Jennifer (Given name)
Jennifer is a name for girls. The name is a form of Guinevere and originates from English. On our website 31 people with the name Jennifer rated their name with 4 stars(out of 5). So they seem very satisfied! Abroad this is a perfectly fine name. Jennifer is in the top 100 of most popular names on facebook on position 12. A nickname for Jennifer is "Jenny".
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Meaning of Jennifer
The meaning of Jennifer is: "fruitful".
Jennifer♀ 40 years old 13-05-2013
While not unique by any means, being a Jennifer is an honor and privilege and my name is always well received.
It is both strong and beautiful and yet allows me to define myself rather than others bringing in any of their own pre-conceived notions about who someone named, Jennifer is.
I think names can hinder or help people get an idea of who we are, the mental portrait others have of us.
Some names are such that simply by seeing or hearing the name without any other knowledge about that individual, we already have a strong mental image in our minds eye about who that person is. We subconsciously paint a mental image about that person and based solely on a name and our own experiences make instant even reactionary choices about the subject's features, clothing, location as well as the style, and materials used to paint the portrait. We do this subconsciously to get a sense of who we are dealing with. While superficial and often incorrect we all do this. We can be wrong about all of the snap judgments we have made but because we innately don't like to be wrong in our opinions, as we eventually discover more about that person beyond the portrait we have painted we tend to subconsciously find facts or interpret ambiguities in ways that support our original hypothesis. We see things that reinforce our already formed opinion.
Based on this natural human thing we all do - at least on some level - names can either serve the subject to help aid in others painting an accurate portrait in their minds eye before the know anything about us or meet us in person or they do nothing at all and leave the artist frustrated with a blank canvas unclear what materials to choose spray paint and cement or oils and canvas. Some names actually create confusion and others convey just enough for people to feel comfortable without leading them down any obviously wrong tracks that will require later messy revisions.
Two friends Joey Anders and Heather Chun illustrate this point and we have had many conversations about names and human nature because of their experiences. (Note that for their privacy, I have slightly altered their last names).
Joey is actually a stunning natural goddess, in her twenties and while a model and a Southern California surfer girl, she is also brilliant and thoughtful beyond her years. She is an extremely successful model and aspiring actress. She would prefer Broadway to an evening soap opera. Her name doesn't serve her and quickly her agent all but demanded she change her name both to avoid confusion about her gender and avoid being type cast as someone less than serious. There was a lot of thought given to her new name and professionals were hired as consultants - multiple different fields participated in choosing the perfect new name for our friend, Joey.
This process caused the three of us to become almost obsessive about names. We begun to focus on my name Jennifer and Heather's new last name, Chun. First, Heather.
Heather describes her well I think. She is Caucasian, intelligent, open-minded, beautiful in a natural kind of way and feels comfortable sweeping the floors at the children's foundation she volunteers with, yachting with friends or baby sitting the neighbor's new born. Heather can do anything. She is a writer and frequently lectures all over the world. She is quite accomplished and still in her twenties. Heather is also newly married. Her grew up in a privileged Southern California beach town and home. He is a fifth generation American (she is eighth generation) and while proudly of Chinese ancestry is embarrassed to admit that as a teenager he blew off the opportunity to learn to speak Mandarin during smears spent in Hawaii visiting his grandparents. He is a Chinese American and thus the her new last name, Chun.
Heather has told is story after story of what this means to her on almost a daily basis. Her last name causes people who don't already know her to make the reasonable assumption that she Asian of some sort. When they eventually meet her in person they are very reluctant to give that assumption up and often go to great lengths to tell Heather that she isn't who she says she is. Often they are angry and feel tricked or manipulated. At a recent luncheon the three of us were at a new French restaurant that had received great reviews on Zagat. Heather had made the reservation in her name and the staff had made the usual assumptions and then unfortunately decisions based on those incorrect assumptions including what we might care to eat. It was embarrassing for them and speaks to much larger issues than our given names but that sadly in 2013 still permeate out society.
There was a brilliant Seinfeld episode about this where a blond white woman called, Amy Chung has many telephone conversations with George's mother, Mrs. Constanza. Amy ends up giving her advice about her troubled marriage and Mrs Costanza apparently takes it very seriously because she believes she is taking to the stereotypical, "wise Asian woman". When they eventually meet in person, Mrs. Costanza is livid (likely at herself as well as Amy) and Amy is unexplainably bewildered as she claims to not understand the why Mrs. Costanza would have ever thought she was Asian.
Names say a lot about us whether we want them to or not. It is human nature. I have always been happy that my name, Jennifer seems to create just enough of the beginnings of a portrait that people I later meet aren't thrown off their presupposed painting axis and yet in part, because the name is quite common, there people don't tend to have strong associations to any one "Jennifer" they knew before meeting me.
I'm please with my name and encourage parents to consider this as well as to remember that the name is for the child - it isn't for the parents to make a statement about how cool or trendy or witty the parents may be (use your let's name for that purpose if necessary). Instead a name paints a portrait and I enjoy that for he lost part without meeting people they likely use oil on traditional canvas and that no one is likely to complete their portrait of me based solely on my name and prior to meeting me in person.