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In One Mexican State, You Can’t Name Your Baby Rambo (And Yes, Someone Actually Tried)
February 12, 2014
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The Mexican state of Sonora has banned a list of 61 names in the interests of protecting children from bullying later in life. (Photo:CARLOS SCHIEBECK/AFP/Getty Images

In the Mexican state of Sonora, you can no longer name your baby Facebook. Or Rambo. Or Martian. Or any of 58 other names that are now officially, legally banned

Almost all of the names on this newly released list have been found at least once on state registries, and are being disallowed "to protect children from being bullied because of their name," said Cristina Ramirez, director of the civil registry in Sonora. "We know that bullying can seriously affect a child's personality and the development of social skills, and we want to do what we can from our area of responsibility." 

The list includes American phrases like Burger King and Usnavy, famous names like Harry Potter and Lady Di and potentially offensive names like Circumcision.

"Some people are saying we are attacking the liberty of parents," Ramirez told The Guardian. "We think these names attack the superior interests of the child."

Mexico is not the only country where certain baby names are disallowed.

In May, New Zealand updated its list to 71 unacceptable names, including royal titles (no Duke, Majesty or Queen Victoria), roman numerals and Lucifer.

And there are others. In China, parents who tried to name their child @ — as in the symbol — were rejected. In Sweden, parents were not allowed to name their child "Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116" (and you also can't name your kid Metallica or Ikea) and in Denmark, parents have to choose from a government-approved list of 7,000 names (going off-list requires consulting with a local church). 

And in Iceland, there's an official body, the Mannanafnanefnd (or Icelandic Naming Committee), which approves each new name. In addition to not being potentially embarrassing for the child, a new name must be compatible with both Icelandic grammar and tradition — which is why fewer than 2,000 names are approved for each gender there.


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