Samira Wiley and her wife Lauren Morelli welcomed their first child last month—a daughter they named George Elizabeth.
The television host asked Wiley, "George is her name. Why George for a girl?"
"People are very confused, some people, by it," Wiley said.
"We got to teach the new generation about this because I wish that I had some really in-depth story to tell people about George, 'cause I know that's what people want. You got to give the people what they want," the "Orange Is The New Black" star continued. "But I just really like the name, I just think it's really cute."
"I tried to do some research, I found out in the 1800s it was a girls name, but people don't believe me when I say that," she added. She also added that the Nancy Drew series had a female character named George.
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When Kimmel asked Wiley, "Why George for a girl?" he wasn't aggressive. He didn't shame her; he didn't say he disapproved of the name. But he did ask her to explain why she chose that name for a girl.
Here's the thing: Wiley and Morelli don't owe anyone an explanation for how they chose their daughter's name. Is it unconventional? To some people, maybe. Is it beautiful? Is it the name they've already given to their daughter? Yes and yes.
The question, "Why George for a girl?" asks Wiley to justify her decision. And she just doesn't have to. She liked the name. She and her wife chose it. That's all that really matters.
There are ways to ask new parents about their child's name that don't involve gender. For instance, Kimmel could have said, "George is a beautiful name! What was the inspiration there?" or, "That's a great name. How did you come up with that?"
Both of those questions would have allowed Wiley to talk about her daughter and how her name came to be—without asking her to justify their choice.