A pregnant reader has written in looking for advice on the name "Jezebel": "It sounds pretty and to me, it represents a girl who is bold... is it a really bad idea to name a girl Jezebel?"
Her email continues:
I'm stuck in the South—what if people look down on us... for giving her a harlot name? What if she gets older and people call her Jizz? Could a name like Jezebel become a prophecy?
Like I said, I love the name Jezebel, but at the same time I wouldn't want
to be one of those parents that curses their child with a stupid name. This
is a kid, after all, not a cat.
Former Jezebel editor Moe Tkacik once weighed in on why Jezebel is an awesome name for a blog, but, being named after a woman the Old Testament depicts as "a truly vicious tyrant who makes all the Israelites join her own heathenous religion and kills a lot of people" could be rough on a girl too young to defend herself through blogging.
She may have an easier life with a "Jezebel" variant like "Jessabell," but our own Irin Carmon says those can be problematic too:
I actually just found out that Jezebel is a variant on Isabel (maybe everyone knew this, but it was sort of a revelation for this Hebrew speaker). It's not a popular name in Israel because it sounds like the words for "island of garbage."
Iron & Wine thinks Jezebel is a name worth singing about, but Hortense found an old religion book called All of the Women of the Bible that's pretty anti-Jezebel (see image above).
The best person to ask would probably be... a woman named Jezebel. Fourteen Jezebels responded to a survey on Baby Names World, and 72% said they liked their name. But, the majority also reported being teased because of it. Said one:
They called me a whore so much it got a problem. Since my name is another word for prostitute people began to believe tha I actually was one. The boys started un-buttoning my shirt and attempted to panse me constantly. One guy actually came in to the girls bathroom and took pictures of me while i was changing. I was hurt so much by all of this that i legally changed my name to Bella. I cant imagin the type of person who would want this name.
Which does make "Isabel" sound a lot more appealing.