"What name is considered to be trashy in your country?"
This question was recently posed to Reddit users, and some of the results were a little surprising.
Yet there was one answer in particular that might be especially confusing to American readers: Kevin.
Yes, Kevin. K-E-V-I-N.
But foreign distaste for "Kevin" isn't just some weird Reddit quirk.
Sociologist Jürgen Gerhards claims that Anglo-American names like Kevin is a lower-class phenomenon called “Kevinismus” in Germany, according to Discover Magazine's translation of an article in German publication Die Welt.
"The naming of Anglo-American name is a lower class phenomenon," he said. He adds that the upper class that "goes to the opera” and is more tradition-conscious prefers more German sounding names, like Jürgen for instance.
Freakonomics backs up this claim, citing a German survey that asked 2,000 elementary school teachers on how they perceived certain names.
“Kevin is not a name — it’s a diagnosis!” one teacher said.
Astrid Kaiser, who conducted the study, said, “The names with positive connotations are all traditional German ones. What this shows is that children from a working class or immigrant background are clearly being discriminated against.”
As for how something like this can happen, Jennifer Moss, founder and CEO of BabyNames.com, has some insight. She claims that there are two ways people perceive names -- personal and public.
“Personal perception is like people you have personally met in your past,” she told The Huffington Post. “The school bully, a teacher, a friend. Your perception of the name is based on people you've known in the past.”
Public perception is when a name is associated with something most are familiar with and everyone has the same perception of it. Moss gave the examples of famous names like “Oprah, Angelina and Adolf.”
In Germany it seems like the name Kevin suffers from poor public perception that's transformed into an actual cultural thing -- and being that Germany is in such close proximity to France, this opinion has crossed the border.
But opinions are the only thing labeling a name like Kevin "trashy." There is no actual proof or any scientific studies that have proven that Kevins are tawdry. So, for any Kevins reading this article who may be offended by international folks saying their name is low-class, we’ll let comedian Kevin Hart take it from here: