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17 Baby Names Inspired By Feminist TV Characters

by Sarah Bunton

Thanks to platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, it has never been so easy to binge watch your favorite television shows of both the present and past. If you're anything like me, there's a healthy amount of "strong female lead" type shows in your queue. In fact, if I'd had a daughter instead of a son, I was definitely going to use that as an opportunity to pay homage to the badass women of Battlestar Galactica. Are you feeling the girl power vibe? Then you might want to think about baby names inspired by feminist TV characters.

What's great is that you don't have to just limit yourself to a sci-fi or fantasy universe to find strong women on TV anymore. Now, Feminist characters in television aren't just one-dimensional, bra-burning stereotypes. They can be found representing women in the White House, operating rooms, the Parks and Recreation department, on the police force, and may even be animated. There is definitely no shortage of inspiration when it comes to selecting the perfect moniker for your gender equality-loving future daughter (or son).

So if you consider yourself a fun mix of pop culture junkie meets women's rights activist, then check out these baby names, including unisex options, inspired by some of TV's best feminist characters.


Willow From 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'

Though your mind might first jump to Buffy when thinking about feminism, Willow had a beautiful and complex story arch that showed how she evolved and came into her own as a woman. Some also credit Willow and Tara as the first lead lesbian couple on TV.The name's meaning, which you might have guessed, takes its origins from the Willow tree in Old English.


Ben From 'Parks & Recreation'

You might be wondering, "What's a guy doing in this list?" But, as the amazing Joseph Gordon-Levitt said, men can be feminists, too. Everyone knows that Leslie Knope was a force to be reckoned with, and no one knew or appreciated that more than her supportive soulmate, Ben Wyatt. Ben, usually short for Benjamin, means "son of the south" in Hebrew. So this name could pull double-duty if you happen to live in a southern region, too.


Jess From 'New Girl'

Zooey Deschanel, much like her character, Jessica Day, isn't afraid to be feminine and a feminist. You can support gender equality and wear cute dresses and adore pink all at the same time. Jess can work for either a girl or a boy and means "wealthy" in Hebrew. Your child will definitely be rich in knowledge with feminist parents.


Lincoln From 'Broad City'

The pseudo-partner of Ilana, Lincoln from Broad City is all about empowering women, equality, and doesn't mind doing things that others might think are "girl" activities. The name Lincoln originated from the Celtic word for "pool or lake." Hopefully your son will be as chill as his namesake.


Mindy From 'The Mindy Project'

A female character with smarts and sass? Yup, television's Mindy Lahiri showed the world that doctors didn't have to always be serious. Between being unapologetic about her love affair with food and not relying on a man for happiness, she's definitely a feminist icon. Mindy, which is a nickname for Melinda, means "gentle" in Greek. No guarantees on if your daughter will abide by her name's meaning.


Seeley From 'Bones'

Again, the character for which the show is named after is definitely a feminist herself, but one can't ignore how far Detective Seeley Booth has come in terms of realizing just how capable a woman is. Seeley, derived from Selig, means "blessed or happy" in Old English and can be used for either a boy or a girl.


Glenn From 'The Walking Dead'

Pretty much everyone knows how much of a badass Maggie is—she can take on baddies both living and dead without batting an eye—and no one sees that more than her husband, Glenn. They've arguably survived this long because they work as equals and he knows women are just as capable as men are. In Gaelic, Glenn means "valley."


Liz From '30 Rock'

Liz Lemon, the HBIC on 30 Rock, introduced a whole new generation to the multiple layers of feminism. She also showed how women can find success without tearing each other down. Short for Elizabeth, which means "my God is abundant" in both Hebrew and Greek, has been the moniker of many famous women throughout history, like queens, first ladies, writers, and actresses.


Olivia From 'Scandal' & 'Law And Order: SVU'

What are the chances that two feminist characters currently on television would both be named Olivia? I don't know; I'm a writer not a statistician. Either way, these characters kick ass in their own, unique ways. One takes on biggest players in DC and the other puts away bad guys, and neither break a sweat while doing it. Olivia actually is derived from Oliva, which means "from the Olive tree" in Latin. The name in its current spelling was introduced in Shakespeare's play, 'Twelfth Night.'


Luke From 'Gilmore Girls'

It takes a special kind of man to handle the powerhouse that is Lorelai Gilmore. Though Luke may be a little rough around the edges, he's loyal to and supportive of both Lorelai and Rory. Luke, in Greek, denoted an individual who came from Lucania, a region of Italy. Whether you have Italian roots or not, there are plenty of famous Lukes to be inspired by.


Piper From 'Orange Is The New Black' & 'Charmed'

By dealing with sexism behind bars to magically protecting the world with the power of sisterhood, both women know how strong they can be when they find support in their fellow sisters. In English, Piper literally means "one who plays a pipe or flute" and is unisex, though it's primarily used for women.


Claire From 'House Of Cards'

In a fictional world of scheming personalities and corrupt politicians (OK, maybe not so fictional), Claire Underwood holds her own. The best part? While some may dub her a typical "Ice Queen," she reclaims that title and makes it work for her as she intelligently and deftly navigates powerful dynamics. Claire, the Anglicanized version of the French name, Clara, means "clear, bright, and famous." Who wouldn't want a child with all those qualities?


Brooke From 'One Tree Hill'

Brooke Davis always made one thing very clear: she would defend her friends, who were practically family, to the very end. Fierce, feisty, and just a little bit raucous, she had some of the best feminist quotes on One Tree Hill. Quite literally meaning "a brook," this name can be used for both boys and girls and has a lovely touch of nature to it.


Fred From 'Portlandia'

It's hard to pick just one character from Portlandia who perfectly captures feminism, but Fred Armisen (one half of the creative duo behind the show) supports gender equality both on and off screen. Fred, short for Frederick, means "peaceful ruler" in old German. Who knows? Maybe your son will peacefully help dismantle the patriarchy.


Tina From 'Bob's Burgers'

What kind of a list would this be without TV's leading "strong, smart, and sensual woman," Tina Belcher? Though she may only be a teenager, she already knows who she is and isn't afraid to be a little different (think: erotic zombie friend fiction). Speaking of being a little unique, why not use "Martina" instead? Meaning "warrior-like" in Latin, it would be a name fit for any feminist.


Kara From 'Battlestar Galactica'

Before "Starbuck" was Kara Thrace, the role was originally a male named, Dirk Benedict in the first incarnation of Battlestar Galactica. But actress Katee Sackhoff showed that gender didn't factor into the equation for what makes a bad-ass. From the Italian for "beloved," Kara is a named that truly holds a special place in the hearts of many nerds.


Dana From 'The X-Files'

For over a decade, Dana Scully has proven time and time again that her character is no less talented or capable than her male partner, Fox Mulder. Whether she's battling a rare cancer, choosing to become a mother on her own terms, or fighting the powers that be, she does it all with a grace and stoicism unrivaled on TV today. Dana is actually a unisex name and means "wise" in Arabic.