It’s a girl!! Of course she’s the most beautiful thing you have ever seen (natch), but what are you going to name her?
Well, it seems that you now have endless possibilities for baby girl names and the truth is that you can call your little precious bundle anything you want – within reason. But beware – something that sounds really cute for a chubby-cheeked 2-year-old with ribbons, could prove extremely uncool for a stroppy 15-year-old and may sound downright embarrassing for a 25-year-old trying heading for an executive interview.
The problem is that, although there is a tendency to be quite conservative when naming boys, parents often see baby girl naming as an ideal excuse to exercise their more “creative” instincts. But its sooooo easy to step over into the weird zone where your cute baby girl becomes something of a fashion accessory, like the latest Fendi bag. Nowhere is this more prevalent, than in the world of celebrity baby girl names; Demi Moore and Bruce Willis are the parents of Rumer Glenn, Scout LaRue and Tallulah Belle, Sly Stallone’s daughter is Sistine Rose, Christie Brinkley has a daughter called Sailor…the list goes on.
But the dangers of doing this are perfectly summed up by a beautiful, intelligent young lady by the name of Peaches. Daughter, of the sainted Sir Bob Geldof, the then 16-year-old Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa Geldof made a statement in 2005 appealing to all celebrities to stop giving their children ridiculous names. She said “"I hate ridiculous names, my weird name has haunted me all my life”. Well said that girl – the perfect warning for all self-absorbed celebrity parents-to-be. Of course, some people think she actually got off lightly – her sisters are called Fifi Trixabelle, Pixie and Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lilly!!
Another fascinating example of the constant search for unusual baby girl names, is the modern fashion in certain sections of the African American community to give baby girls exotic sounding names consisting of 3 syllables and ending in “A”, especially “SHA”, or “QUA”. This fashion has grown significantly over the last generation and it’s difficult to trace its origins. Possibly, it may have something to do with the drive to create African-sounding names, since many African names end in the letter “A”. Anyway, whatever the reasons, apart from anything else, at least it’s a great source of material for some of our great African American comedians!
But apart from the more exotic names, what are the current trends in baby girl naming? Well, in the US, the trends are still for relatively conservative names – although less so than baby boy names. The most popular name every year for the last 10 years has been Emily (meaning ”Industrious, eager”) and Hannah (”Grace of God”), Madison (“Son of a mighty warrior”), Elizabeth (“Consecrated to God”) and Samantha (“Listens well”) have also remained firmly in the top 10 over that time. Interestingly, Madison has a meaning which is “son of…” but has remained one of the most popular baby girl names for several years. Is this yet more evidence that the females are taking over? They’re even taking our names now!
Even further down the list of most popular baby girl names, there are few surprises. Although, there is not the same focus on traditional, biblical-based names as with boys, the list is filled with mainly traditional (and beautiful) names. Girl’s names – much more than boy’s names – are often subject to the prevailing culture and the influence of famous people. It’s interesting to see that the name Chelsea (“River landing place”) entered the US top 100 in 1984, rose to its highest level of number 15 in 1992 – the year Bill Clinton first became president. Then after a few years of being quite high in the ranking, it completely dropped out of the top 100 in 1999, as the Clinton era began to draw to a close. Was the brief popularity due to the President’s daughter? Most probably!
But just remember that, when it comes to baby girl names, the “famous name” effect leads to short-term popularity, but long-term consequences. We await the strange spectacle of hordes of grey-haired old Beyonce’s and Britney’s attempting to shake their booty’s during the daily exercise sessions in residential homes...!
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Michael Barrows' website has great info on baby names meanings, baby name lists and lots of baby resources. Get your free ebook packed with baby tips for new parents, visit the baby girl name website.
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