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Posted July 2nd, 2013
14 Responses to “In Defense of Atlas, Apple, and North: Ten Reasons to Embrace Unusual Baby Names”
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July 3rd, 2013 at 1:46 am
I agree with all these points and even thought of them individually in the past. I like #2 because people don’t seem to remember that. They freak out if you spell the first name differently and worry so much about them having to spell their name to everyone, but so many last names are even worse to explain than having to say “Sophia with an F, not a ph.” My last name is always butchered and I always have to say Kara with a K, but how much time or frustration does that REALLY cause? Not much. I’m all for the unusual, as long as it does have meaning and importance like point #1 says. Great post!
July 3rd, 2013 at 5:58 am
Yeah, I’m in general agreement. I love a lot of unusual names! I know I seem very pro-popular, but if there’s an unusual name you really love and it has loads of meaning- USE IT! I just don’t like it when people pass over a much-loved name becuase it’s ‘too popular’. I’d be as glad to meet a Zenobia as I would be to meet a Sophia (:
July 3rd, 2013 at 9:09 am
With the case of North, it’s not necessarily that it’s a unique name, it’s the fact that HER name is NORTH WEST. I get what the title was trying to do but that’s one name that didn’t belong. Perhaps use Blue instead?
July 3rd, 2013 at 10:10 am
North isn’t necessarily terrible on its own, it’s that it’s combined with West. It’s like the baby’s name is the punchline to a joke. I think Apple is a pretty terrible name, but I also think Gwyneth Paltrow was sincerely trying to give her daughter a nice name- we just have very different taste. Kim and Kanye wanted people to laugh when they heard their daughter’s name. I think you make a lot of good points, but I just can’t get behind kree-8-tiv spellings. I’m sure I’m being classist, but I think they make the parents seem uneducated.
July 3rd, 2013 at 12:01 pm
I agree that I’d much rather hear unusual names than common names, but I don’t think a kid should be given a completely ridiculous name with no meaning or heft behind it. North West is horrible because it’s silly and indulgent. Like a pp said, the punchline to a joke. A name shouldn’t be silly, ridiculous, or irreverent. Apple, I get. There’s spiritual meaning behind the fruit, even though I personally don’t like it. But Pilot Inspektor? Where is the significance or meaning behind that name? It’s another case of parents being indulgent and selfish.
On the other side of the same token, I despise boring names that have no importance. Boring names that have meaning I get, but another Sophia because you can’t think of anything more creative? And I especially dislike the arbitrary connecting middle name. Like, meh….let’s just put Marie in there for no other reason than it sounds good with the first name and I can’t think of anything else.
July 3rd, 2013 at 2:53 pm
YES. I so agree with all ten of these points. I also agree with what others have said about disliking names that are essentially punchlines. But I don’t necessarily feel like it’s up to other people to decide whether or not someone else’s name is a punchline. Even with a name like North West. The family members have cited various meanings for her name, but that shouldn’t even matter. As a stranger on the outside, the main thought I have about that name is that she is one of the few lucky children born in 2013 who will never have to spell out her name, and she’s definitely the only person in her family who will never have to spell out her name.
July 4th, 2013 at 9:13 am
I don’t think all spelling variations are created equal. Having to say “Sofia with an f” seems different (and less frustrating) than needing to spell out a name that is foreign to most ears.
But, I do like the increasing freedom in naming choices even if I tend to stay on the more conservative end of the spectrum. I like having more wiggle room in what I can name my kids, so overall I agree with the points made. I do think acceptance of unusual names is growing, and I don’t think acceptance is a bad thing.
July 4th, 2013 at 3:15 pm
And there’s nothing wrong with people if they like safe names like Sarah, Kate, Thomas etc.
July 10th, 2013 at 10:58 pm
[…] love unusual names. I can defend the wackiest of celebrity appellations, from North to Pilot to […]
September 22nd, 2013 at 7:48 pm
I have a daughter named Alsie (al-see). It means “strong-willed.” She was named after her grandmother. The name is very rare, but did make the top 1000 list back in the early 1890’s. This article lists many of the reasons we went for the unusual name. We are so glad we did because the name fits her perfectly!
October 5th, 2013 at 11:01 am
But there *has* been a widespread movement to make us all have surnames like Smith or Jones. Look at celebrities– Jennifer Aniston, Bob Dylan, and Steven Tyler are all celebrities who changed their last names to erase the “ethnic” sound of their last names. And that was just me pulling them off the top of my head. If you look at celebrities real names, you see this institutional racism. Stefani Germanotta would have a hard time being taken seriously by the music industry. Take on a silly name like Lady Gaga, and you’re halfway to super stardom.
I can relate to the author of this article, having grown up with an Americanized Polish last name that no one could pronounce! We cannot trace my family history further back than my great-great grandparents who immigrated from Poland circa 1880-1910 because, contrary to what they’ll tell you at Ellis Island, it *was* a common occurrence to Americanize last names– especially with immigrants who were illiterate. One of my great-great grandfathers first name was Stanislaus, and it was changed to Stanley. His last name was changed as well, to something more American.
October 13th, 2013 at 12:54 pm
I think the most frustrating part for people with unusual names is not having to spell it for people, but people pronouncing it wrong all the time. Even unusual spellings that are actually spelled in accordance to the rules of English (if two vowels are together, the first one says its name; if there’s an E on the end, the earlier vowel says its name; etc.) get butchered. I cannot count the number of times my sister Raychel has heard Rochelle, Raquel, and Rachelle instead of Rachel and that’s the most frustrating part for her.
January 19th, 2014 at 9:20 am
I think life is harsh on the Caitlin population because people misspell it all the time.
October 29th, 2014 at 6:55 pm
I really found this article interesting. As someone who is from a family line of not only ‘uncommon’ names but also uncommon surnames, I’ve always felt the desire to have a more common name. But you know what? I actually really like both ‘common’ and ‘uncommon’ names. I’ve had to spell and or pronounce my name to a majority of the people I’ve met (especially throughout school) and thought that because people hadn’t heard it, that it somehow didn’t measure up to the more widely-used names. Now, I know I was wrong. Uncommon names are great!
(I’ve actually never met another person with my name and have only heard of it on any other person twice.)
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