Author Topic: Is it a mean nickname?  (Read 10589 times)

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Kimblee

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Is it a mean nickname?
« on: August 03, 2010, 02:34:03 PM »
My cousin J has a son, M who is without a doubt one of the prettiest, sweetest mannered children ever. He is friendly, cuddly and due to his mother not wanting to cut his hair if she can avoid it, has long slightly curly hair. But its still pretty obvious he's a boy.

Some how he got the nickname "prissy boy" (I personally think it evolved from "Kissy Boy" because he at about four months started to become a kisser. He still greets people he loves with hugs and kisses. But his father says he thinks it came from "pretty boy" and he might be right too. the kid's been called both at times.) While I'm not sure what other people think when they hear the phrase, its never meant anything in our family, other than a boy who's a bit fussy over his looks, or M himself.

We were at a park and M was running around with a blue blanket held over his head like a hood. (Think little kid wrapped in a towel.) he was having a good time swooshing around and tumbling, and when the food was ready someone called the kids back and M didn't hear us at first, so I walked over to him and said "C'mere Prissy Boy, let me hold you." Which he did immediatly, squealing. (he lieks being carried around.)

Some woman lit into me about how I was a homophobe (??? Have I missed something?) and terrible. She also made M start crying because he thought she was yelling at him. I ignored her but she followed me to our picnic table, and at that point another cousin told her she was out of line and needed to stay away from us. She huffed off.

So, is M's nickname offensive? Was this woman nuts? Both? J has commented that if the name is gonna set people off, maybe we should call him something else, but if not, we'd like to keep using it. M is used to it and seems pleased to be "special" to us.

If it matters, M is about six, and responds to "Prissy Boy" happily. Most of the little kids in the family get called nicknames, some others include "Chicken Girl", "Baby Bootsie" and "Toad"
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Suze

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2010, 02:37:51 PM »
for the record I don't like nicknames like that at all.

while they might be cute now

you know family is still going to call him "Prissy Boy" when he is grown up

and somehow at 20ish prissy boy takes on a whole new meaning.......
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gentlebutterfly

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2010, 02:40:43 PM »
If I had heard it, I would think it was a mean nickname, but I wouldn't have said anything.

If the child likes it, then it's nobodys business what you call him.

Kimblee

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2010, 02:42:41 PM »
for the record I don't like nicknames like that at all.

while they might be cute now

you know family is still going to call him "Prissy Boy" when he is grown up

and somehow at 20ish prissy boy takes on a whole new meaning.......

Our nicknames seem to stick, yeah. But at some point we can drop them. My cousin J (M's father) kept his ("Snowflake" He was a REALLY pale little boy) but his sister dropped hers because at the time she got it it was innocent, but now is sometimes used as a euphamism for a body part. No one uses his sister's. Ever. Its family courtisy.

A diffrent cousin ("Big Boy") decided that family could use it, but he wanted us to call him by his name if we introduced him. We've abided by it.

I don't know if M's nickname will persist, but its a family joke that he's gonna end up like our uncle, who was given the nickname "Bitty babe" as a toddler because he was so small, and ended up being a 6'3 bulk of a man. And yeah, we still call him "Uncle Bitty"
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bah12

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2010, 02:43:52 PM »
To most of us, "prissy" is not a derivative of "kissy", it is a word used to describe a feminine male and it is usually used in a derogatory manner.  I think this is what the woman was responding to.

Obviously the family is not using the nickname in this way, but it may open the child up to unwanted chastising by other children in the future. Something to think about it.

PeasNCues

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2010, 02:44:46 PM »
It actually does kind of sound offensive to me.

Prissy Boy = OTT Feminine Boy to me.  I've only heard the word "prissy" used negatively and only when refering to people who are gay or towards a male who the name-caller was accusing of being gay. Might only be a regional thing (SE US).
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Sharnita

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2010, 02:46:29 PM »
I have heard girls called prissy - kinda makes me think "wimpy, needs to be coddled, etc".  Not genrally kind and very possibly mean.

Kimblee

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2010, 02:48:24 PM »
To most of us, "prissy" is not a derivative of "kissy", it is a word used to describe a feminine male and it is usually used in a derogatory manner.  I think this is what the woman was responding to.

Obviously the family is not using the nickname in this way, but it may open the child up to unwanted chastising by other children in the future. Something to think about it.

Hmm. That's true. Admittedly our family in the past have figured that family nicknames are just that, family names, not used in school or anything like that. And after awhile, i guess we get kinda jaded to them.

Maybe I'll point this all out to J. It'll be hard on M getting used to being called vby his own name, but if it spares him hardship down the road...

@PeasNCues: Where we are, girls and the occasional guy get called Prissy if they are a bit on the vain side(but not in a bad way, there are lots of words for VERY vain folk, but prissy isn't one of them) or for cats. Maybe that's why it didn't occour to any of us. I've never heard prissy used for a g*a*y person, but maybe that was what the woman associated it with.
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Judah

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2010, 02:49:11 PM »
I can't think of a positive connotation to the word "prissy" whether it's used for a boy or a girl.  I wouldn't want it as a nickname.
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kherbert05

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2010, 02:49:38 PM »
In this case the family nickname is innocent because of the history - but can quickly turn nasty in the hands of school mates. I would be concerned that the child was being bullied by family if I heard it without back story.
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Kimblee

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2010, 02:55:05 PM »
I can't think of a positive connotation to the word "prissy" whether it's used for a boy or a girl.  I wouldn't want it as a nickname.

I never realized how many people disliked the word. I've alwasy assumed the word itself comes from "pretty" I mean, it kinda sounds like pretty, and the way its used in oru area is for a person who is trying to be pretty.

Maybe we should just call him Frog. His sister is Toad after all.

@kherbert- We definatly don't bully him.  ;D M is our family baby, he's so super sweet and pleasant that I can't remember the last time he even got scolded for something. (His brother on the other hand.... I love his brother but they two couldn't be more diffrent. Only thing they have in common is both are mostly polite and good natured.) The name is always used in a loving tone.
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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2010, 02:56:57 PM »
Prissy boy doesn't sound bad to me for a very small boy, but for an older child it would be mean.

Could you dial it back to Pretty Boy?

ETA - Frog is good, too, if his sister is Toad.
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Jobiska

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2010, 02:57:15 PM »
First off--yelly park lady was rude, no question.

That being said--

Except as a nickname for Priscilla, I would assume anyone being called prissy was (seen by the name-callers as) fussy about their clothes and about not getting dirty, was wimpy, etc., and that most people barely tolerate this in a girl, but judge it as a moral failing in a boy ("what kind of boy doesn't want to get dirty?  It's not natural!") etc. and from there many make the leap to connect those traits to being gay, effeminate, etc. and from THERE make the leap that those are further moral failings.

Let me hasten to add that I do not, but that it is common enough that I would hesitate to use such a nickname in public lest people make the same assumptions yelly park lady did.

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2010, 02:57:45 PM »
Honestly, even if someone dislikes the name, there's absolutely no excuse for the woman's behavior.

We called Spartacus "Polly Prissy Pants" for a while after he got a particularly horrible shave at the vet's.  I don't know that I would call another person "prissy," but it's the nickname that's evolved in Kimblee's family; their use of it is not at all mean, and they've already shown that they're more than willing to drop the use of a nickname should the person thus nicknamed no longer like it.  So I'm not seeing meanness or anything wrong here.

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Re: Is it a mean nickname?
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2010, 02:59:15 PM »
I'd go with frog.  I think prissy boy is pretty offensive - even if you don't mean it that way.