by Christina Cauterucci · May 12, 2017
“Sorry not sorry.”
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for SiriusXM
Caitlyn Jenner isn’t good for much, but it looks like she’s managed to officially end the reign of one of the most popular names in girl history. The Social Security Administration announced Friday that the four baby girl names that dropped most in popularity since 2015, when Jenner announced her new name, were Caitlin, Caitlyn, Katelynn, and Kaitlynn.
This was an especially rough blow for the two C versions of the name, both of which hovered around 600 on the 2015 list of 1,000 most popular baby names. In 2016, along with Katelynn/Kaitlynn, they missed the 1,000-name cutoff altogether.
However, there are more versions of the name Qeightlïnn out there than most ever encounter in the wild—at least 153 according to this dizzying chart that runs from Caytlan to Kayetlinne (??!). Among the most popular forms of the name, Caitlin peaked first, in 1988, followed by Katelyn and Katelin in 1993, Kaitlin in 1995, Caitlyn and Katelynn in 1998, and Kaitlyn, the commonest of the bunch, in 2000. Between 2015 and 2016, when the great Jenner effect swept the list, Kaitlyn dropped from 197 to 326 on the top-1,000 list, and Katelyn sank from 239 to 378.
Laura Wattenberg, BabynameWizard.com founder and baby name connoisseur, told the Associated Press that Caitlyn and its imitators were already losing steam by the time Jenner joined the club. “It was inevitable,” she said of the failing Cait/Kait/Kate/Cate/lin/lynn/lyn/linn dynasty. She and the AP warn observers not to blame too much of the rapid decline on “homophobia,” which makes sense, since Jenner is transgender, not gay.
But it’s also true that Jenner rubs all sorts of people the wrong way, leaving very few who might be willing to align their spawn with her. In fact, hating Caitlyn Jenner is one of the few things transphobes and LGBTQ people can agree on! She has exhibited barely tepid support for gay marriage and taken great pains to assure the general public that she’s way chiller than all those other sensitive-snowflake transgender folks who take offense at being misgendered and at derogatory trans-themed Halloween costumes. She’s argued that trans people who can’t or don’t want to pass as cisgender are making people uncomfortable. Most recently, she supported Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, saying he “seems to be very much for women” and “very much behind the LGBT community,” then had the audacity to act surprised when Trump sold out trans children in his first month in office.
So props to the parents of all those newborn Avas, Sophias, and Isabellas who might have otherwise shared their names with the most famous trans person in the world, who also happens to be a very bad person! According to Wattenberg, people don’t like naming their kids after anyone “controversial,” even if the parents themselves don’t have a problem with a given public figure. She predicts that even Trump supporters will be wary about naming their children Donald.
The president’s name has been on a steady decline since 2000, and slipped from 443 to 488 on the top-1,000 boy’s names list between 2015 and 2016—not too bad for the name of a guy who said in 2015 that he wanted to ban all Muslims from the United States. The top boys’ names this year were Noah, Liam, William, and Mason, still riding high off the resurgent popularity of his namesake jar in neo-rustic decor. Emma is winning on the girls’ list, followed by Olivia, an eminently uncontroversial pick for its associations with red wine, bold neutral outerwear, and getting things handled.
Slate Articles · by Christina Cauterucci · May 12, 2017