On Libertad, Gael Garcia Bernal's Rebel-Luxe Baby Name
Libertad shares a lot with her English counterpart, Liberty. Both names derive from the Anglo-Norman word meaning 'freedom,' and both have seen action in revolutionary slogans. In the US, "Give me liberty or give me death!" is a cry attributed to Patrick Henry and credited with inspiring Virginia to enter the Revolutionary War. In Mexico, "Tierra y Libertad" is a cry associated with leaders of the Mexican Revolution and credited with showing the important link between land ownership and political freedom.
This sense that Liberty cozies up with history is exactly why people choose it. In The Baby Name Wizard, Laura Wattenberg writes:
This meaning name surfaces at historical moments when people contemplate their freedoms. Lots of little Liberties were born at the end of WWI; during the 1976 bicentennial celebration; and again in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The name's message speaks with equal power to people at both ends of the political spectrum.
But like all the best names, this one has opposing stories to tell. For afficianados of fabric, Liberty has quite an opposite connotation from the gritty, revolutionary vibe. By the 1880s, London's Liberty department store was known for its style preferences (Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau) and the beauty of its textiles. You can find Liberty print fabric today, made up into fine frocks with fancy price tags. It's a crisp cotton, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, covered by "the intricate (often floral) decorative patterns produced or sold by Liberty." Like Velvet, also used as a name, Liberty fabric evokes the luxe life.
Libertad's got its own glossy sheen; it's the name for gold and silver Mexican bullion coins.
Joey Lawrence, best known as Blossom's cute-but-doofus older brother, caused chatter when he pre-announced the name of his daughter Liberty Grace several months before her birth. Casey Kasem also has a little Liberty, daughter Liberty Irene.
Libby, a cute and peppy nickname for Liberty, makes the name more versatile and may explain parents' willingness to adopt it. But it seems everything's sexier in Spanish. Liberty and Lazarus are certainly interesting, and come with plenty of associations. But we think their appeal pales in comparison to the exotic and fashionable Libertad and Lázaro.
What do you think of Libertad and Lazaro? Do you prefer them to Liberty and Lazarus?