Jemima - thoughts?

Thoughts on the name [name]Jemima[/name] for a girl?

I like it, I don’t think I’d use it myself though. I love the nn [name]Jem[/name] and [name]Jemima[/name] Puddleduck from the [name]Beatrix[/name] [name]Potter[/name] books. [name]Jemima[/name] [name]Beatrix[/name] would be really cute :slight_smile:

I hope [name]Jemima[/name] will overcome the “Aunt” connotation- it’s a lovely name. [name]Jemma[/name] is a cute nickname, too.

[name]Jemima[/name] [name]Elle[/name]
[name]Jemima[/name] [name]Louise[/name]
[name]Jemima[/name] [name]Frances[/name]
[name]Jemima[/name] [name]Alice[/name]
[name]Jemima[/name] [name]Harriet[/name]
[name]Jemima[/name] [name]Helen[/name]
[name]Jemima[/name] [name]Katherine[/name]
[name]Jemima[/name] [name]Willow[/name]

I love the name [name]Jemima[/name]! It’s sweet and classy and has great nn potential. I also know a lovely [name]Jemima[/name] so the name only has good connotations for me. It’s one worth seriously considering in my opinion.

  • [name]Charlie[/name]

Our friend’s little girl is called [name]Jemima[/name]. Her parents had just emigrated from the far east when we met them and they seemed to have no associations with Aunt [name]Jemima[/name] or even [name]Jemima[/name] Puddleduck (I asked - couldn’t help myself!). We had a private giggle to ourselves at first but got used to it really quickly. It really is such a cute name, and she gets the nn ‘[name]Jemi[/name]’ which is so cute too.

I got her daughter a copy of [name]Jemima[/name] Puddleduck for her 5th birthday and she was delighted.

I would like it if it wasn’t the name of a syrup :frowning:

I was going to share my thoughts on the name, which are tactfully negative, but thought, hey, I’ve already shared my two cents about this name at least twice here and surely they don’t need reiterating. I checked under the name’s main listing, though, and it seems that my comments are nowhere to be found. Have I offended someone? Are they still there and I’m just overlooking them?

The short version: use it if you don’t live in the U.S. If you’re in the U.S., you will get occasional double-takes but it’s not the end of the world.

I think it’s a pretty name but personally I couldn’t get past the Aunt [name]Jemima[/name] thing. Wish the brand didn’t exist and then I think the name would have more possibilities.

I think it would be very pretty except is way to long gone cause of the syrup association (at least here in the states). It has a pretty sound but all i think of it the syrup bottle. In other plays (ie, UK, [name]Scotland[/name], places like such) it would be fine as its not a syrup there. But in the US unfortunatly i feel alot of teasing would happen, as its a very prominate brand. But i guess people like [name]Jack[/name] and theres a pancake brand called Hungry [name]Jack[/name]. But thats not as big as Aunt [name]Jemima[/name]…huh well im rambling now haha:)

Sorry, but to me it’s pure syrup. :slight_smile:

I’m in the syrup camp, too. I can’t even think about the name out of context…wish I could, though. Maybe then I could get some actual feelings toward the name…but right now (to me) it’s like naming your kid Kellogs or Pepsi

I’m having some trouble getting past the syrup thing, too, but I still love the name. I’m glad it’s popular in the UK where there are no such associations. :slight_smile:

The nicknames [name]Jemma[/name], [name]Mia[/name], and [name]Mimi[/name] might help people get past the “Aunt” thing. And if it does manage to get more well known in the US–for example if a very visible celebrity used the name–people will be able to see a lovely girls’ name and not an outdated assocation.

If names like [name]Violet[/name], [name]Jethro[/name], and [name]Paloma[/name] can get popular, why not [name]Jemima[/name]?

Interesting that everyone calls the problem with [name]Jemima[/name] “the syrup thing.” Is this a euphemism or are people really put off by syrup/brand name association rather than the association of the name with an iconic [name]African[/name]-American slave image?

[name]Jemima[/name] is of course a biblical name – she was one of the daughters of [name]Job[/name], along with [name]Keziah[/name] and [name]Keturah[/name] – and was one of many ancient names chosen by slave owners for their slaves because it both showed off their own classical educations and was NOT a name typically used for whites at that time. And so its history in [name]America[/name] is almost totally tied to blacks, along with sister name [name]Keziah[/name] which has morphed into [name]Keisha[/name], [name]Kizzy[/name] etc.

White Americans haven’t used the name because it’s been seen as “too black” and modern black Americans haven’t used it because it’s been tied to an offensive black stereotype.

In [name]Britain[/name], the name is an upper class classic, free of these negative associations.

We love the name and believe that, like other classical names once tied to slavery – [name]Amos[/name], [name]Jethro[/name], [name]Phoebe[/name] – it’s time for this one to be liberated for general use. But “the syrup thing” – whether that’s a euphemism or just a brand name issue – obviously remains a problem. No amount of reassurance and encouragement from us is going to make people not comment on it for a long long time!

[name]Pam[/name] is likely correct that plenty of white Americans have shunned the name [name]Jemima[/name] because they think of it as being “too black,” but without getting into the ignorance of that type of thinking, I’d like to point out that there are other pefectly valid reasons for avoiding the name in light of its history. It is not just “modern black Americans” who should take offense at the history of slavery in this country, the institutionalized and overt racism that has remained embedded in our society to this day, and a corporation that would capitalize on this most reprehensible facet of the nation’s collective consciousness in its marketing campaign; it is all of us who should be offended!
That being said, there is room to debate whether the proper reaction is then to shun a name like [name]Jemima[/name] in protest of the connotations it has taken on or to embrace it in an effort to reclaim and heal the wounds of history and move our society in a new direction. (In fact, this debate would arguably not be unlike similar debates over the use/censorship of other historically derogatory terms directed at minority groups, though [name]Jemima[/name] is perhaps a distinct case because the name does have a history separate and apart from this association).
The thing is, in the end, no matter which side of this debate you come down on, I think you still have to agree that it would be an awkward thing, indeed, to saddle a child with a name that is so closely tied up in this debate. A name is a person’s identity and most people would prefer to allow a child a name that they can make into their own (controversy aside, even if we all agree that [name]Jemima[/name] stands for a reclaiming of history that we all embrace, the name would still be so closely tied with that movement and nothing else as to make its use uncomfortable). In my mind it is the difference between naming your child [name]John[/name] to honor the Beatles (where the name definitely has the significance attached, but also has enough of its own history for the child to make it his own) and naming your child [name]Lennon[/name] (where the name still has the same positive meaning, but suddenly the meaning overshadows everything else about the name as that child’s identity in a way that makes it perhaps not quite fair to the child or not quite the right choice for the parent).
Of course, you could name your child [name]Jemima[/name] without meaning to embrace a reclaiming of the name, you could name your child [name]Jemima[/name] taking any side in this debate whatsoever. You could choose to ignore all the history and all the controversy and decide that it simply sounds nice. Of course, your child still has to go out into the world and introduce herself to people who are fully aware of what you have chosen to ignore, and the outcome is the same.

It is interesting isn’t it!

Being from the UK, the only link I could think of for [name]Jemima[/name] is either biblical or [name]Beatrix[/name] [name]Potter[/name]! and (as somebody pointed out on another thread) I already have a daughter named [name]Tabitha[/name]! so that’s obviously not a problem for me!

I’ve always considered it to be a cute name for a baby but one which will age well too.

I agree with [name]Pam[/name] that alot of white people automatically think its “to black” sounding but only because of the image shown on the bottle of a african american slave. I actually think alot of [name]African[/name] Americans in [name]America[/name] would be offended if there was a white child named [name]Jemima[/name], and i think the child would be subject to more teasing. I think its a very pretty name, but in all honesty when i hear [name]Jemima[/name] i picture the syrup bottle. Unfortunatly i think the name will be stuck with 2 things, 1. [name]Jemima[/name]? Like the syrup? and 2. The very very unfortunate association with [name]America[/name]'s history of slavery.

Hm…I didn’t mean “syrup” as a euphemism for black. Actually, I know this makes me sound a bit backward, but I wasn’t aware of Aunt [name]Jemima[/name] being a racist symbol until I was maybe 14 (I’m 17 now). I am aware of [name]Jemima[/name]'s connotations of slavery, but my more visceral reaction is actually syrup.

Great topic, [name]Pam[/name]! :slight_smile:

I think [name]Jemima[/name] is very pretty, but my issues with the name are threefold:

  1. Although I’m white, I share the “modern black American” viewpoint, because I’m offended by Aunt [name]Jemima[/name]'s racial stereotyping and ties to slavery. I’m not sure if [name]African[/name]-Americans would be offended by [name]Jemima[/name]'s use on caucasian babies in the U.S., but I bet they would be, and in my opinion, rightfully so. Knowing Aunt [name]Jemima[/name]'s history, I honestly cringe when I walk by the syrup in the grocery store.

  2. When I hear “[name]Jemima[/name],” I feel like I’m playing a word association game, and “Aunt” automatically comes to mind. Aunt and [name]Jemima[/name] are as connected to me as [name]Santa[/name] is to [name]Claus[/name] and Scooby is to Doo, and as hard as I try, I can’t separate the two. (Wow! That rhymed! Hang on while I read that again…) :slight_smile:

  3. Because I can’t separate “[name]Jemima[/name]” from “Aunt,” I instantly visualize the syrup bottle when I hear the name.

I think [name]Jemima[/name] is a truly beautiful name with a lovely meaning, and a perfectly fantastic choice for people not living in the U.S… While I hope that [name]Jemima[/name] will someday become fashionable here, in the meantime, I personally still see it as being too connected to racial stereotyping, slavery, and syrup to view it as a viable American name choice. And in the words of [name]Forrest[/name] Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.” :slight_smile:

I wonder if other countries have their own versions of “[name]Jemima[/name]”: a name that’s beautiful, but also very closely connected to products, negative history, or racial/cultural stereotyping.

I’m surprised that Aunt [name]Jemima[/name] Syrup company hasn’t changed its name and its logo. What’s up with that? I would think they would realize that the name and logo make most people unhappy about the past. I don’t even buy that kind of syrup. I buy real maple syrup at Trader [name]Joe[/name]'s and Knotts or Smucker’s fruit syrup.
[name]Jemima[/name] is a pretty name. I hope someday people in the U.S. associate it with a puddleduck rather than syrup, slavery, and racism.
I wonder what the Aunt [name]Jemima[/name] Syrup Company would have to say about this topic? I think I will see if I can ask them…

Okay, I contacted the company and told them about Nameberry and our discussion about [name]Jemima[/name]. Let’s see if they make a comment! Fascinating…