The Afflecks Go For a Strong Common Baby Name

Ben Affleck attends the 'The Town' Premiere

Seems like the whole world was anticipating the baby name announcement for the third Garner-Affleck baby. After all, how do you follow the slightly unusual, lightly thematic, easily pronounceable Violet Anne and Seraphina Rose Elizabeth? Jennifer talked baby names on TV, including fun details about her daughters’ soft spot for Disney-inspired names.

And then! The announcement! A boy: Samuel Garner Affleck.

Samuel: It’s a strong, pleasant, popular name that comes with a natural nickname (Sam) and pet name (Sammy). With its Biblical roots, it’s got longstanding popularity and is recognizable around the world among speakers of many languages. It’s old name, but far from stale. Like other names whose popularity has risen and fallen over long periods of time, it won’t sound dated any time soon. Judging by its current placement at #24 in boys’ names, lots of other parents in the U.S. agree that Samuel is a great choice for a boy.

Which makes it kinda boring for a celebrity kid.

If you’re like us, you may find the name’s the name’s apparent lack of creativity disappointing. Of course, Samuel sounds great with Violet and Seraphina, and it’s not like Jen and Ben are under any obligation whatsoever to choose an unusual baby name. But this celebrity couple made such a style statement with their daughters’ names that we expected, well, more from them in their choice of baby name the third time around. Hey, their celebs! Even with a family like the Afflecks, who seem so charminly normal, we’re conditioned to expect something more unusual.

But lo and behold, although daughter Violet’s name was only at #372 when she was born, the Afflecks are just like us after all! All across America, parents who are getting more creative with names tend to be much more creative with their daughters’ than with their sons’.

It’s very common for parents to stick to more common, traditional names for boys. Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick picked unusual names, Marion and Tabitha, for their twin girls, after chosing the ultra-traditional James for their son. Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott named their son Liam, which was ranked number 89 when he was born in 2007, and got more creative with Stella (number 184 in 2008) and Hattie (not popular enough to rank in the top 100 baby names).

What do you think? Why are parents more apt to choose creative or unusual names for their girls and more traditional names for their boys? Does the “image” of a name seem more important for girls than boys? Share your thoughts!