Margo, Jemima, Beatrix and Odessa

Curious about your thoughts on all of these separately and together. I really love them as sisters and I really love them all individually…

I’m in the US, so Aunt [name]Jemima[/name] is an issue. Think people would get over it if they knew an actually little [name]Jemima[/name]? My husband likes it MORE because of the syrup, haha. It’s just such a great name. Has pretty much everything I like in a name, and I love the nicknames! [name]Jem[/name], [name]Jemma[/name], [name]Mimi[/name] (even [name]Dove[/name]!).

Yes, sadly I will always associate [name]Jemima[/name] with the syrup. [name]Love[/name] [name]Beatrix[/name] and [name]Margo[/name]! [name]Odessa[/name] I’m not sure…cool though!

The name [name]Jemima[/name] is growing on me and I am from the US. In fact, I’m starting to reeeally like it. Unfortunately though I’ve lived in Germany and have hung out with ex-pats from [name]England[/name] for the past six years, and I think that has influenced things…

[name]Odessa[/name] makes me think of the city in the Ukraine, and that is the only association I have with it. Sorry!

I do love [name]Beatrix[/name] and [name]Margo[/name]; they have style. I also like the spellings [name]Margot[/name] and [name]Margaux[/name].

I don’t think I would use them all together in any case. [name]Odessa[/name] in particular seems to have a totally different style. The other three, perhaps.


The Aunt [name]Jemima[/name] issue doesn’t only relate to syrup, you know. [name]Just[/name] to clarify - and I’m getting this from Wikipedia, so you can go check it out too - the term “Aunt [name]Jemima[/name]” is sometimes used colloquially as a female version of the derogatory label “Uncle [name]Tom[/name].” In this context, the slang term “Aunt [name]Jemima[/name]” falls within the “Mammy archetype,” and refers to a friendly black woman who is perceived as obsequiously servile or acting in, or protective of, the interest of whites. Today, the terms “[name]Beulah[/name]” and “Aunt [name]Jemima[/name]” are regarded as more or less interchangeable as terms of disparagement in popular discourse.

So, even though I love the nickname [name]Jem[/name] for a girl, even though I fell in love with it while reading ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ I just can’t really recommend someone in [name]America[/name] using the name [name]Jemima[/name] as a first name. It might be okay as a middle name (e.g., [name]Margo[/name] [name]Jemima[/name] [name]Jane[/name]), and it does have a great sound, but it honestly has a very derogatory image for me. Oh, and with [name]Beatrix[/name], it makes me think of [name]Jemima[/name] Puddle-Duck.

I agree with the previous poster that [name]Odessa[/name] reminds me of the city in the Ukraine, and thus it feels very out of place in this sibling set. It has a much more exotic, Eastern European flavor than your other, more English, names.

However, I love [name]Beatrix[/name], and I’m really starting to fall for [name]Margot[/name], too! They work well together, and neither one is remarkably popular, so they still sound fresh and exciting when used today. I really think those two are perfect together. I could see these more with sisters called [name]Clementine[/name], [name]Penelope[/name], [name]Adelaide[/name], [name]Gwendolen[/name], [name]Cecily[/name], or [name]Violet[/name], I think…

[name]Lemon[/name] :slight_smile:

If I wasn’t in the US I would use [name]Jemima[/name] because it is a lovely name, but unfortunately that’s where I live, and it’s where I’ll stay, so it’s attached to that offensive syrup. I’m really almost surprised it still exists. It really is extremely racist and distasteful. So [name]Jemima[/name] is off limits to me. I have the same feelings about [name]Mamie[/name] because it makes me think of Mammy. Which is unfortunate because in other circumstances I would find that cute too.

I don’t really like [name]Odessa[/name]. It just makes me think of the Ukrainian city. It also gives a Swan [name]Lake[/name] feel to me, probably because it’s similar to [name]Odette[/name]. I’ve never cared for ballet, so that’s not an association I like.

I love [name]Beatrix[/name].

I also love [name]Margo[/name], but I dislike that spelling so much. [name]Margot[/name] is so much nicer even if it’s initially confusing because English doesn’t have many silent t’s. [name]Margo[/name] looks so harsh and masculine. It also makes me think of Escargo while [name]Margot[/name] does not. For me [name]Margot[/name] is a name for a woman and [name]Margo[/name] is a name for a snail. Also I prefer traditional spellings without exception.

I have to agree with [name]Lemon[/name]-- when I see the name [name]Jemima[/name], I immediately think of the mammy stereotype, not only the syrup association. This is a really negative attachment to the name, to me.

I like [name]Margo[/name], but spelled [name]Margaux[/name]. However, it’s a little lacking in luster for me. [name]Beatrix[/name], on the other hand, is extremely lovely and offers a plethora of nicknames. I haven’t thought of [name]Odessa[/name] as a name, only as a city. It reminds me of [name]Odette[/name]. The nickname [name]Odie[/name] doesn’t seem too pleasant though.

I really like [name]Jemima[/name]-- I think living in the UK for awhile and knowing a really nice girl by that name helped me get over the Aunt [name]Jemima[/name] association. However, I personally still wouldn’t use it in the US because most other people would have that association. I didn’t know there was such a strong racist stereotype linked to Aunt [name]Jemima[/name], but after reading [name]Lemon[/name]'s post, I too am somewhat surprised the syrup hasn’t been forced to change its name!

[name]Even[/name] though I’m in the [name]Beatrice[/name] camp, I still really like [name]Beatrix[/name]. I wouldn’t use it with [name]Jemima[/name] because of [name]Jemima[/name] Puddleduck, as [name]Lemon[/name] said. I also like [name]Margo[/name] a lot, and that is my favorite spelling. [name]Margot[/name] is nice too, but I dislike Margeaux-- a few too many unnecessary letters! (sorry if that’s offensive toward the French language!)

[name]Odessa[/name] reminds me of the city in the Ukraine, too. I’m not crazy about it with the other names, though it does have a pretty sound to it :slight_smile: But [name]Beatrix[/name] and [name]Margo[/name] are my favorites. Let’s hope [name]Jemima[/name] can overcome its ties with syrup and racism one of these days!

I am so sad to hear over and over again that [name]Jemima[/name] is unusable in the U.S. due to the reasons already expressed.

I think that so much water has gone under the bridge since those times that this ongoing attitude towards the beautiful name [name]Jemima[/name] should be dead and buried.

As the U.S. is the most powerful country in the world it boggles my mind that a whole nation can be held back from using a perfectly beautiful name due to negative attitudes from a bygone era.

If you love the name [name]Jemima[/name] then be proud enough to use it for your child in this era and start a new consciousness of the name.

PS I love the sibset of [name]Margo[/name], [name]Jemima[/name], [name]Beatrix[/name] and [name]Odessa[/name]
PS2 Hopefully wherever you live you will be able to support my thoughts and that they won’t cause any kind of angst or negativity.

Oops, [name]Lyndsay[/name], I realized I spelled the name [name]Margot[/name] in my post! I love [name]Margo[/name]! I like [name]Margot[/name]. I even sometimes like [name]Margaux[/name]. But, alas, I think I like [name]Margo[/name] most for you! :slight_smile:


PS [name]Rollo[/name], I’ve forgotten where you live - Australia, perhaps? I don’t really want to drag this on, and [name]Lyndsay[/name], ultimately the decision on whether or not to use [name]Jemima[/name] for a future daughter rests with you, but I feel it would be wrong of me not to point out that [name]Jemima[/name] as a racist image is still very much alive and well in the United States. I wish it weren’t so - believe me, I do - but the truth of the matter is, as much as [name]America[/name] likes to think of itself as all-powerful and progressive, in some areas we are just as behind as we were centuries ago. In many parts of the country, racism is still prominent, though perhaps we do a better job of hiding it now. I know [name]Lyndsay[/name] lives in [name]California[/name], and perhaps she does live in a more progressive, accepting, and forward-thinking community, but around the country, ‘Aunt [name]Jemima[/name]’ is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, a degrading, dehumanizing, and altogether racist image. Please see the following links, both quite recent, for further proof:


Escargot is actually spelled with the silent t on the end. Wanted to point that out. I think it’s a great name regardless of which spelling you choose! The french versions with the “extra” letters are lovely in my eyes. But in [name]Canada[/name] most of us learn a little bit of French in grade school, so the liklihood of us getting the pronunciation wrong is lower.

Isn’t it kind of racist to not use [name]Jemima[/name] because of the associations?

I think that’s a really great point, actually. Doesn’t it have to be brought back someday? I mean it’s a beautiful name with a great meaning and history. An entire country is forbidden to ever use it again? That seems absurd to me, how long are we supposed to wait until it’s acceptable? Where I live racism is not an issue. I mean it’s not something I grew up around at all, I never knew about the racist issues with [name]Jemima[/name] until a couple years ago. We most likely will be living in Pennsylvania soon, but, at least in our area there, racism is not an issue. We are seriously like the least racist people, so I feel like if anyone can pull it off, it’s us. It is very unlikely that we’ll ever live somewhere where that would be a major problem (we talk about moving to San [name]Francisco[/name] or New [name]York[/name]… Probably won’t happen but both of those places would probably be fine with it anyway). I honestly think that once people got to know a little girl named [name]Jemima[/name] they would be able to see it in a different light. I think I’m really more worried about playground teasing on this one, actually. I feel like there would be constant “Hey Aunt [name]Jemima[/name], make me some pancakes” teasing or something like that. I like to think that I would raise her to be able to stand up to that so it wouldn’t contuine to happen, but it’s really impossible to know that. Anyway, I have [name]PLENTY[/name] of time to mull it over!

I’m kind of surprised about the opinions on [name]Odessa[/name]. I find it so very cute. I would use [name]Dessa[/name], Dess and [name]Desi[/name] as nicknames. However, I somehow missed until today that one of it’s meanings is “an angry woman” and i just cannot do that. The meaning of [name]Jemima[/name] is “our little dove”, [name]Beatrix[/name] is “she who brings happiness” and [name]Margo[/name] is “pearl (or daisy)”. I love all those meanings and I just couldn’t throw an angry woman into the mix!

[name]Chris[/name] thinks he prefers [name]Marguerite[/name] nn [name]Margo[/name]. What are your thoughts? I love the royal style of [name]Marguerite[/name]. I suppose I could just use it and have her go by [name]Margo[/name], right? Also, he wants the initials MJ (yes, because of spider man, lol)… [name]Marguerite[/name] [name]Jemima[/name]? [name]Margo[/name] [name]Jemima[/name]? Think that could work?

Oooh, I love [name]Margo[/name] [name]Jemima[/name]!! [name]Marguerite[/name] is pretty, but I think [name]Marguerite[/name] [name]Jemima[/name] might be a little too much name? [name]Margo[/name] [name]Jemima[/name] is more streamlined but still has a whole lot of personality. In general, I prefer [name]Margo[/name] and don’t think needs to be a nn for a longer name, but [name]Marguerite[/name] is nice.

I agree with you that [name]Jemima[/name] needs to get over its past sometime, so why not start now? I guess my reaction would be “but not on my kid!” And I extended that to you, but it sounds like you may not have the same hang-ups about it. It’s not like I encounter racism in my daily life, but I would just hesitate to use a name that some people may associate with oppression and racism. You’re fortunate to live in a diverse and progressive area, so it may not be a problem for you at all. I agree that you’d be more likely to get playground teasing about pancakes, which really isn’t a huge deal in the scheme of things. But I think [name]Jemima[/name] as a middle name is a fantastic way to start. If people start using it here and there, even as a middle name, hopefully this lovely name can become more accepted!

I live in the South US, I’m Southern all the way, & I love the name [name]Jemima[/name]! If nobody ever uses [name]Jemima[/name] then how are people going to get over the stereotype? I love the ending of [name]Job[/name] in the Bible & I’d love to use [name]Jemima[/name] just for that!! It also has a great meaning! I’m still a teenager so I have lots of time to work up the nerve to use [name]Jemima[/name], but it’s a name I can actually see myself using! I guess what I’m trying to say is if you really love the name than go for it! Soon everyone that knows your little [name]Jemima[/name] will just think of her when they hear the name!

I’d love to meet a [name]Margo[/name] or [name]Beatrix[/name], but I personally wouldn’t use them.
I’ve met an [name]Odessa[/name] & really grew to love the name because of her!

[name]Hope[/name] that helps! :slight_smile:

So, just wanted to chime in to the [name]Jemima[/name] discussion. This has been a name on my long list of favorites for a very long time. I’m fully aware of the former stereotypes associated with the name, but I’m with you ([name]Lyndsay[/name]) that the only way to move forward is to start using the name again. I grew up in New [name]York[/name] City and went to very progressive, diverse schools and honestly can say I didn’t know there was such a thing as racism until I learned about it from the media. It never affected my everyday life as a child and it still doesn’t as a young adult. I went to high school with a [name]Jemima[/name] (her parents were from the UK) and I don’t think she ever encountered teasing of any sort. Anyway, it’s a name that I love for it’s sound, meaning, Biblical connection and all around loveliness. I think it goes wonderfully with [name]Margo[/name]! [name]Margo[/name] and [name]Jemima[/name] would make awesome sisters. My dream twin set would be twin girls named [name]Jemima[/name] and [name]Philippa[/name] - [name]Jem[/name] and [name]Pippa[/name]. So, I think, if you can use the name, and if you love it, you should go for it. When people meet a sweet little girl named [name]Jemima[/name] all those derogatory stereotypes (which, I must add, I’ve never come across in my daily life - I grew up using weird organic pure maple syrup, lol) should leave their minds.

You all definitely have a point. When is someone going to break the cycle? But hasn’t that been the question relating to racism for centuries? And, for some people, it still hasn’t happened. I wouldn’t consider myself a racist person in the slightest, but I’ve definitely grown up in an area where racist tensions are sometimes still high, and I don’t even live in the South! (I’m not saying racism only exists in the South, because that would be naive, but from a historical perspective…) But, alas, someone must break the trend; perhaps you could be the one to do it. You mentioned the teasing - “Aunt [name]Jemima[/name], make me some pancakes!” - and I think that’s where you’re going to run into problems. To a child or teenager, that might just be a casual, though bothersome, joke, but to others, that’s a racial slur. So, that’s the debate here.

[name]EDIT[/name]: I don’t know if this is true, so don’t at all hold me to this, but perhaps ‘Aunt [name]Jemima[/name]’ is only a racial slur if applied to an African American person. Maybe, if someone said something to your Caucasian child, [name]Lyndsay[/name], such as “Aunt [name]Jemima[/name], make me some pancakes,” people would only think of the pancakes and syrup connection because your child isn’t African American. Now, I’m guessing that any adult African American in the vicinity might notice the comment, but maybe it wouldn’t be seen as derogatory. Now, I don’t think that’s the way it should be, but it was just something I was wondering about. Maybe that’s the state of our country? I really don’t know.

[name]Do[/name] I think it works for a middle name right now? Absolutely, yes! [name]Do[/name] I think [name]Margo[/name] [name]Jemima[/name] is amazing? Definitely! Would I even use such a combination myself? I think I would…

I think [name]Margo[/name] has a more relaxed, yet also sophisticated feel to it, and I personally like it more than [name]Marguerite[/name], which feels a little bit uppity to me. However, [name]Margo[/name] as a nickname for [name]Marguerite[/name] is a great compromise. [name]Margo[/name] [name]Jemima[/name] does flow better than [name]Marguerite[/name] [name]Jemima[/name]. Maybe you’ll just have to convince your husband of [name]Margo[/name], [name]Lyndsay[/name]! :wink:

[name]Lemon[/name] :slight_smile:

Wow, I so did not intend for this discussion to get so deep! I’m glad it did though. For the first time I’m starting to feel like [name]Jemima[/name] might actually work. [name]Chris[/name] said the other day that he wanted to use a name that makes a statement, he wasn’t sure about what, though. Normally I’m not an advocate for using names to make statements, really, but I do like the idea of a name that really means something. And I’m starting to feel like [name]Jemima[/name] could be a strong statement AGAINST racism. Although, maybe it would only work that way for an [name]African[/name] American? Hmm, I don’t know. Basically, I’m so glad to hear all your thoughts about it and you’ve all really got me thinking. I think I might want to go for it… I have enough time to work up the guts. And I already have a frame with [name]Jemima[/name] Puddleduck on it!

[name]Lemon[/name], I think you’re right that on a white child the playground teasing wouldn’t be seen as derogatory the way it probably would on a black child. Well, I’m quite sure the children wouldn’t mean it to be derogatory in either case, just that for an adult, hearing those words said to a black girl would be a lot more negative. Actually, I’m imagining if I were the teacher in that scenario, I think my heart would stop if I heard children talking that way to an [name]African[/name] American girl, and I know it wouldn’t upset me nearly as much if it were a white girl. Yeah, I would just think of the syrup in that case. Hmm, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, seems the natural response to me.

As for the names! I’m glad you guys prefer [name]Margo[/name] to [name]Marguerite[/name]! [name]Chris[/name]’ name often gets shortened to [name]Christop[/name] on forms, and so she would get Margueri, which looks like a hideous spelling of [name]Margery[/name]. I really don’t like that. I do love names that sound like they could be a queen, since mine is SO very un[name]Royal[/name], and I do like Royalness, lol. But [name]Margo[/name] is more my (and his) style. I know I’ve talked about how much I love it before, but I can picture it perfectly on me and all the women on my moms side of the family, and the genes are really strong (I look just like my great-grandmother!) so I assume my future daughter will look like that line.

I’m falling in love with [name]Margo[/name] [name]Jemima[/name]! Oh, and I agree [name]Marguerite[/name] [name]Jemima[/name] is too much name. But now I’m conflicted because I really want [name]Jemima[/name] as a first name! Other J middles I like are [name]Margo[/name] [name]June[/name], [name]Margo[/name] [name]Juliet[/name], [name]Margo[/name] [name]Jane[/name] and [name]Margo[/name] Jenness. And I really want to use [name]Flora[/name] as the second middle since it’s by far the best way I’ve figured out to honor both the grandmothers. And I also so want to use [name]Elizabeth[/name], I guess I have to give up on trying to cram everything I want into one name. :frowning:

I was just watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and thinking how cute [name]Jemima[/name] is! Personally, I wouldn’t use it b/c it’s just a bit too syrup-drenched for me, but I would love to know a little [name]Jemima[/name]! I’m in the South, as well, and I don’t think the racist image is too much of a problem.
My favorite of your names is [name]Margo[/name], and my only quibble with the set is that [name]Margo[/name] seems a bit more snappy and plain-spoken, whereas the others are more whimsical and frilly. I think [name]Marguerite[/name] nn [name]Margo[/name] works much better within this particular grouping.

[name]Lyndsay[/name], I’m really sorry to have taken this name debate so seriously, I am. It’s just, I’m not sure in the society I live in, if it would be culturally appropriate to use a name tied to such rich racial hostilities. Then again, most of the time I’m someone who doesn’t like to rock the boat, especially when it comes to racial issues. It just isn’t a game I want to get into, you know? That being said, I firmly believe that [name]Jemima[/name] on a Caucasian person is different from [name]Jemima[/name] on an [name]African[/name] American person - honestly, though, it’s a sad fact. But, enough with all that drama…

I really think the best place for [name]Jemima[/name] is as a middle name, and I can’t think of anything that beats the flow of [name]Margo[/name] [name]Jemima[/name]! I know you are warming up to the thought of [name]Jemima[/name] as a first name, and I’m not going to tell you not to do that, but [name]Jemima[/name] really is a perfect middle name for Miss [name]Margo[/name]. You can always call her [name]Jem[/name]! Aww, isn’t that sweet? Especially since [name]Margo[/name] means “pearl” - wait, is a pearl even considered a gem? Whoops! Anyway, want to play with alliteration? Loving [name]Margo[/name] [name]Jemima[/name] [name]June[/name], [name]Margo[/name] [name]Jemima[/name] [name]Juliet[/name], and [name]Margo[/name] [name]Jemima[/name] Jenness. [name]How[/name] do you pronounce Jenness again? Emphasis on the [name]JENN[/name] or the ESS? All wonderful name combos, I think!

And, I know you really want to use [name]Elizabeth[/name] and [name]Flora[/name]. So, what are you considering for first names now? [name]Margo[/name], for sure. [name]Beatrix[/name]? [name]Beatrix[/name] [name]Flora[/name] [name]Frost[/name] “[name]Becker[/name]”? Possibility, maybe? Actually, that sounds incredibly regal to me - say that aloud a few times! Wow, I think I just attempted to spell ‘possibility’ about six times before getting it right. It’s been a long day so far. Uh, [name]Elizabeth[/name]. As a first name? I’m totally blanking on these names you wanted to use. Tilley? [name]Lucretia[/name], [name]Lucy[/name], Lulette! [name]Tamsin[/name]? [name]Ah[/name]. Um, [name]Gwendolen[/name]? Yes! [name]Gwendolen[/name] [name]Elizabeth[/name]…[name]Eve[/name]? Hm. [name]Gwendolen[/name] [name]Glory[/name] [name]Elizabeth[/name]? Hm, that’s neat.

[name]Lemon[/name] :slight_smile:

I lived in Australia for 13 years, so when I see the name [name]Jemima[/name], I thought of [name]Jemima[/name] Khan instead.

I’m living in the midwest now (US) and don’t know of the other associations with the name. When I ask my husband (grown up in the midwest) he thought of syrup… interesting to learn about the other associations.