You could call it the Epponnee-Rae effect.
The study into middle-class naming practices was carried out by Professor Jo Lindsay of Monash University and Associate Professor Deborah Dempsey of Swinburne University of Technology. One married mum, Elizabeth, explained why she chose “traditional” names for her children.
“We didn’t like the idea of one of those wacky names that are very cute on a three-year-old but you can’t imagine [them on an older person], or a name that labelled you as someone who worked in the checkout at Coles, as opposed to somebody to be taken seriously. So we ended up with very conservative names, but that’s okay,” she said.
“You can’t see your child sitting on the bench at the High Court of Australia being called Poppy or something. My daughter has a friend called Dakota which, to me, that jumps up and screams, ‘I was born in the late ’90s, my mother didn’t have an imagination or my mother didn’t think forward.’”
Meanwhile, a lawyer called Brigid said she chose names that meant her children would be able to mix comfortably with “middle, upper-class, private school” kids. She said her partner, who used to work for the Department of Human Services, saw a lot of people who had given their children “creative” spellings of names.
“It just seemed to be this element of society that did that. That’s not where we come from and that’s not something I wanted to inflict on a child.”