Celebrity Baby Name Update: Will Nicole Richie's Sparrow Fly?

Filed under: Celeb Kids, Baby Names, Celeb Parents, New In Pop Culture


What makes celebrity baby names strike a nerve? Sometimes they're cutting-edge stylish, like Maddox, Angelina Jolie's litte boy. Sometimes they're offbeat, like Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter named Apple. Once in a long while they're truly eye-popping, like Bronx Mowgli, Ashlee Simpson's son. So what's the secret behind the latest water-cooler sensation, Sparrow?

Sparrow Midnight Madden is the newborn son of reality-TV star Nicole Richie and musician Joel Madden. Sparrow's big sister Harlow was a style maker, widely hailed as one of Hollywood's most fashionably named kids. The name Sparrow, though, is meeting with a much cooler reception.

The problem? Well, it's certainly offbeat. Few of us have ever heard of a person named Sparrow. The real point of contention, though, seems to be that the name sounds feminine.

It's curious that a name you've never heard of can feel too feminine. It's not the sound of Sparrow that does it -- when words like Shadow and Arrow show up as names, they're usually masculine. The issue is the sparrow bird itself. The charming little parts of nature, including flowers and songbirds, are expected to end up in the girls' names column. (Somewhere out there, a macho male sparrow is chirping in resentment as it tears a bug limb from limb.)

In our society, a female with a slightly masculine name is usually considered the height of style. Think of Cameron Diaz and Hayden Panettiere. A male with a slightly feminine name, though, can be an embarrassment. Young Sparrow has run into that double standard.

If you'd like to read more about Sparrow and all the latest famous baby names, take a tour of the new site NameCandy.com. You'll find a daily celebrity name blog, a baby name lookup to see who in Hollywood has chosen your favorite name and, best of all, the second home of me, The Name Lady.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.