Are Celeb Parents Making Babies or Brands?

Hollywood's unorthodox baby-naming practice has always been kind of out there, especially to the rest of us who have seemingly hum-drum-given names in comparison. But Blue Ivy, Suri, Shiloh, Honor, Maxwell, Bronx, Zuma, and Apple are far from pioneers in the innovative celeb baby names club. Superstar parents have been coming up with messed up monikers for decades—just ask Chastity Bono or Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah Willis. As one 2006 New York Times piece put it best, “It seems almost unimaginable for any 21st-century movie star to send his children out among the Hollywood elite equipped with ordinary names like Michael, Eric, Joel, and Peter, as Kirk Douglas once did.”

But reality TV star Kim Kardashian and artist Kanye West's newborn named North West (born on June 15) is taking this TMZ-worthy trend in a whole new direction. While the parents claim their daughter's name choice was purely inspirational in a sky's-the-limit way and not for the cheesy, mindless pun, there's something eerily wrong about this one. It's almost as if Kim and Kanye didn't come together to create a human, even if it were by accident, but rather a new brand.

“For a normal human being, getting married and having a baby are the two biggest decisions they're ever going to make. But for celebrities, it's literally about branding,” says Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., an L.A.-based licensed clinical psychologist and author of the new book You Are Why You Eat.

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What makes matters worse is when these in-the-spotlight parents start to outwardly build a potential profiting platform for their baby, whom is still in diapers. Take Duke Rancic, the son of E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic and her reality TV co-star hubby Bill. The 10-month-old has a Twitter account with nearly 23,000 followers—and he has yet to tweet even a goo-goo or ga-ga. 

“Twitter accounts for kids, bizarre names, elaborate wardrobes, and endless photo ops of moms and dads carrying their babies this way and that—babies are like the new Birkin bag,” Durvasula adds. “Why else do we never see the hard moments, like the baby screaming its head off on an airplane?”

What do you think? Are these celeb parents just using their unsuspecting spawn to further their careers? Or is it possible that building a fan-base for their child early is the new nest egg for high-profile families? Tell us on Twitter @Shape_Magazine or in the comments below.

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