Can we overcome this cultural association?

After more than 3 years of TTC, 2 painful HSGs, Physical Therapy, and eventually giving up we are thrilled to be expetcting our 2nd child! Its very early and we won't know if we need a boys name or a girls name for a few months, but I can't help but start planning them out asap. 

Our daughter has a long formal first name and goes by a nickname (one option of several her first name lends). I would absolutely want to that again for a daughter, giving her options for different nicknames throughout childhood, rebelious teenagerhood, and adulthood. I realize that means that I really only get to pick her initial nickname.

And so, very long story short, I am absolutely loving Lilou for the nn of a new baby girl, but DH is sure everyone will immediately think of a certain sci-fi movie that is more than a decade (or two?) old and I would just like some honest feedback on on first thoughts on a baby nn Lilou? Do you think of a sci-fi char? Any other negative associations I should be aware of? 

Thanks all!


February 18, 2018 9:09 AM

I had to look up what cultural association you were talking about. To me, Lilou is just a French girl's name. 

Granted, I may not be the target demographic because I'm really not into sci-fi, but I do know lots of references to things I've never seen and that name is definitely not one of them. 

February 18, 2018 9:28 AM

Thanks- that is what I suspected. I saw the movie once, but I did not remember the name from that. And really, as I recall its not like that character was evil or awful or anything anyway. I am just trying to convince DH that it does not have to affect anything. 

February 18, 2018 10:10 AM

Maybe point out to him that while it may be an association for some people of your generation it certainly won't be for your daughter's peers (at least not until she's a tween/teenager, and only then if they watch a 30 year old sci fi film, and only if she's using that nickname outside the family). I think it's also worth keeping in mind that for anyone who is not a massive fan of the movie and actually knows your family (ie will be seeing your daughter on a regular basis) she will quickly become the primary association for the name. Case in point; my niece (who is two) is named Luna, and I love the Harry Potter books. When my sister announced her name the HP character was my immediate thought/association but now when I hear the name my niece is my first association and the character doesn't really come to mind for me. And my cousin has a 6 month old named Idris, which my previous strong association was to Idris Elba (that being the only time I'd ever heard the name), and that association is now greatly diluted as well. It's a plus that it's a good/heroic character we're talking about so even for people who do have the association it's not a bad one.

February 19, 2018 12:13 PM

I actually shared your whole post with him and I think it got him thinking- thank you! Having a solid relatable example with Luna seems to be making a difference.

February 19, 2018 7:15 PM

You're welcome! Glad I could help. :-)

February 18, 2018 10:25 AM

This. Lilou is just a bubbly, adorable French girls' name in mind, but I am definitely not the target demographic. 


February 18, 2018 9:26 AM

Yes, my first thought upon hearing Lilou would be The Fifth Element—granted, I adore that movie. However, I don’t think I would let that stop me from using it as a nickname. Plus, hey, it’s a positive association!

February 18, 2018 9:51 AM

Congratulations! How wonderful after such a difficult journey, I hope the rest of the pregnancy goes smoothly for you.

I had no association with the movie character, but I have never seen that film (googled to find out who the character was). And it came out in 1997 so yes, over two decades old. I honestly wouldn't worry about it. I did find out from searching that Lilou is a fairly common affectionate French nickname, so depending on the area you live in I guess it's possible someone who hears you using it might assume you're French but again that doesn't seem like something to worry about really.

February 18, 2018 10:45 AM

the nn is ok and no I dont think of the sci-fi character

February 18, 2018 12:31 PM

The Fifth Element is certainly my first thought (the name is especially memorable because of the quotable "Lilou Dallas, multi-pass!" line), but I think for almost anyone who has this as an association it would be a positive, not a negative. You may have to deal with some of your peers asking if/assuming you're a fan of the movie, but I don't think there will be any significant downside for your daughter.

February 18, 2018 1:21 PM

If I hear "Leeloo" I'm going to think of The 5th Element, but if it's just a nickname it wouldn't bother me or make me think the parents were huge sci-fi fans. 

February 18, 2018 5:51 PM

I'm pretty sure I used to follow some French bloggers called Lilou, so my first thought is just "French."

I haven't seen The 5th Element and had to google the association. That said, the film is definitely on my radar, and is one of those films that all sorts of people tell me I have to see, so it seems to have some staying power.

On the other hand, it will be pretty old by the time your daughter is old enough to be affected by this, it's a positive association, and I agree with everything Natasha-Rhiannon said about associations being supplanted.

February 18, 2018 11:29 PM

I immediately think of the Fifth Element when I hear Leeloo, but not when I see Lilou written out, because then it has a broader French association. I don't think it should be a dealbreaker especially because it's a nickname, so if your daughter ever decides she feels burdened by the association with Mila Jovovich's character, she can pick a different nickname or use her full name. In the meantime, I'd own it and hang a poster in her nursery, or possibly make it baby's first halloween costume.

February 19, 2018 2:21 PM

What she said! While I immediately made the association to The 5th Element, there was something off. I was going, "OK, she's obviously referring to that movie, but I don't think the name was actually Lilou. Or was it?" It took seeing the Leeloo spelling to figure it out. 

I have no idea if I would make the movie association if I heard Lilou being spoken and there was no mention of a possible popular culture connection. Possibly if I had just seen the movie in the last month or so, but probably not otherwise. In that sense, I'd actually avoid the movie-poster-in-the-nursery approach.

February 19, 2018 6:06 PM

Baby Halloween might be kind of weird ... her two iconic outfits are quite skimpy (one made of like, strategically placed plastic straps, and the other that always reminded me of Pretty Woman)

February 19, 2018 6:31 PM

I was thinking of a white onesie, metallic leggings and then simply rigging something orange over the stroller harness for those weird suspender things (which are, yes, a bit Pretty Woman reminiscent but also look exactly like a five point harness). 

February 19, 2018 12:15 AM

I've seen The Fifth Element twice and could not tell you the name of a single character in that film. Until I read the comments on this post I thought the film you were talking about was "Lilo and Stitch" ...

February 19, 2018 1:19 AM

I also thought that it was Lilo & Stitch, or maybe Lindsay Lohan?

February 19, 2018 2:49 AM

How about Laura?