Duana Names: She Saved The World. A Lot.

Duana Posted by Duana at July 2, 2013 18:16:11 July 2, 2013 18:16:11

Duana, I love the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, (full disclosure, my husband and I are both HUGE fans) and I wonder if Buffy is a good name for my daughter. (Due in 4 months). My husband and I are divided, but mostly me. I am divided.

Reasons for: She is a strong, smart female lead of a fun contemporary tv show.  One of my favourites. Also, it's a fun, simple name, without (I feel) much attachment or association, beyond the show.

It's original and uncommon. Such a name, I think, will help her develop character and strength. Better than Madison or Jennifer.  (My husband favours older, more traditional names, such as Olive, Mae, or Prudence, or even Elizabeth, and then Buffy can be a short form, as it was generations ago. I like these name, but worry that our daughter will be the 4th Olive in her kindergarten class, for example).

Reasons against: it's from a tv show; it's uncommon, and possibly a little too out there?

I love your insight and opinion in these naming columns. Your advice would be greatly valued. Please let me know what you think!


Wow. I mean, this is serious – in the sense that you’ve given this some serious thought. It’s not as simple or as clearly pretend as when someone thinks they’ll give their son Harry the middle name “Potter” and just see if anyone notices. Your devotion to this character is pretty intense.  

So on the one hand, as someone whose name is original and uncommon, I definitely agree with you that an unusual name helps a child stand apart early. But this isn’t just original and uncommon. If you wanted that, you’d go for Greer or Anais.

This is about a character who is superhuman, and that’s why I chose the title for this article. I’m not saying your daughter would feel that she had to be superhuman, but there is an indication that you hope she’ll have Buffy’s strength of character and humour and solid friendships. What if she doesn’t though? Would you –would she – feel the name didn’t suit her? It’s kind of like those kids who wait, crushed, for their Hogwarts letter on their 11th birthday – what if she doesn’t become a slayer?

Then on top of all of this, there’s the fact that the name itself was chosen for the movie (which begat the series) because it sounded more than a little California-fluffy. It’s kind of a joke that Buffy turns out to be strong of body and character, because the name presumes she won’t be. This, I can’t speak to as much. I don’t know what it’s like to have a name for which you have to automatically  sort of subvert expectations.

So I decided to go to the source: I asked the whip-smart, well-traveled Buffy Childerhose to lend her thoughts. She said the following:  

“I think that it's a name that has more positive association now, much better than when I was a child. And compared to all the weird names now - it is not that weird. it was massively weird growing up. My larger issue with it is that it's a hard name to grow up into. Buffy is a cute name for a sassy kid - less for an adult. I reckon perhaps the best thing is to perhaps name her Elizabeth or Elizebet or best yet - the original hebrew Elisheva or Elisheba and call her Buffy as a nick name. BTVS was actually Elizabeth as Buffy is a pet name for that (Duana – I did not remember this). …But I like Buffy mostly. I also like the nickname my friends gave me - Fee. (They'd say BUFF and I'd say FEE as I hate Buff. Then they said FEE. I gave up.) Then again, even Fee is weird.”

So there you go, straight from the source. Obviously growing up in a post-Buffy world where in a way, the name is associated with kick-ass pop-culture feminism gives it an advantage – but being the singular bearer of such a name might be tougher than we think.

Let me know!

Tags: Name Nerd
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