Issues with feminine variant of male name - hurt feelings/name thievery/etc.

I feel a bit silly posting about this because I’m not even pregnant yet, but here goes; I’ll try to give the reader’s digest version.

My husband and I settled on a girl’s name a ways back: [name]Josephine[/name]. It’s not my most favorite name in the universe, but he and I both love it and it’ll be tough to broach the subject again, because for the most part, his taste in names is epically horrible and he’s rather stubborn about it in all its craptastic awfulness.

Pros:
(1) We love it. [name]Both[/name] of our first (trunk) novels had main characters named [name]Josephine[/name]; that’s how much we like it.
(2) It has strong feminist associations, a la [name]Josephine[/name] [name]Butler[/name] and [name]Josephine[/name] [name]Baker[/name].
(3) It sounds particularly good with our last name.
(4) It just feels right, y’know? Like I can picture myself, my sister, his sister, my mother, my grandmother with that name. Few names fit that bill.

Cons:
(1) Our old grad school roommate and BFF is about to have a son named [name]Joseph[/name]. Is this even an issue? I dunno.
(2) [name]Joseph[/name] is the middle name and moniker of my dad’s older brother. I don’t want my dad thinking that I’m naming my daughter after my uncle, particularly as first childs’ naming traditions are strong on that side of my family.
(3) I’m generally not a huge fan of feminine variants of male names. I prefer names that are quintessentially women’s names. I’m not sure why this is but I think it has something to do with feminism.
(4) Um, ya, both of our first novels had main characters with this name. Think about it.

It’s not the end of the world if it’s not usable; our backup is [name]Genevieve[/name] (a name I personally prefer in sound) and my spouse tends to acquiesce to my second favorite girl name category (stately feminine classics with a long history e.g. [name]Evelyn[/name], [name]Margaret[/name], [name]Eleanor[/name]) but not my first (vintage rarities with a touch of whimsy, e.g. [name]Cecily[/name], [name]Rosemary[/name], [name]Meredith[/name]). He does acknowledge that the person going through labor gets the final say, though he really doesn’t like it.

What say you, berries?

Hmm, interesting conundrum. Personally, if my friend had already used a similar name, I wouldn’t use it - my husband’s cousin named her daughter [name]Ilani[/name], which killed [name]Eleni[/name] for me. Just too close in sound. I also tend to agree with you as far as feminizations go, although I think [name]Josephine[/name] is established enough in its own right.

This basically comes down to how much each of these issues will bother you - and/or your father and your friend. [name]Genevieve[/name] is a lovely name, and if your husband’s amenable to the change, then maybe it’s best in the long run.

Edited to say, I lol’ed at “craptastic awfulness” - just wanted to let you know that. My husband’s taste in names is equally abysmal.

I actually prefer [name]Margaret[/name], [name]Evelyn[/name], and [name]Eleanor[/name]! You both may change your mind when you are expecting. I found that to be true with me and my husband. I say just have an open mind!

Yeah, this doesn’t bother me at all; in fact, I find it kind of sweet. (As long as it’s not a very common name sound, e.g. “el” in a girl’s name or “-en” at the end of a boy’s name. So in your case I would be bothered, but not in mine.) I just don’t want to steal my good friend’s thunder, though (1) it takes a category 4 hurricane to ruffle this girl’s feathers, and (2) she and her husband have an arrangement where he picks boy names and she picks girl names, so this isn’t even her choice, thus I doubt it’d be a big deal regardless. And she’s never put any emphasis on being unique. Yeah, now that I think on it, she wouldn’t give a rat’s ass.

My dad, on the other hand, gets his feelings hurt easily. sigh

I also tend to agree with you as far as feminizations go, although I think [name]Josephine[/name] is established enough in its own right.

And the super-awesome feminist icons that carry it are what makes the name for me, TBH.

[name]Genevieve[/name] is a lovely name, and if your husband’s amenable to the change, then maybe it’s best in the long run.

It’s the name I love best in sound(except maybe [name]Meredith[/name]), but without all the cool associations. The best “reason” I can give for it is that I love [name]Genevieve[/name] Bujold, the actress. [name]Kinda[/name] weak, no?

Edited to say, I lol’ed at “craptastic awfulness” - just wanted to let you know that. My husband’s taste in names is equally abysmal.

Ha, thanks! My husband proposes all these absurdly infantile names. They’re really unfit to be mentioned in polite company [name]IMO[/name], but any name you can think of - masculine or feminine - that you absolutely cannot picture on a CPA, a dentist, an electrician, or any grown-ass adult regardless of vocation? He loves it. The only way I can get him to like names that fairly suit grown-ups is to mention the most childish diminutive I can think of first. (He suggested [name]Josie[/name] and [name]Fifi[/name] before I zeroed in on [name]Josephine[/name].)

You may be right, but I’m not sure I want an open mind. I’m a little scared of what progesterone may do to my brain (dare I say that it may make me more agreeable and acquiescent? [name]Heaven[/name] forbid), and right now I (unlike my husband) picture my future potential children as twenty-somethings plus, not as interminable toddlers. So I feel like I should make decisions now, even if they are in private.

I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t go with [name]Josephine[/name]. The cons are barely “cons” at all. As far as the naming-after Dad’s older brother thing (personally, this is why we refuse to name our child after any relative, living or dead), it doesn’t seem a big deal. Simply say something like, “We didn’t intend to name her after anyone, but isn’t it ironic that’s the name we chose?” You never have to admit to NOT naming her after anyone in a way that doesn’t mean hurt feelings to any family member.

And as far as her name being the same as the heroine’s name in both your novels, I think that’s hilarious and fantastic. What a great story! Several names on our list are names I used in my novel. I used them because I loved them AND as a bonus, they fit the characters. [name]Will[/name] someone comment if we have a girl named [name]Annette[/name] [name]Charlotte[/name] because they realize those are two names of major characters in my novel? Probably. I think it’s a fun story to tell. Gives a depth to the reason behind the name that’s not ‘Oh, she’s named after Husband’s great-great-great adopted aunt once removed.’

However, if you feel that there’s too much potential conflict, [name]Genevieve[/name] is a fabulous name and you can’t go wrong with it. (Personally, I prefer it to [name]Josephine[/name].)

Fwiw, I think [name]Genevieve[/name] is lovely and seems to avoid all the cons, so I’d lean that direction. But I think you could go either way. [name]Just[/name] depends on how much these cons are going to eat away at you for [name]Josephine[/name]. That said… well, like a pp stated, you may feel very differently once you’re expecting. My dh and I had a girl name all picked out. It’s a great name, it had meaning, it encompassed both of our cultural heritages. I couldn’t believe we agreed on it due to our different styles, etc. But once I became pregnant, it didn’t feel right to me, and I noticed it didn’t feel right to him either. It just wasn’t “the name” for this particular little one. Same thing happened with our boy name now that I think about it. I am amazed at how many other names I am open to after being so “married” to the other name too. So don’t stress too much right now, especially if your husband does seem to be okay with your “second tier” of naming style.

I quite like [name]Josephine[/name]. I don’t find any of the cons that big of a deal. [name]Joseph[/name] is a really common male name, so its inevitable that you would end up knowing someone who has a son named [name]Joseph[/name] or even the middle name of [name]Joseph[/name]. If it was a more unusual name like say, [name]Lazarus[/name] and you named your daughter Lazara, then I would reconsider.