by Mark Snyder, Gatehouse Media Columnist
Celebrities influence all avenues of
society. They have a bearing on the clothes we wear, the shoes we walk on, the
channels we watch. Whether you live in Carver or Canton, Weymouth or
Whitman, you follow the latest goings on of TomKat (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes,
if you just woke up from a long sleep), Brangelina (Brad Pitt and Angelina
Jolie) or Bennifer (Ben Afflick and Jennifer Garner). How much do celebrities
influence the way we name our children? Jennifer Moss, the founder and CEO of
BabyNames.com, says, "Celebrity culture always has an influence on naming
trends, but it seems like it has increased in recent years."
Moss says the name Ava started becoming popular after celebrity couple Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe chose the name for their daughter in 1999. Other celebrity parents who chose the name Ava include X-Man Hugh Jackman and TV star Heather Locklear. But if you think the Federlines (former spouses Britney Spears and Kevin Federline) were the first celebrity couple to go with the name Jayden, you are mistaken. Jaden (and its various spellings) first started appearing on BabyNames.com lists after Will Smith and Jada Pinkett chose the name for their son back in 1998.
"It usually takes 3-4 years for a new name to make it from the celebrities to the masses," says Moss, "and that's only if the names are not too wild." So Apple (Gwynith Paltrow), Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee’s son) and Fifi Trixibelle (musician Sir Bob Geldorf) will
probably not be topping the charts anytime soon, but keep an eye out for Suri [Cruise] and Shiloh [Jolie-Pitt] to appear in the forthcoming years.
When I was a kid, Mark, John, Frank, Bob, Mike, and Jeff were among the top boys names. Mary, Beth, Elizabeth, Joyce, Cindy, Pamela, and Linda were among the most predominant names. What are the most popular today? According to Moss, the most popular boys names are Aiden (and its variations), Caden, Brayden, Ethan, Jaden, Conner, Addison, Riley, Caleb, Logan, Hayden, Dylan, Noah, Avery, Jacob, Ryan, Cameron, Alexander, Aaron and Tristan. For the girls top twenty, Ava tops the list, followed by Abigail, Cailyn, Madison, Emma, Isabella, Bailey, Chloe, Olivia, Hannah, Isabel, Grace, Ella, Abby, Cadence, Taylor, Alexis, Paige, Hailey and Emily.
When I put out a feeler online for locals to share their children’s names, quite a few people responded. Julie, a mother of two in Bridgewater, named her oldest Noah (“I always loved that biblical story”) and her youngest Dylan (“He was my favorite singer growing up.”) Trish from Canton writes, “My Son's name is Aryn (pronounced like Aaron). I am of Irish and Italian decent, and my ex-husband is Indian. We chose the name simply because we like how it sounded, and for cultural reasons. The Indian family would think it was Indian like Arun, and my family thinks it's Irish like the Aryn Island's.”
For Jim from Weymouth, when his dark-haired daughter was born, he came up with the name on the spot. “We named her Alexis. I admit I was addicted to Dynasty on TV, and we named her after Joan Collins’ character.”
Interestingly, according to the Social Security Administration, the most popular names in Greater Boston are much more traditional than those in the rest of the country. The SSA says the most popular names in our area for boys are Matthew, Michael, Nicholas, Ryan and John. For girls, it’s Emily, Olivia, Emma, Sarah and Abigail.
Of the dozen couples I spoke with, the majority “decided together” on their children’s names. Many had selected them before they were actually born. How did you name your children? What names did you choose? Send me an email for a future follow-up column. In the words of Jim Croce, “I’ve got a name and I carry it with me like my daddy did;
but I’m living the dream that he kept hid.”
(Mark Snyder is CEO of PMPNetwork.com, the internet’s entertainment superstation. His radio feature, The Entertainment Minute, is heard on WMJX-FM/ Magic106.7 FM, WROR-FM 105.7 and WBOS-FM 92.9. Mark can be reached by fax at 781-344-7207, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org: <mailto:email@example.com> .)
(c) 2007 by snydersstoughton.com
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