Another cartoon-inspired baby name! Actually there are two this time, as today’s character had two different identities.
Jem, which began airing in late 1985, was a cartoon about an all-girl rock band called Jem and the Holograms. Jem’s big secret? She didn’t really exist–she was just the alter ego of a character named Jerrica Benton, who used a powerful holographic computer (“Show time, Synergy!”) and a pair of hi-tech earrings to have the Jem hologram projected over her.
The Name Jem
Before the cartoon, there had been girls named Gem and boys named Jem (short for Jeremy/Jeremiah/James). But only in 1986 do baby girls named Jem start popping up on the SSA’s baby name list:
- 1991: 5 baby girls named Jem
- 1990: 8 baby girls named Jem
- 1989: 6 baby girls named Jem
- 1988: 9 baby girls named Jem
- 1987: 11 baby girls named Jem
- 1986: 5 baby girls named Jem [debut]
- 1985: unlisted
In total, at least 56 baby girls have been named Jem since 1986.
The Name Jerrica
The name Jerrica was in use well before the cartoon debuted, but without Jem it might never have cracked the top 1,000:
- 1990: 370 baby girls named Jerrica [ranked 609th]
- 1989: 402 baby girls named Jerrica [ranked 558th]
- 1988: 437 baby girls named Jerrica [ranked 506th]
- 1987: 318 baby girls named Jerrica [ranked 607th]
- 1986: 199 baby girls named Jerrica [ranked 836th]
- 1985: 64 baby girls named Jerrica
- 1984: 45 baby girls named Jerrica
It managed to stay in the top 1,000 all the way through 1995. Jerrica is still on the SSA’s list today, though the numbers aren’t too impressive anymore (i.e., only 27 baby girls were named Jerricas in 2009).
The names Jerica and Jerika also saw increased usage during this time, and variants of Jerrica that debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in the mid-to-late ’80s include Jarica, Gerica, Jherica, Gerrica, Jareka, Jericca, Jarika, Gerika, Jherrica, Jerryca and Jarrica.
Finally, because I know you’re just dying to hear it, here’s the Jem theme song (and opening sequence):