because Blaer is a perfectly Icelandic name," Eidsdottir said. "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." They're willing to take the case to the country's Supreme Court.


Free Blaer!


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