The Name Series
Commonly, we bestow children with names that we feel are, and will continue to be, affirmative in some way, whether because the name signifies an admired relative or historical figure, or a character trait we consider positive. Other times, children are named unconventionally to signify individualism or a break in oppressive Western traditions. Further investigation into the history and contemporary practices of naming in the United States led me to believe that there is a link between how makes and females are named here and how we value each gender.
In order to pursue this as a structured and constant aesthestic, I looked at the 2004 Social Security database for the top 100 male and female names in the United States. Using name databases and etymology resources, I researched the names to find their origins and then placed them into categories determined from these histories. I found distinct differences among not only the origins and histories of male and female names, but a also in the variations and fluctuations of names, or how often names come in and out of fashion. Essentially, the same most popular male names have remained at the top of lists for decades, while female names consistently fluctuate. This trend is not surprising, considering males tend much more often to be names after family members, Biblical or historical figures.