I’ll admit it’s not the most conventional name for a girl (to put it mildly), but what’s with everyone flipping out over Jessica Simpson naming her daughter Maxwell Drew? This is 2012, after all, not 1956. What’s the big deal with a girl having a “boy’s” name? Absolutely nothing, if you ask me. It’s a lovely name!
First of all, they plan to call their little girl Maxi, which is adorable. (Please, don’t start with the whole “Maxi, as in maxi pad?” bit.) Second, the name actually has meaning to Simpson and fiance/baby daddy Eric Johnson: Maxwell is Johnson’s middle name, and Drew is the maiden name of Simpson’s mom, Tina Simpson. (Choosing a name with personal meaning – and family connection– is huge right now.)
This all reminds me of a friend who in 2006 named her daughter Davis after her mother’s maiden name. Loved it then and love it now. But many people feel differently. When we first posted the news of Maxwell’s birth, Mommyish readers were quick to point out, “Her whole name is meant for a boy” and “[Are you] sure it’s a girl?” Commenters all over the place echoed these sentiments, which I find shocking.
I spoke with Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry.com to get her take on the name, and she’s not all that surprised by the negative reaction.
“Using boys’ names for girls – as opposed to androgynous names such as Taylor or Jordan – is one of the modern baby naming practices that still incites a lot of negativity,” she said. “A lot of people feel that too many names have ‘crossed over’ from the boys’ to the girls’ side, and that once girls start using male names, they’ll be ‘lost’ for boys forever.”
Satran reminded me that people still get outraged by name choices, especially when celebrities are involved (which I kind of find hilarious). Speaking of which, three celebs in the past month alone have gone with old-school names for their little bundles – almost the polar opposite of Simpson’s approach. There’s Bruce Willis, who chose the name Mabel for his baby girl, followed by Jack Osbourne and his little girl Pearl, and finally Maggie Gyllenhaal, who on Monday gave birth to a girl named Gloria.
“Jessica Simpson definitely has her own style – or some might say, anti-style,” said Satran. “I’m a bigger fan of Pearl and Mabel and even Gloria than I am of Maxwell for a girl. The best choice is one that is distinctive without inviting ridicule.” Satran thinks that Drew would have been a better choice as a first name, but she gets that maybe Simpson didn’t want to sounds like a “Drew Barrymore fanatic.” (Good point!)
I, for one, think it’s sweet (this coming from the person that had the name Max chosen for my child’s middle name regardless of gender). Either way, little Maxi is already getting a shitload of attention, way up there with the likes of Blue Ivy – not surprisingly, both were trending on twitter on the day they were born.
As usual, it’ll be interesting to see if any more Drews or Maxwells/Maxis pop up in the next while. Despite all the negativity, sometimes tells me yes.