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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Baby Naming Issue: Should They Change Their Baby's Name Now That a Celebrity Has Used It?

C. writes:
Ok, here is one for you. We debated for a long time between Penelope and Calliope. [Note from Swistle: And chose Penelope: see post and update.] Given the recent name choice of the kardashian baby, we are seriously considering changing the name to Calliope. We are afraid of the follow on effect with kardashian followers... Are we overreacting?

I would not change it. I had a brief feeling of "Oh no!" when I heard the name of the Kardashian/Disick baby (I'm not expecting any more children, but Penelope is still on my favorites list and I prefer that list to stay safe)---and I found that feeling dissipated within days. If I'd answered this when you sent it, I would have been very conflicted about an answer---but even a week and a half later, I feel clear on it: no need to change. The name still belongs to the world.

It helps even more than you used the name before they did: while no doubt many expectant parents are right this minute reconsidering the name Penelope (either suddenly interested in it or suddenly scrambling for a new name), no one could expect you to change a 6-week-old's name (or, if it happens again with another celebrity, a 2-year-old's, a 6-year-old's, or a 10-year-old's name) just because a celebrity coincidentally used the name.


What does everyone else think? Remember, this is not about whether you'd prefer the name Calliope---the name they'd be changing it to is irrelevant. (If it helps, imagine the other name to be one you like equally as well as Penelope.) The question is only about whether Kourtney Kardashian's baby Penelope should cause an already-born-and-named baby to be renamed the parents' second choice. Let's have a poll over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]


26 comments:

Erin said...

How much of the reconsideration is because it's a Kardashian baby, I wonder? Would the parents be reconsidering if their baby shared a name with, say, Christina Applegate's baby? Or Kate Middleton's? Or Jessica Biel's? Or any other celebrity who seems to be a bit more beloved by the public (or at the very least, who the public is mostly indifferent to)?

Would they be reconsidering if it was a neighbor, or a distant cousin, or a coworker?

If the issue is mainly that it's Kortney Kardashian, I don't think that's reason enough to change the name. If the parents would be conflicted no matter how the name came into the public's (or their immediate) radar, then maybe. I personally still wouldn't, but I can see the argument better.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I would change it unless KK's baby's name wasn't the only reason. If there is also a real feeling of regret over the name choice independent of this issue, then I say go for it.

I also think if they really are considering changing their child's name, NOW is the time to do it. Their baby is young enough that people could deal with the identity change, give it a few months or a year and I think there would be a problem getting people to change over. I've even struggled to have people close to me switch from my nick name to my full name and I made this change when I was 9 years old (I'm now 28)! Good luck to the parents, whatever they choose.

Rachel said...

I'm not sure if it is just that it is KK who used the name- barely even know who she is, myself, but am aware that she is popular enough that it could push Penelope way, way up the charts. Like Mason. However, your daughter is already born and named. I'd leave it that way. I'm reconsidering using the name for future children, but I wouldn't change the name of children I already have because of it.

Jen said...

I voted no don't change it; however, I am left wondering if the only reason is because of the kardashian situation OR if it's really the straw that broke the camel's back. I think it is natural though to have some naming remorse. Even with my 4 year old, I sometimes wish we had picked a different name because his name is pretty popular in our state. If the only reason it's grating it because of the celebrity usage, I wouldn't change it and I think that feeling will fade quickly.

Temerity Jane said...

First of all, Tina Fey named her baby Penelope last August and I heard no such complaints, so it's definitely a Kardashian thing.

SECOND OF ALL, my daughter Penelope's name is... uh, Penelope. And it is growing in popularity, even pre-Kardashian. And I have no problem with that. Penelope will never not be a name I love. It doesn't matter if there are a billion. It's a LOVELY name.

Now, if it does spring up hugely in the years between now (MY Pen is 15 months old) and the time she goes to school, maybe we'll work on choosing a nickname for her, if that's how we feel - or how SHE feels. Like maybe Pinky, or Puck, or Poppy. THINK OF THE OPTIONS!

Also, our second choice was Malcolm, sooooo... no.

Anonymous said...

Go look up the name of the baby of the biggest celebrity who had a baby the year you were born. See if it's anyone you've ever heard of, and even if you have, if you care at all.

Kourtney Kardashian isn't exactly a celebrity with a lot of staying power, and she's neither the first or the last person to name her daughter Penelope. Having your friends and family know that you changed your adorable little girl's name BECAUSE of a celebrity is a lot more embarrassing than having strangers wonder if you might have used a name that you heard in a gossip magazine and liked.

Anonymous said...

http://www.whosdatedwho.com/sections/celebrity-babies/archive/1984

gail said...

Honestly, I had to google Kardashian to learn what all the fuss was about......Don't have cable, don't have a satellite, don't really watch TV shows, am perhaps too old to care! Penelope is a beautiful name, keep it.

JCF said...

I voted no--also, I know two people who have named their babies Penelope in the last six months, and I know a couple of Penelopes who are 4 and 6 years old. The name is just getting more popular as a whole (and for good reason--it is a great name). I would also feel upset/annoyed at a celebrity baby name connection (especially THAT celebrity), but don't let it taint your baby's name for longer than a few minutes!

Anonymous said...

Penelope is an adorable name, and I don't think your little girl will run into any problems in her age-group even if there is a sudden rush of Kardashian-inspired Penelopes. And if you don't want to be associated with a less than inspirational celebrity all you have to tell someone who asks is "Who? Oh yes we've been asked that before, we're not really t.v watchers. And no, our Penelope was born before Penelope Kardashian. We just loved the name." Done and Done!

Annika said...

If we start basing our actions on the actions of the Kardashians, the terrorists have won.

(Which is a flip way of saying, keep the name. Who cares what their baby is called?)

AirLand said...

So are you afraid that Penelope will become too popular or that people will think you were influenced by a Kardashian? Because I think it's already rising in popularity anyway. I mean, it's a nice name.

I can understand not wanting to be associated with anything the Kardashians do. If it were me, that wouldn't be enough though to change my daughter's name. I was extremely surprised that was the name that Kourtney picked (I thought, "Wow, much classier than I expected.") I don't think the name is tarnished at all.

Rita said...

It's not as if Penelope will only be associated with Kardashian from now on. It's a classic name that was well known long before a celebrity baby chose it. If you had an Apple or a Zuma, that might be a problem.

The question is if you are considering the change not because of that association, but rather because you wanted a name that was uncommon and unique, and now Penelope is probably going to explode in popularity, if Baby Kardashian is half as adorable as her brother Mason when she starts appearing on the show. Frankly I think that's a valid reason, especially if you loved Calliope and at the time it was very difficult to pick between the two names.

If that bothers you, don't forget a Penelope could easily the only Polly, Poppy, or Nell in her class.

hillary said...

Don't change it because of the Kardashians. Penelope is on the short list for our October baby and we winced but left it. After all, you named your baby first, Penelope is already on the upswing, and it has a long way to go before it becomes a name in every classroom.

Joanne said...

My husband watches those damned Kardashians enough that I am pretty exposed to it and I wouldn't change it. They are not really celebrities, I wouldn't worry. I couldn't even think of their son's name for a second. Penelope is lovely, I'd keep it.

Carmen said...

My biggest question here is: people love the Kardashians enough that they will name future babies based on what a Kardashian did? If that is true, the world is truly in a sad, sad state.

Anandi Raman Creath said...

Hah, I am totally out of the loop so have no idea about Kardashian baby names. And I'd guess most of my peers don't (geeky engineer types).

I say keep it unless you really, actually don't like it. I know people named Penelope (adults) so it's not like the K's made it up or something.

But I feel your pain.

M.Amanda said...

If you'd used Blue Ivy, then you might consider a change because nearly everyone would assume you were copying Beyonce and Jay-Z. Penelope is common enough that you shouldn't have to worry. However, Penelope is much more common, so you may get a few people who comment on it, but only a handful of die-hard fans in the country would assume you named her to imitate a reality star.

If it helps, I know she already has a little boy, but had to think for nearly 15 minutes what his name is. Ask me in another month what the little girl's name is and I probably will draw a blank.

Anonymous said...

My daughter's name is Penelope and I have to admit when I heard they chose that name I did a little "nooooooooooooooo" to myself.

But no matter who chooses the name I will always love it. And it just fits my girl so perfectly.

I say use whichever name you love more. But don't pick one or the other because of a celebrity's choice.

Anonymous said...

I say if you already liked that name still use it don't change it cause you'll regret it.

Angela said...

I say don't change it. It's a beautiful name and has nothing to do with celebrity.

I feel about repeat names with celebrities as I do about repeat names of people in your circle/family. Unless your name sounds similar to Kardashian or and the kids will be together a lot and get confused, don't worry about it! And just because Kourtney is famous doesn't necessarily mean that her daughter will be. It's a moot point all around to me.

liz said...

I'm sorry, I had assumed that the letter writer was joking. No one would really consider changing their baby's name because a floofy celebrity had named their baby the same thing, would they?

I mean, it's not like you named her James Holmes or Joe Paterno.

Anonymous said...

I named my baby girl Ivy in December, and then Blue Ivy was born a few weeks later. It bothers me vaguely, especially since people weirdly always refer to this child by her first and middle names together, which I haven't seen done with any other celebrity baby, but no one has ever mentioned it except for the few days after Blue Ivy's birth. I'm hoping it's a faded reference by the time my Ivy hits school age.

Jessica said...

I think you're giving Kourtney way too much credit. She's not picking 'Apple'-esque unique names for her kids. Mason was super popular long before she chose it and I don't think she's influencing anything.

Also, I think she's a minor enough celebrity not many people would actually know her kids' names.

Anonymous said...

No I wouldn't change it. Penelope is a classic and people think Penelope Cruz before any celeb baby. Ignore it and if the name climbs in popularity, then so be it, its not the end of the world to have a popular name.

Tara said...

I believe the parents issue here is that the name Penelope may rapidly rise in popularity due to the Kardashian's having a lot of fans, not the fact that her baby shares a name with Kourtney Kardashian's baby.

Looking at the SSA baby name charts, Penelope has been in the top 1000 since 2001 at #946 and has risen in popularity every year. In 2011 it was #169 and 1,847 babies were named Penelope. So it's not all that uncommon anyway.

So yes you would expect there to be a rise in popularity next year, but not just because Kourtney Kardashian used it. That seems to be the trend for the name itself.

I would not change her name, although I do prefer the name Calliope ;-)