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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    10

    Reclaiming Ariel

    I have a huge crush on Ariel as a boy’s name;
    It’s by far the best full name for Ari and has other cool factors like:
    1) Ariel is one of the archangels, but the name is still way less widespread than Michael, Raphael etc.
    2) the sound (it’s pronounced Ah-riel, not Air-riel) is stunning
    3) the connection to writer Ariel Dorfman

    But then there’s Ariel the freaking mermaid, and that’s the first thing anyone thinks of. I’m lowkey mad at Disney, thanks to the movie, people now view Ariel as a girl’s name- and a tacky Disney name- even though up to when it was released the name was very traditionally male (Arielle would be the female form, like Gabrielle or Danielle)

    So just interested to hear your opinion, would you consider using Ariel on a boy and can it ever be reclaimed for that gender?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    11,874
    I think Ariel could work on a boy. I see it as pretty gender neutral. It reminds be of the more popular Gabriel, Abel or Daniel
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    United States
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    3,417
    I've heard it is popular [for boys] in other cultures but I don't know how well it would go over in the States. Given how popular the Mermaid association is 30 years later, and how Disney is going to be doing a remake of it soon, I don't think the association will fade :/ sorry...

    As far as your other question, I could never consider using it for a boy...we actually used it for our female cat (oops)
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    5,830
    General thoughts on Ariel for a boy in bullet form because it’ll take to long to organize them into a cohesive paragraph:

    - I can appreciate boys “taking back” names that have “gone to the girls”. While I don’t like all of them, I can appreciate the act. I grew up with a boy named McKenna until 5th grade who never had any trouble with his name so I don’t think having a “girl’s name” will automatically lead to teasing. Then again, McKenna isn’t the name of a Disney princess.

    - Why would a boy sharing a name with a Disney princess be bad? Boys should be encouraged to have female role models the same way girls are encouraged to have male role models. I understand kids don’t think like this but I also know that gender and gender roles/perceptions are learned and kids aren’t born with that knowledge. I think parents are more likely to see a problem with it and, unfortunately, it’s possible their comments/behavior/attitude will rub off on their kids and cause teasing.

    - Somewhat ironically, I’d say ArielAIR-ee-uhl” and Arielle “are-ee-ELLE”. I’d have a hard time saying Ariel differently.

    - The only association I have of a male Ariel is a man from Ohio who kidnapped four girls and held them hostage for several years. So. Not great.

    - I did know a boy named Uriel, which is similar. I don’t think I’d recommend it as an alternative though because he was occasionally called “urinal”.

    Answering your questions, no I wouldn’t use Ariel for a boy. It’s not a favorite name of mine for a boy or a girl. Could it ever be reclaimed for boys? I don’t like the idea that a name is “lost” to the girls. No matter how many little girls are named Ariel, it doesn’t change the history of the name. Same thing goes with other “lost” names. So I don’t feel like Ariel needs to be “reclaimed” because, in a sense, it belongs to the boys just like it always has. It just also belongs to the girls now and that has deterred parents from using the name for boys.

    I think the real question you’re getting at is should you use it and that’s not something I can answer for you. Remember, you are not the one who gets to wear this name. The primary association for most people will be a Disney princess. Would that bother you? If the answer is “yes”, then it might be time to move on. But if you can get over that, then I don’t see anything wrong with using Ariel for a boy.
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  5. #5
    I would love to meet a little boy named Ariel. I like it better as a boy's name. But like other people have said, the remake of the Little Mermaid is going to make even the next generation think of mermaids first. It's up to you if you're ok with that.
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  6. #6
    I like it as a name, and it’s my understanding that outside the US it is still in use, which has already been mentioned. The pronunciation issue in the states would bother me more than it being used for girls (also it isn’t REALLY being used for girls that often, it’s more like the one time it was used for a girl she happened to be a super famous red headed mermaid). How popular is the little mermaid even going to be with kids that are born today or in the future? It has a terrible message and I’m not a fan at all of it as a movie. It seems really dated. So anyway—if it was a name I LOVED, I wouldn’t hesitate to use it. Kids today have all kinds of unique names, and unisex names too. He would be fine, even if some parents raised their eyebrows.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Greece
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    3,948
    I think there'd be too much teasing potential. Eyebrows raising every time he introduced himself with the name of a very famous Disney princess. Even without the Disney association, Arielle sounds very similar and it's very popular (for girls) at the moment. I feel like a male Ariel would grow up wishing he had a more masculine name.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Northern Europe
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    976
    I do love Ariel on a boy, but I wouldn't use it on a boy in real life, because... Well, Ariel the mermaid. It's a shame though, and maybe we should just "claim it back", but I'm not brave enough.

    P.S. I don't think Ariel is one of the archangels, or at least not in Catholicism, and I've never heard of him being an archangel in any other tradition... But I could be wrong and it's just a detail anyway.
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  9. #9
    I love Ariel as a boys name, and I'd definitely use it (I'm in the UK and not the US though). Sure, most people will probably look at the spewling and ask *like the mermaid?* but they'll only do it once. It's actually on my list for future boys names, although with a slightly butchered spelling, but that's only because I prefer the way it looks written down spelt Ariyel. I say go for it
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    2,134
    I really like the name, but I don't think it would work unless you live in a culture where it's a common boys name. I think there would be endless pronunciation drama if you're going to say arh- not air-, and I think there could be a lot of negative feedback because "it's a girls name". In the end, it's up to you, but I personally wouldn't.
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