Worst Baby Name Trends of the Decade

Filed under: Baby Names, Opinions

Here at Name Lady Central we see names of all stripes, from the common and conservative to the wild and woolly.

Most of them, even the woolliest, are chosen with love by well-meaning moms and dads. But a few name trends from the past decade have crossed the line. Here are the Name Lady's picks for the worst name trends of the decade:

Selling Your Baby's Name To The Highest Bidder
Did you hear about the expectant parents who put naming rights to their new baby up for auction on eBay? In fact, you've had plenty of chances to hear that since the year 2000. In the sell-from-home decade, several families have seen baby naming as an opportunity to pick up some quick cash. This year, one determined Arkansas mom re-listed her unborn son's name auction five times. Her goal (unmet) was $20,000 to help pay the household bills.

Some of the eBay parents have seemed genuinely desperate, while others may have just been out for attention. Before you write them all off, consider one thing they had in common: They were trying to sell a name that belonged to somebody else, not their own. That makes them fitting emblems for a decade when more and more parents started treating baby names as creative fashion accessories.

Giving Your Baby A Corporate Trademark Name
There's a natural overlap between product names and baby names. Parents may be attracted to a name like Sienna for a girl for the same reasons that Toyota was attracted to it for a minivan. But since the '90s, the brand naming of babies has reached new heights. Labels like Nautica, Lexus and Armani have joined the ranks of America's top 1,000 names, and almost no popular brand seems off limits. At last count, four American boys sported the name ESPN.

The U.S. doesn't regulate baby names, but the more we bestow corporate trademarks on children, the closer we come to a brave new world of naming law. What does it mean when a corporation owns the rights to your name? What will happen to little ESPN if he wants to be a sportswriter, or to Nautica if she tries to design clothes?

Using Names As An Excuse To Make Fun Of People

Name insults are as old as schoolyard taunts. In this decade, though, adults have elevated baby name bashing to the level of blood sport. Whenever a new celebrity baby is born, the world waits with bated breath to tear the name to shreds. (In reality, most celebrity babies have perfectly normal names -- Henry and Ava are favorites -- but what fun is that?)

The most toxic name bashing uses names, real or invented, as a sly way to make fun of whole segments of our society. For example, one of the hottest Internet stories of recent years is the dubious tale of the girl named Le-a, pronounced Ledasha because "the dash don't be silent." The most common version of that story concludes with the commentary, "And we let these people vote."

Making Your Baby's Name A Tool To Advance Your Agenda
In December 2008, the Campbell family of New Jersey made international headlines when a supermarket bakery refused to write their young son's name in icing on a birthday cake. The rejected name: Adolf Hitler.

The parents expressed shock and dismay at the store's decision, but it soon became clear that they knew the score. The supermarket had rejected the Campbells' requests before, and they had pointedly insisted on both first and middle names on the cake, not just Adolf. In short, the parents had set up a media event, using their child's name as bait. Their whole Nazi-named brood and swastika-filled living room were soon being beamed to news outlets across the globe. How long before more zealots of every stripe follow suit, naming their children as living billboards?

Here's wishing us all a new decade of loving, well-chosen names.

What are the worst naming trends you've seen? Share your experiences! And if you have your own question to Ask the Name Lady, drop her a line!

Related: Most Stylish Baby Bumps, More From The Name Lady

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