Celebrity baby-naming out of control

Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

Celebrity baby names seem to become crazier every year. Already a plethora of examples come to mind:

Of course we all know about Kanye’s daughter North West. Then there was Sylvester Stallone’s son, Sage Moonblood. Nicholas Cage named his son Kal-El, which was Superman’s given name. Ashlee Simpson and her now-ex Pete Wentz named their son Bronx Mowgli. Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller named his daughter Moxie CrimeFighter. Then there is Pilot Inspektor Lee, son of “My Name Is Earl” star Jason Lee, and Gwen Stefani’s Zuma Nesta Rock.

In response, we have to ask ourselves a couple of questions. Why are celebrity baby names so crazy? What impact do these names have on us as a society, if any? Should we even bother worrying about it?
So, first of all, why?

“To me, it’s to be different and to set their children apart from the others,” said Montie Grier, a father.

Bri Davis, a mother, thinks celebrity parents have an ardent wish to keep their own fame alive in their bloodline.

“I think some celebrities do this to gain more attention and possibly attention for their children,” Davis said.

“I think it’s a way of giving them a fame boost before they are even able to make a name for themselves.”

Janine Wilson, mother of two, became angry when she read the list of names recited in this article. “I just feel like it’s all about the wow factor and what kind of reaction they can get from the public,” Wilson said. “It’s selfish, I think. I don’t see why they have to make their kids stick it out when they already are going to have to deal with so much growing up.”

The consensus is that celebrities try to keep alive or revive their fame by giving their children outrageous names.

There is also a scientific way to look at this issue. In 2013, Hema Yoganarasimhan, assistant professor at the University of California Davis Graduate School of Management, wrote an article, “Identifying the Presence and Cause of Fashion Cycles in the Choice of Given Names.”

Yoganarasimhan is a marketing expert who based her research on Social Security Administration lists of names since the 1940s. She took into account socioeconomic status of the parents and their cultural exposure.
It seems that more “cultured” parents started baby name trends. When lower class parents picked up those names, higher class parents would discard that trend and soon start a new one. Celebrities display power by creating baby name trends. It shows they are wealthier or more social.

And who better to start social trends than celebrities? Unfortunately, the victims in this case are their own children. They use flesh and blood to prove who is the biggest hipster.

Grier feels like the trend has gotten so much worse over the years because celebrities are trying to one-up each other’s wild baby-name ideas. “It’s good you would want your kids to be different and to have a name that no one else has, but don’t go overboard,” Grier said. “So keep it simple and original.”

One of the latest trends is naming your child after a place. That’s why London, Paris, and Brooklyn have become so popular. But when Ashlee named her child Bronx or Gwen named her son Zuma, after a beach, I think that is the line most people are talking about being crossed.

Davis’ own daughter is named Hanalei, which is a place in Hawaii and a spin-off from the “Puff the Magic Dragon” theme song. This is no doubt original, as I have never seen it before, but it is reasonable, especially when you take into account that she simply goes by Hana – a rather traditional name – most of the time. This is a good example of being simple and yet original.

A small poll showed that most of the people I know thought Penn was the worst offender by naming his daughter Moxie CrimeFighter. They say Moxie could have sufficed, but that the addition of CrimeFighter ruined it.
So whether now or in the future, try your hardest not to name your child something that will more than likely result in adolescent embarrassment and future name-changing. Just ask yourself, “how would I feel if my name were Pilot Inspektor?” And even if your answer is “not bad,” name your child something less weird.