Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Popularity of Being Unpopular

Who saw the news that Kourtney Kardashian had her baby girl?  And named her Penelope Scotland Disick.  I was intrigued, per usual, by the name choice.  The middle name choice was a hit in my book.  Ireland is a common enough name that Scotland didn't feel crazy.  And, I read, that it was chosen as a tribute to Penelope's dad, Scott.  Cute.  The choice of Penelope was also a winner for me.  I like the name and it feeds into a theory of mine about the popularity of unpopular names.  Though the popularity of Penelope has been on the rise for about a decade, it barely made the Top 200 most popular names of 2011.  Meaning, while Penelope may be a great name choice for the new Kardashian lady, it's not a popular name choice.

OK Magazine is already all over the Penelope Scotland news...okay, not really.
This cover was back from the gender announcement.
I wonder which tabloid will be the first to print photos.

Nowadays, parents prioritize uniqueness over all other factors (i.e. possible nicknames, family names, etc.) in their search for the perfect baby name.  This naming trend has presented itself in two ways: old school names and non-name names.  Old school names are suddenly (and fiercely) in vogue.  By old school, I mean turn-of-the-century school - names that were popular between 1880 and 1920.  Non-name names have been trending for a while now.  These are names that were not traditionally thought of or used as names.  This category includes last names that are being used as first names (Harper) and nouns that are being used as names (Sky).

With so many people jumping on this uniqueness bandwagon, unusual names are becoming not so unusual.  Everybody's doing it.  What's interesting about this trend is that it's not necessarily resulting in all babies sharing the same handful of names.  In five years, I don't think every kindergarten class is going to have a dozen girls named Penelope, but I do think that Penelope isn't going to be a radically unique name amongst her classmates.  There won't be three Jennifers, two Samanthas, four Michaels and one unique Penelope.  Everyone will have different names, all equally unique.  Penelope will fit right in with her friends Viola, Sullivan and Cash.

What do you think - is/was uniqueness important in your name choosing process?  how did you find a unique name?  did your name choice end up being unique after all?

1 comment:

Whitney M. said...

I don't have any kids yet but I have a list of names already collecting and I think that uniqueness does play into it but if its a name I really love I tend not to care to much how popular it is (ex. Liam.) But I also stalk the baby names blog on The Bump and I see a lot of parents that are digging up the old names that are a blast from the past and also people using the non-names. People on the board will be honest though if a poster picks a name they think is old and unique but isn't. "I see this on the board all the time now." "Its becoming too popular now." Popularity is not looked highly upon.