Sunday, May 22, 2011

Random Thoughts: "Maci" and "Bentley"

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

How do people come up with baby names? They look at books, of course. They figure out meanings and look for names that sound nice next to one another. They choose to repeat family names out of respect or remembrance. They create new names based on words and blends and special places. And, of course, they utilize names that are currently popular.

It should come as no surprise that Jacob and Isabella are pretty popular, since Twilight has been sweeping various areas of pop culture in recent years (though "Jacob" has been extremely popular for more than ten years now). But, it was announced last week that the names with the highest trending (meaning that they've grown by the greatest margin) are Maci for girls and Bentley for boys. [Complete data available here] Now, Maci (or Macy) is a name that's been around a long time, though I've never met a Macy. A girl I went to school with named her baby Macy a few months ago, and that's my only personal familiarity with the name. Similarly, I've never met or personally known a Bentley, though it certainly has the feel of trendy names these days. And, it's memorable. My husband doesn't watch Teen Mom, but when I have it on, he knows it as "The Bentley Show."

Now, of course you can argue that the popularity of the names and the popularity of the show are not related. I mean, Jacob was popular before Twi-hards had babies. Similarly, Isabella has both royal and godly ties. But, at the same time, Bentley didn't even make the Top 1,000 Names in the country before 2007, and Maci's first appearance on MTV wasn't until the summer of 2009 (though Bentley was born in October 2008).

So I leave you to ponder... of all the names on all the television shows... why do you think Maci and Bentley rose to popularity?
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