How often have we had a favourite baby name, only to find it taken over by some famous celebrity, song, movie or TV character. I always loved the name Paris – but as Paris Hilton hit the headlines, I realised that if I ever had a child, that name was no longer an option. Recently the questions “What name(s) has pop culture ruined for you? Are there any you would still use, despite pop culture reference(s)?” were put forward on Reddit. And the response was overwhelming with certain names coming up over and over again.
The movie Twilight proved problematic for many Reddit readers. Being such a hugely popular film, the names have become household words and therefore unusable. “I always thought I’d have kids called Edward and Isobel,” said one. “I don’t hate the books perse, but the names just weren’t going to work any more.”
“Twilight ruined “Cullen” for me,” said another. “It’s my dad’s name, and I have ALWAYS loved it and wanted to do it as an honor name in the middle… until Twilight happened and made it weird. Even if it may become less associated way in the future (who knows), I wasn’t able to bring myself to do it.”
And finally another disappointed parent made the comment, “Esme because of Twilight. Was my top name for kid #2 and everyone said “oh like twilight?””
The Harry Potter movies having been conjuring up some terrific names over the years, but are these now ruined for parents of a certain generation?
“Hermione is such a pretty name but I think you’d always been reminded of Harry Potter,” said one. “Until all the millennials die out at least.”
“My mum nearly called me Hermione,” said another. “I’m 30, so truly the “Harry Potter age”. I’m also kind of nerdy/bookish so it would have been extra awful!”
On the other hand, Harry has always been a common and much appreciated name, and will never go out of style. As one person commented, “In the UK I don’t think Harry has been ruined with the Potter association. It’s been so popular for so long that it really transcends any cultural reference. Harry Potter’s aunt even comments in the book that Harry is a common name!”
However the name Minerva was ruined for one parent and the name Lucius, understandably, for another. “I love the name Lucius,” they said. “But my husband hates it because it’s an “evil name”….essentially he can’t disassociate it from Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter series.”
With the success of Disney’s movie Frozen, comes the popularity (or lack thereof) of the names of the two leads, Elsa and Anna (pronounced Ah-na). Many contributors to this post felt that the name Elsa, in particular, has now gone. “It’s a beautiful name but I think for at least a few decades everyone will automatically associate it with Frozen, myself included,” said one.
“Elsa… a tragedy,” commented another. “And don’t get me wrong, I love the Frozen movies and Elsa as a character, but if I named a baby Elsa, everyone would constantly joke about it or ask if she was named for the character.”
However, others hope it might one day still be a possibility. “I love Elsa!!” said one. “I’m hoping it loses the connection with the movie over time, but I was part of the target demographic at the time of release, and I love Disney movies so everyone would think I named a daughter after that, even though I love it separately.” While another person simply reported that their neighbour had twins “named Elsa and Ana!”
The list goes on with names ruined by songs, such as Eileen (Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners) and Jude (Hey Jude by The Beetles). Even TV characters such Mallory from 80s sitcom Family Ties and Ross from the ever popular Friends. But at the end of the day, if you want a name, you just have make it your own – or rather make your baby’s. One of my daughters is called Phoebe – a name that definitely a member of the “Friends” gang but I never thought about it at the time. Now with the Friends revival, my nine-year-old is delighted to share her name with such a funny and popular character.
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