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Is This Name Over the Hill?

My husband and I are expecting our first child, and he really loves the name Jason. I don't mind it, but we were both born in the '70s -- back when Jason was at its peak -- so I went to school with tons of them. While the name is still popular, it's nowhere near what it was. My concern is that it's a "fading star" name, one associated with the previous generation. I'm worried it seem like an "old" name when my son is in school, the way I always regarded those rogue kids named Bob or Eugene. Is there a stigma attached to names that have peaked and fallen? - SummerMom

A stigma? I wouldn't go that far, although it's true that most people sense when a name has fallen out of favor. The effect ranges from the fairly innocuous "dad name" (Greg) to the fusty (Donald) to the genuinely tone-deaf (Buford). Your image of a "fading star" is fitting. The brighter the star once shone, the more obvious the fade. In extreme cases, you even find falling stars. Parents feel the name's momentum turning, and they rush to abandon it like a sinking ship.

But not all "faded" names are created equal.

Compare your example of Eugene to a name like Michael. Eugene had a sharp fashion peak in the 1920s before sliding way, way down the charts.  When you were in school, Eugene was wasn't just a dad name but a grandpa name -- the dead zone for name fashion. While Michael, too, has fallen off dramatically, it has taken its time about it. Michael has remained a top-10 name for 70 years, so it doesn't sound like any particular era. That helps it sound less "faded." This doesn't bode well for Jason, which hit a dizzying peak in the '70s.

Luckily, there's more to the story than just popularity curves. Names aren't solitary animals; they travel in packs. So a name like Donald carries a whiff of the 1930s with it, not just on its own but via a whole generation of Donalds, Ronalds, Geralds, Rolands and Harolds. And that, my dear, is where Jason's star shines brightly for you.

Jason was a hit name ahead of its time. It helped break the age-old hold of the classic English kingly names and ushered in our modern generation of Jadens, Masons, Jordans and Paytons. Dad name or not, a Jason should fit in fine in today's classrooms, with a Jackson on one side and a Greyson on the other.

Comments

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March 14, 2011 11:07 AM
By Kristin (not verified)

My cousin's 4-year-old stepson is named Jason. I was surprised to hear it and thought - hmm, odd choice for a child born in 2007 - but no one has commented, and it isn't a big deal. He often goes by Jay.

March 14, 2011 11:38 AM
By Franklin.Smyth (not verified)

I too was wondering the same about this name. I think it was asked with sensitivity and got a worthy and thoughtful response. Thank-you both.

March 14, 2011 12:51 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My daughter goes to school (in NYC) w/ 3 Jasons and one Jayson. They are 5-years-old.

March 14, 2011 1:00 PM
By Elisabeth (not verified)

I agree. To my ear, Jason does not have an unstylish feel, probably because it fits right in with all the two-syllable boys' names ending in the "-en" sound.

March 14, 2011 1:22 PM
By hillary (not verified)

I agree too. Jason also has some nice mythological associations that put it more in the realm of "classic."

March 14, 2011 5:50 PM
By Emily (not verified)

Our son is Kevin, and most people with that name are older as well (such as our 40-something-year-old neighbor), and the response we usually got when introducing him was "oh, what a nice name, I haven't heard that in awhile!" I like that it's not a trendy name, but isn't so rare that it's unrecognizable. So I think you'd get the same effect from Jason. Good luck!

March 15, 2011 11:59 AM
By Pamela S (not verified)

I know a Jayson. His dad is named Jay. That I think is very clever.

March 15, 2011 12:15 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Jason is a classic name - so I dont think it's over the hill. In fact, its classic styling is IMO much fresher than the trendy stylings of Jaiden/Jayden/Jaden.

March 15, 2011 12:46 PM
By Alex (not verified)

While Jason has a definite mythological or "classic" implication, I'm somewhat uncomfortable with it because in the classical world, Jason was a symbol of greed. Remember his chase after the Golden Fleece? Is greed a character trait we want to encourage in a child? And then again, as most people don't know this, what's the harm?b
Alex

March 15, 2011 12:52 PM
By Acolorfulworld (not verified)

I had considered Jason for a boy when I was pregnant (both times), but we have all girls so it was a non issue. I'm 33 & grew up with a few Jasons. I don't think it's outdated. It definitely falls into the classic category to me, right along with the Micheal, Andrew, Matthew, Jonathan (all biblical, just like Jason.) It feels timeless. But if you are looking for a trendy name, then this might not be it.

March 15, 2011 1:10 PM
By Amanda (not verified)

My son is named Janson, kind of similar to Jason.

March 15, 2011 1:39 PM
By Anne-onymous (not verified)

To Alex: Actually, Jason was given a quest to seek the golden fleece, not for himself but to bring back to King Peleus (who had usurped his throne). So it isn't really a story about greed per se. In fact, Jason is often seen as a symbol of camaraderie and fellowship, as he joined together all of Greece's heroes as part of the Argonauts (because they all sailed on his ship, the Argo) who quested after the golden fleece.

However, that being said, the classic mythological Jason was guilty of being prideful and willful. He told Medea that he loved her so that she would help him gain the golden fleece. She did help him (both with the fleece and by helping him regain his rightful throne), and he promised to be true to her, but he later changed his mind and became betrothed to another in order to cement his political ties. When she reminded him of his vow to be true and of all her previous help, he told her that he only had to thank Aphrodite for making Medea fall in love with him.

That's not to say that Medea was all innocence. She killed Jason's fiancee (by sending her a poisoned/magical dress that burned her to death) and then killed her own sons by Jason, fearing that they would be tortured or enslaved by their father as punishment for their mother's sins. Jason, because he spurned Medea, fell from favor with the gods. He died alone and unloved, crushed to death by his beloved ship, the Argo.

So there's some positive and some negative there. But he was considered one of the great Greek heroes, and the only one whose name doesn't cause heads to turn in modern times. I know at least 10 guys named Jason, but no one named Heracles, Theseus, Perseus, Odysseus, Achilles or Bellerophon.

March 15, 2011 2:40 PM
By grlkckbxr (not verified)

Are there really any purely "good" figures in Greek mythology? I always found that to be one of the striking things about them - they all were pretty fallible, playing pranks, fooling around... Not to dissuade anybody from choosing their names - there are lots of good ones in there!

March 15, 2011 3:27 PM
By with an E (not verified)

Jason is also a "good guy" Bible name--maybe that can undo the "bad guy" mythological reference.

March 15, 2011 6:18 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think Jason is still just fresh enough to be a good name choice. I know a 4-year-old named Jason, and I rather liked it when I heard it, thinking that while not at all brand new, you don't really hear of too many young Jasons anymore. Definitely better than those made-up sounding names like Jaden and Caden...

March 16, 2011 7:04 AM
By Charly (not verified)

It's interesting we think that names have this almost magical quality. My name clearly comes from Charles, which means "manly" and "strong." My husband's is "Christ-bearer," and I am not manly, and he's not particularly religious. Unless you name your kid Ebenezer Judas McDuck, no one's going to think, "oh, greedy!"

March 16, 2011 11:24 AM
By Jennie

To Alex and Anne-onymous: I just finished reading the Lost Hero with my kids -- the follow-up to the Percy Jackson series -- features the hero Jason + demigods Piper and Leo! :)

March 17, 2011 6:55 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Lol@ Charly! I love it. McDuck! Hahaha.

As for Jason - i like it. I went to school with only one Jason growing up and I liked him and his name. I think that names like Jason and Stephanie and Christine have fallen out of grace simply cause they were over done in the 70s and 80s. They are all great names. I think a little Jason would get a lot of good geed back. And remember, one day Jayden and names like will be the "dads" name. If you love a name then use it!

March 17, 2011 7:11 AM
By Lane

On a similar note, what do you guys think of Pamela?

March 17, 2011 3:50 PM
By Tiana (not verified)

Jason is a breath of fresh air in a sea of -aidans (to which I just want to stab myself in the ears whenever I hear about the birth of yet another).

March 17, 2011 8:27 PM
By Beth (not verified)

Pamela is one of those names that can make a comeback as a full name, but not "Pam." Pam sounds hopelessly dated; Pammy is cutesy but doesn't have that problem. Pamela, though, sounds like Michael and Daniel and Andrew, names that are no longer "nicked" in 1950s-70s ways (Mike, Danny, Andy) and thus come off as quite lovely.

March 17, 2011 8:28 PM
By Beth (not verified)

Though there is the problem of Pamela Anderson. Hmmmmm.

March 20, 2011 12:20 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I love Mellie as a nn for Pamela.

March 20, 2011 3:20 PM
By Renee (not verified)

True, it sounds a little outdated, but not so much that it will be a problem. I doubt that people will give it much thought. It's not like you're thinking of naming him Gene or Peter.

I know of a little girl born in 2009 named Karyn, and that sounds outdated to me. It's still a nice name. It just sounds like a middle aged woman.

April 8, 2011 9:31 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know a pair of teenage brothers named Brian and Owen...gotta say, I did ask the former if he was a "junior" when I first met him...

April 20, 2011 12:06 PM
By tirzah (not verified)

I see your point about the name Jason, but the first thing I thought was, well- there's a really great compromise option to consider! Jace. It's a modern alternative that still retains a lot of the character of Jason.

June 16, 2011 3:03 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

OMG, I am totally naming my baby Judas McDuck!

February 19, 2012 8:36 PM
By Kaddi (not verified)

I like the comeback of the 50's and 60's names. The older names a century old are being overused today. Names like Pamela, Karyn, Katherine, Tracy are refreshing and not strange to hear.

August 5, 2014 7:01 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks candy, great stuff

May 8, 2015 9:07 AM
By Jason (not verified)

Funny reading everyone's comments and opinions on the name Jason...I think a may be the only one who has commented that owns the name. I am an 80's baby and my mom loved the name so much she knew she would name her first born son Jason. And here I am! I have always received positive feedback regarding my name. And funny enough, most of the time people say that they never meet a Jason...so it's unique. It stands apart from all the pottery barn names these days. So I say YES to the consideration. Jason is a strong name with great history and its modern enough to keep it away from being dated, old or tired.

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