Mom's Fear She Ruined Daughter's Future With 'Unusual' Name Sparks Debate

A mom has voiced concerns she's jeopardized her daughter's future and job prospects after she gave her an "unusual" name.

The mom shared her fears to Mumsnet, under username Whatsinaname5, revealing she also had sons, who had more traditional names.

But after a close friend died, she ended up naming her daughter, now nine, Raya.

Ever since, the mom claimed she's been kept awake over the choice, believing it would hold her daughter back in life.

'Raya & The Last Dragon' movie poster.
"Raya and The Last Dragon" movie poster. A mom voiced her concerns after naming her daughter Raya. IMDB

She wrote: "Her elder brothers both have traditional, biblical names and that was the plan for her, but DF died just before she was born and she ended up with a 'tribute' name, which I also thought was lovely. Hormones."

She claimed the little girl liked her name, but her mom explained why she was unsure of it.

The mom continued: "She likes her name and no issues at school apart from the millions of other names ending with 'aya' and 'iya,' but I have had a sense of dread that she'll be denied job opportunities or friendships because she's being as a chav—or at least someone of a lower class.

"What if everyone hiring is a Millie or a Hugo and they see Raya on her CV."

In the U.K., where the mom is thought to be based, chav is often used as an insulting term, defined by Merriam-Webster as: "A young person in Britain of a type stereotypically known for engaging in aggressively loutish behavior especially when in groups and for wearing flashy jewelry and athletic casual clothing (such as tracksuits and baseball caps)."

But the mom admitted: "Of course there's not much we can do now apart from steer her to use her traditional middle name??"

In comments, the mom, thought to be based in the U.K., sought to clarify her position, admitting: "I've reread my post and it does come across pretty badly and classist. Sorry.

"I'm from a very, very hard up background but went to one of the Oxbridges and met a lot of social barriers there because of my background and then experienced the same in my career. I had a few instances at uni where I opened my mouth and potential friends physically backed from my regional accent. So I do have a few hang ups!"

As she said: "This has genuinely kept me up at night for 9 years panicking (I am a worrier)."

Her post, shared on Sunday, has amassed more than 150 responses online, as people weighed in on not only the choice, but the mom's perception of names.

Aubrey1981 wrote: "I knew an adult and child Raya. Never thought there was anything unusual about it."

Bridgetreilly said: "You are being silly. Her generation is full of kids with crazy names. No one will blink at Raya."

Luxxlisbon pointed out: "YABU for pushing the idea that a name can make you lower class."

What if everyone hiring is a Millie or a Hugo and they see Raya on her CV."
Mom

While YoniHuman commented: "It's a nice name and it's spelt correctly. I think it's the unique spellings that people find 'chavvy.' I expect it will also become more popular now that the Disney film Raya & the Last Dragon is around."

And DoYouWantDecking added: "If she's not had any fun out of the latest Disney Film (which is brilliant and has a kick-a** heroine) then she will be fine. It's a lovely name."

As a few people pointed out, the name entered the public eye when Disney released a film in 2021, entitled Raya and the Last Dragon.

The film was popular following its release, grossing $1.662 million at the box office, Forbes reported.

According to the Office for National Statistics in the U.K., in 2020, the last year data is available, 110 girls were named Raya. It has been increasing in popularity, with 98 girls given the title in 2019, up from 82 the previous year.

Currently Raya is the 393rd most popular name in the U.K., according to the ONS. In 2020, the top choice was Olivia, followed by Amelia, then Isla, Ava and Mia.

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

File photo of a little girl.
File photo of a little girl. A mom has voiced concerns over her daughter's "unusual" name. WHPics/Getty Images