In the wake of Chicago West, Life&Style writers Anna Wise and Milly Veitch discuss imaginative baby-naming
First came love, then came marriage, then came a baby with a stupid name…
- North West came along and the world was shook. But after the initial shock, we got used to it, and North West became an icon of our generation.
- Saint West came next and the world cared less. We were more accustomed to the wild ways of Kimmy K and her clan by this point.
- The third Kardashian-West baby is brought into the world, via surrogate, and she goes by the name Chicago West (shortened to Chi, pronounced ‘shy’, as confirmed via Twitter). So, Kim and Kanye’s unconventional choices have got us thinking – are unusual names a gift or a curse? Is Chicago imaginative and unique, or is it plain ridiculous?
Whatever your thoughts on the name, Chicago West cannot be separated from the family into which she is born. With Kim Kardashian as a mother, Kanye West as a father, and North and Saint as her kin, Chicago is not entering the conventional world. Yes, it’s different, and as an ordinary child in a village in England they may struggle with the ramifications of such an unorthodox identity; but who is going to give the offspring of two of the wealthiest and most well-known names on the planet grief for her name? What’s more, there can be no confusion with spelling Chicago, Saint and North, a weight that comes with many unusual names and that people carry throughout their lives.
Naming their children after places is not a new concept for celebrities – Shakira and Gerard Pique named their son Milan; Victoria and David Beckham have a son named Brooklyn; Mariah Carey and her husband chose Moroccan as the name of their son; and Irishman Alex Baldwin suitably chose to name his daughter Ireland. We have also seen a variety of imaginative, off-the-grid celebrity baby names. Apple, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s daughter, was a memorable choice, as was adventurer Bear Gryll’s fittingly named son, Huckleberry. By the time Beyoncé and Jay Z’s baby Blue Ivy came around, we were arguably more than used to this bizarre trend. Jamie Oliver, however, frankly needs to put a lid on his extravagant baby naming. Petal Blossom, Poppy Honey, Buddy Bear, Daisy Boo, River Rocket – need I say any more?
Unusual baby names have certainly not been confined to the celebrity sphere. French courts famously banned a couple from naming their daughter Nutella in 2015, ruling that the name ‘can only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts.’ More recently, a woman voiced her distaste on Mumsnet for a friend who named her baby Chip, a decision which divided opinion on the parenting forum. So why should Nutella be disallowed, but not Apple? Evidently, celebrities live within their own world of acceptability.
There have also been recent studies that suggest unusual names have a negative impact on job applications, with name-bias disproportionately affecting women and non-British ethnicities. Although, I am doubtful that any child of the Kardashians would struggle to find employment in later life.
Ultimately, though, I believe that unusual names are much more of a gift than a curse. They have the power to give a child a unique identity they can embrace throughout their life, and add a touch of eccentricity that can set them apart from the norm. As for Kim & Kanye, I hope they continue to break barriers and dominate headlines with their controversial decisions – and that Wild West will come our way soon.