TIME Opinion

Ask an Ethicist: Can I Still Watch The Cosby Show?

Bill Cosby, Camille Cosby
Bill Cosby sits for an interview about the exhibit, Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington on Nov. 6, 2014. Evan Vucci—AP

I can get over the fact that Martin Luther King, Jr. cheated on his wife, but I don’t care that the Nazis made the trains run on time. Making that call is a moral calculus: when do the negative aspects of a public figure outweigh the positive? Granted, in Bill Cosby’s case, we’re talking about a comedian, but the question is relevant for The Cosby Show‘s legacy. Should I think less of The Cosby Show‘s power to teach and to change perceptions of race in America if it turns out Bill Cosby is a rapist?

Like most people, when I first heard word of allegations that Bill Cosby had raped multiple women, I impulsively pushed them to the back of my mind. For me, The Cosby Show’s legacy is personal. As a kid, the young Huxtables were among the few children on television with faces that looked like mine living well-adjusted upper middle class existences that resembled my own. When I considered my Cosby experience alongside the actor’s on-screen persona, a doctor and family man who combined life lessons with old-fashioned humor, I intuitively knew that he couldn’t be a serial rapist.

But eventually emotion gave way to reason. Seven women with little to gain have reported that Cosby committed the same heinous crime, rape, in the same way. So if someone like me, a life long fan, believes these women, where does that leave The Cosby Show? Are all of Cosby’s indelible life lessons suddenly moot? Does secretly watching an episode when no one is around condone sex crimes?

To help me think through these questions, I turned to ethicists and academics.

First, there’s the question of morality versus art. To condemn his actions, do I also have to repudiate the man and his work? I took this up with Jeremy David Fix, a fellow at Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics who studies moral philosophy: Would continuing to watch The Cosby Show harm anyone, even indirectly?

(MORE: So What Do We Do About The Cosby Show?)

On the one hand, watching the show helps in some small way line Bill Cosby’s pockets via residuals. On the other hand, with an estimated net worth of over $350 million at the age 77, he can already rest assured that he’ll live the rest of his life comfortably. But Harvard’s Fix asks a good question: What about the women who have been assaulted—what sort of message does it send if I keep supporting Cosby, even indirectly? I had to give up watching, I started to conclude. Otherwise, I might inadvertently send the signal that I think sexual assault is something that can be treated flippantly.

But how do I weigh the message that watching the show might send victims against the still-needed message that it sends to America at-large about race? I had finally stumped Fix. So I turned to historians and other thinkers to talk about the show’s legacy and whether i still has a positive role to play in discussions about race.

Joe Feagin, a sociologist who has written about The Cosby Show, talks eloquently about the indelible impression the show left on the country. Black Americans tend to celebrate the achievement of a top-rated show featuring a black cast in a positive light. They will probably keep doing that even if they condemn its creator. White Americans tend to celebrate the show as evidence that African-Americans can succeed in middle class life, Feagin said. While that view leaves society’s entrenched racism unaddressed, I’d still take Cosby over the Sanford and Son. Let’s face it, American residential communities are still largely racially homogenous, and it would certainly benefit future generations to see black families like the Huxtables.

So I tried to convince myself that somehow we could condemn Cosby’s rape message while continuing to watch the show. That is, I hoped we could separate Cliff Huxtable from Bill Cosby. But in the end, I don’t think we can any more. The two are so closely linked that as I tried to watch an episode of The Cosby Show this week, the image of Cliff kept reminding me of the actor’s pathetic silence in response to questions about the accusations him. If that distracted me, I can only imagine how an assault survivor would feel. The show has positively affected millions of Americans, and that legacy remains intact, but maybe it’s time for a new show to teach us about race. It’s a little overdue anyway.

TIME Culture

This is What Intersex Means

A brief introduction to the word

A longer version of LGBT is LGBTQQIA, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and allies. The last few letters tend to get far less attention than the first, but a woman who claimed she was dating the Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps at the time of his DUI recently has raised interest in the “I.”

“The truth is I have been living with secrets my whole life,” Taylor Lianne Chandler wrote on Facebook on Nov. 13. “I was born intersex and named David Roy Fitch at birth.”

Intersex is a term that refers to someone whose anatomy or genetics at birth—the X and Y chromosomes that are usually XX for women and XY for men—do not correspond to the typical expectations for either sex. The “I” is distinct from the “T” for transgender people, who are typically born with a biological sex that fits the norm for male or female and then grow up to identify with the opposite gender. Intersex babies are not obviously male or female to begin with, according to society’s general rules about what one’s physical characteristics and chromosomal makeup are supposed to signify.

As University of Oregon professor and intersex expert Elizabeth Reis writes in her book Bodies in Doubt, “In the United States and most other places, humans are men or they are women; they may not be neither or both. Yet not all bodies are clearly male or female.” That may mean a child has typical female chromosomes and ovaries but external bodies parts of a male. Or it could mean the body parts that a doctor typically looks to when declaring a baby to be a girl or boy are incompletely formed, or ambiguous. Sometimes it’s clear in the delivery room, sometimes intersex people don’t become aware of their status until they are teenagers and puberty doesn’t happen as expected.

Performing surgery on an intersex baby is controversial. In South Carolina, the parents of an adopted intersex child are suing a hospital and its employees for surgically assigning “M.C.’s” sex as female at 16-months-old. Now around 10 years old, the child identifies as a boy. “Genital ‘normalizing’ surgery does not create or cement a gender identity; it just takes tissue away that the patient may want later,” writes the Intersex Society of North America in their position statement. Some in the intersex community choose not to have any medically unnecessary surgeries to change how they were born, even after they are old enough to identify their own gender and sexual orientation.

Though it’s hard to say exactly how common being intersex is (since it’s debatable which people belong under that umbrella term), medical experts say that genital anomalies occur in about 1 in 2,000 babies.

It’s worth noting that the word hermaphrodite is considered insensitive and stigmatizing by many who see it as “vague, demeaning, and sensationalistic, conjuring mythic images of monsters and freaks,” as Reis writes. Some parents have also balked at the word intersex, pushed by activists in the 1990s, feeling it suggests their child has a third gender and can not be a girl or a boy. In the medical establishment, the wide variety of conditions that might be referred to as intersex are typically referred to as disorders of sex development. Reis has advocated shifting that to divergence of sex development, to avoid the connotations of disorder, much as gender identity disorder was rebranded gender dysphoria by medical professionals addressing transgender people.

TIME Media

Thank You, Duggars, Your Homophobia Is Really a Public Service

Duggar family - Woodbridge, VA
Reality telvision celebrities, Jim Bob Duggar, center, and his wife, Michelle Duggar make a stop on their "Values Bus Tour" outside Heritage Baptist Church on Wednesday October 16, 2013 in Woodbridge, VA. The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Brian Moylan is a writer and pop culture junkie.

When gay marriage is passing in state after state, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is on the bandwagon

You would think that, decades after Anita Bryant went on a crusade to rid gay people from public life, we’d be sick of hearing D-listers call us names and voice their hatred against us in public. The latest to really take a stand against gays is Michelle Duggar, the human baby factory who is the matriarch on the reality show “19 Kids and Counting.” This may sound strange, but I would actually like to thank her for her recent behavior.

The Duggars stirred up controversy when they recently asked for people to post pictures of married couples kissing on their Facebook page and then deleted a picture of a gay married couple kissing. (Hello? Who do you think is keeping TLC in business?) When the news of this leaked, activists directed people to sign a Change.org petition to “end LGBTQ fear mongering by the Duggars” and calls for the show to be canceled because of their behavior. It now has well over 120,000 signatures.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t Michelle’s only recent offense. She also recorded a robocall asking that the people of Fayetteville, Arkansas, vote to repeal a law that stops discrimination based on gender identity. Basically she wants people to be able to discriminate against transgender men and women.

Now some people think that we need to silence the Duggars and those like them. I think we should let them keep going. Nothing defeats complacency like knowing exactly where gay people stand with millions of Americans. Now, it’s not a shock that the overly religious Duggars don’t like gay people. That’s sort of like saying that Paula Deen likes butter. But, when gay marriage is passing in state after state, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is on the bandwagon. There are still large groups of Americans out there who want to rob us of our rights, and if we don’t stay vigilant, we’ll never win the war.

Right now we’re having a bit of success in dealing with pop culture homophobes. In May, HGTV decided to cancel a show they were planning to air featuring David and Jason Benham when it was discovered that they had made some nasty comments about gay people very publicly.

Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty made some very homophobic comments to GQ this January, and was mouthing off once again this May about how gay sex is unnatural. He was suspended from A&E briefly for his behavior and the ratings for the show tanked after his disclosure.

That’s why we need these people to keep talking. There’s no doubt in my mind that there is hatred in the hearts of many people for LGBTQ men and women in this country, but if that hatred just stays in their hearts they’ll be working against us without our knowledge. The louder they become, the easier it is to target them. And when we can target them, well, we’ve seen that we can do things to shut them up. If only we could give them all a pie in the face like Anita Bryant got.

Having loudmouth opponents also serves as an effective recruiting tool for allies to gay civil rights causes. Like it or not, reality stars like the Duggars and especially the Robertsons–whose most recent season finale still clocked almost 4 million viewers–have a huge stage. When they make these sorts of remarks there is always a media firestorm and each time that happens, I would like to think that there is at least one fan out there who thinks, “God, what an idiot.” Hopefully that opens up some minds and shows those out there who may not be very hospitable to the “gay lifestyle” that bigotry is distasteful no matter how it manifests itself.

We don’t get to teach these lessons, show our strength or fight these battles if these people are silent. We need people like Michelle Duggar to be loud in order to get the hard work of activism done. So no matter how much it sucks, we have to just take it on the chin every time one of these yahoos has the bright idea to spout off. Trust me, it’s for the greater good. Every time a reality star says something ignorant about the LGBT community, a gay angel gets her wings.

Oscar Wilde, one of the world’s most public and tragic gay men, said “True friends stab you in the front.” There is no doubt in my mind that there are plenty of misinformed people in America carrying daggers against gay people, including those who have a public forum to discuss those views. Why would we want them hiding that hatred in the shadows when, out in the open, it can be diffused, acted on and used as a teaching tool to get more people on our side. We should all thank Michelle Duggar. She thinks that she’s stabbing gay Americans in the front, but what she’s really doing is bloodying herself.

Brian Moylan is a writer and pop culture junkie who lives in New York. His work has appeared in Gawker, VICE, New York magazine, and a few other safe-for-work publications.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Culture

How Herman Cain and President Obama Brought Down Bill Cosby

Actor Bill Cosby in New York in 2011.
Bill Cosby in New York in 2011. Lucas Jackson—Reuters

John McWhorter is an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University.

The allegations have been around for years. But we're only now willing to judge black icons like everybody else.

With the curtain falling on Bill Cosby’s career in the wake of multiple accusations of his raping women throughout his career, many have asked why it took so long for America to condemn the man. This seam in his past has been aired quite often over the past 10 years, and yet his iconic status as America’s favorite (black) Dad has continued, with NBC having even been readying to build yet another sitcom around him until this Wednesday. What is it about now that is making us — white, black and other — see Cosby plain?

Partly, Barack Obama and Herman Cain.

Of course, two other factors, more apparent, have played a role — but alone, they would not have popped the lock.

For one, Cosby has alienated many black people with his criticisms of black behavior, crystallized in the now famous “Pound Cake speech” of 2004 commemorating Brown v. the Board of Education. When black comedian Hannibal Buress charged that Cosby is a racist, sparking the latest events when the clip went viral, Buress was explicit that it rankles him that Cosby has called for black people to “Pull your pants up,” etc. when Cosby himself had, shall we say, not done so.

Yet, the dirt on Cosby had been aired far and wide soon after the Pound Cake speech, with black author and pundit Michael Eric Dyson even covering the territory in his 2005 book, a broadside against Cosby’s cultural opinions. Newsweek, The Today Show, People, and other sources chimed in around the same time. No one remotely interested in Cosby could have missed the charges, and while today Twitter and Facebook get things around especially quickly, by 2005 and 2006 broadband and blogs were already influencing opinion at a dizzying rate. Irritation over Cosby’s views alone, then, did not threaten his iconic status — especially given that more black people than often acknowledged actually concur with Cosby’s cultural opinions.

The second factor in why Cosby has been outed now — one that is key, but not decisive — is that sexual violation of women has been so widely discussed in America over the past few years. The “legitimate rape” conceptions of congressman Todd Akin and today’s calls for universities to address the frequency of rape on their campuses have made it much less likely that Cosby’s behavior could be given a pass.

But even this doesn’t fully answer the “Why now?” question. Enlightened American sensibilities about rape have not taken a quantum leap since, say, 2005. The major dividing line for that would be in the early ’90s, when sexual harassment and date rape entered mainstream discussion and forever banished the old-time Mad Men idea that such things were a mere matter of some men being “all hands.” Who by 2005, upon hearing about what Cosby did, was thinking “Oh well, boys will be boys!”?

We get closer to truth in Rebecca Traister’s point that America has been afraid to condemn Cosby out of a sense that it would be almost sacrilegious to pull down such an iconic representation of blackness. More specifically, whites have given him a pass out of a sense that it would be racist not to, while blacks have been reluctant to assist in the defrocking of such a beloved figure, chary of aiding and abetting whites in racist dismissal of black achievement and authority.

What has made the difference is that certain happenings of late have let America make a particular kind of post-Civil Rights adjustment: getting past the polite fiction that all criticisms of a black person are racist, and if not overtly then “on a certain level.”

Namely here is where Cain and Obama come in. The implosion of Herman Cain’s quest for the Republican nomination in 2011 in the wake of charges (from white women) of sexual harassment and infidelity was a handy transition. Cain’s Republican politics and jolly dismissal of traditional Civil Rights positions meant that few blacks were primed to dismiss the accusations against him as racist, as a “lynching,” and so on. Instead, we simply saw Cain as a man brought down for proper reasons, his color beside the point.

It probably had to be a black Republican that this happened to. But since then, a consensus has settled in on the question as to how much of a part racism plays in the animus of those who dislike President Obama. And the verdict is: racism does play some part. But still, only ideologues think racism is the only reason, or even close to the only reason, someone might not be crazy about Obama’s performance in the Oval Office.

At best, Obama is likely to go down as having been an OK President, and in grappling with that, Blue America has gotten a quiet lesson in evaluating black people according to the content of their character — despite having thought they already did that by voting for him in the first place.

Hence a moment when it is newly easy to see Cosby not as a Black Gentleman With Some Issues but as a man, period, with some serious moral flaws, deserving no more “understanding” about it than Senator Bob Packwood did about his related tendencies. Meanwhile, black America, having seen that in our times the public can turn on, or trenchantly criticize, a black public figure without igniting a general backlash against black achievement, is less likely to circle the wagons around someone like Cosby than it formerly would have been.

What stings about Cosby is that someone with his warm humor and furious commitment to uplift could at the same time have such a pitilessly abusive take on women and sex. It’s like finding this out about your Dad, or certainly for me. Cosby and my own father were both working-class black men of a certain Philadelphia generation, and there was even a commonality of demeanor; my father was funny in the exact same way as Cosby, and danced just like Cosby did in the credits of the Cosby Show.

But Dad didn’t rape women. The lesson is that that kind of evil can lurk in the hearts of any kind of man, and we need to watch for it and call it out when it turns up to dissuade its survival in our civilization. And this time we’re learning it not from A Black Man, but from someone we, in a way, honor by treating as just a man. Weirdly, this is a kind of progress.

Read next: Bill Cosby, Camille Cosby and the Oppressive Power of Silence

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Culture

In Free the Nipple Movie, Women Go Topless for Equality

“Someone is definitely getting arrested.”

Censorship matters to Lina Esco, whose new film Free the Nipple tells the story of a group of activists challenging laws by baring their chests in the streets.

For Esco, “It’s not about going topless, it’s about equality.” The movie grew out of a real-life campaign that questions a country that glorifies violence in the media but removes a woman from a flight for breastfeeding her baby. As one of the fictional activists says in the trailer, “Our sexuality has been taken away from us and is essentially being sold back to us.”

The movement got a jump-start when Miley Cyrus, who has faced plenty of censorship herself, tweeted a picture of herself holding a fake nipple last December, accompanied by the hashtag #freethenipple. It’s not lost on Esco that the sensationalism of a bunch of topless women can only help to spread the word about her cause. “If I would have made a movie called ‘Equality,’ and no one was going topless,” she acknowledged to Entertainment Weekly, “nobody would be talking about it.”

Free the Nipple hits theaters on Dec. 12.

TIME health

New Crisis Line Aims to Help Transgender People at Risk of Suicide

On 2014's annual day of remembrance for transgender victims of violence, a new hotline is ready to field calls

On Nov. 20, people are gathering at events around the nation to read names of transgender people who have died in the past year in violent crimes. The descriptions on the website for the occasion, the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, are chilling: “massive trauma, found dead in an alley,” “murdered and burned,” “gunshot to the back.” Transgender people, particularly transgender women, are subject to high rates of violence and harassment. A 2013 report found that 72% of homicide victims in LGBT-related hate crimes were transgender women of color.

On this somber day, an organization based in the Bay Area is trying to get the word out that there’s a new resource available to fight what may be an even deadlier problem among transgender people: suicide.

According to the most definitive report on transgender issues in recent years, 41% of transgender people attempt to commit suicide, a statistic that doesn’t necessarily factor in successful attempts. That’s a number that the people behind Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860), a crisis hotline staffed entirely by transgender people, want to see decreased.

“There are a ton of suicide hotlines. There’s no shortage of them,” says Greta Martela, a software engineer and president of the organization that went live this month. “But it’s really difficult to get a person who isn’t trans to understand what it’s like to be trans.”

Empathy is a powerful emotion for people attempting to come to terms with being transgender. Many transgender people say they only had the courage to come out once they met someone else who was living a happy life as an openly transgender person, people Orange Is the New Black actress Laverne Cox calls “possibility models.”

Martela came out last year, as a 44-year-old parent. Before she did, she was plagued by anxiety and debilitating panic attacks. In the process of coming out, she called a suicide hotline. A man answered the phone, she says, and when she explained the trouble she was having, he just went quiet and told her to go to the hospital. “They had no idea how to deal with a trans woman,” she says. And when she got to the hospital seeking help, she had to explain what being transgender was to the hospital staff.

Her aim is to get people in crisis—whether that person is a suicidal, closeted teenager or the confused parent of a six-year-old—access to volunteers who can understand what they’re going through right away and direct them to more help wherever they are. “Those are the people I want to call the most,” Martela says of parents who are trying to understand what a child is going through. “Getting them good resources could spare their child a lifetime of pain.”

Right now, the corporation—which has applied for status as a non-profit—is a shoestring operation, fueled by open source software that allows Trans Lifeline to funnel calls to on-duty volunteers wherever they are. They’re raising funds for advertising to get their number out there, to people like Martela who couldn’t find anything like the hotline when she needed it. “There’s a body count associated with people not accepting trans people,” Martela told TIME in a previous interview for a cover story on transgender issues. “It’s costing lives.”

TIME Opinion

Bill Cosby, Camille Cosby and the Oppressive Power of Silence

What the couple's response to allegations of sexual assault reveal about the scandal

Camille Cosby smiles, uncomfortably shifting in her chair. Staring off camera, switching positions, silent. In the latest contribution to the Bill Cosby saga, we see husband and wife side by side as he addresses the very act of questioning about his numerous rape allegations in an AP interview (above). Mrs. Cosby continues to smile and looks away from the reporter several times, both she and her husband presuming that the cameras have stopped rolling. I will not read into her silence. I will not pull meaning about this woman and her thoughts and decisions other than to say that in the watching, the silence is palpable, wince-inducing and profoundly painful.

That exchange highlights the most meaningful currency in this 30+ year long drama that is just now seeing its climax unfold on the public stage: silence. At every turn, it is the silence that serves as a proxy for power in the story of Bill Cosby, his alleged sexual deviance and the current downward spiral of public opinion. Silence here, as in most cases, represents the power wielded and power taken by those who are seen as, well, powerful.

In Cosby’s story we find accusations of women being silenced for decades by threats, lawyers, fear and a generally defensive public, who until now were uninterested in being awakened from sweet dreams of their TV father.

The NPR audio interview released last week showcases Cosby’s clearly pre-determined response to the softest, almost nervous questions about the rape allegations: deafening silence.

This should not be viewed as the mature response of a well respected, integrity filled man (and in the case of his wife, a beloved, regal woman) attempting to maintain dignity and stay above the fray. It should be seen as what it is: A power move by a someone so arrogant that he thinks he shouldn’t even be asked about the fact that 15 women are accusing him of a horrific crime.

The silence of those publicly associated with Mr. Cosby is also noticeable, as comedians who revere him and actors and actresses whose careers were made by him avoid addressing the not-new bombshell like the plague.

And even in the most recent AP video, as Mrs. Cosby sits idly by, the central tension between Mr. Cosby and the reporter revolves around him pressuring the journalist into, what? Silence. He calmly yet persistently requests the editing out of his own “no comment” response to the reporter’s request for a statement. Be clear: In the actual interview, Mr. Cosby refused to discuss it, saying “I don’t talk about that.” It is that exchange that he wants scrubbed from the record. He even wants his silence silenced.

History teaches us that silence is often the most effective tool of power. It forces others into submission. It attempts to control a narrative. It hides things. And it is often a strategic attempt on the part of the powerful to shame other voices – the victims, the oppressed, the challengers, the inquisitors – into a similar silence.

But right now as Missouri police use military tactics and tear gas to force silence upon outraged but peaceful Ferguson protestors and rich executives threaten female reporters who won’t stop talking with personal attacks pulled from private investigators (see the latest Uber controversy), silence is not ok.

And that is why, despite our national love of Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, silence is not an option. Not for me. Not for his countless fans. Not for a media finally ready to deal with the dirt and thankfully, not for the women who are sharing their painful, private stories. It is time to counter his silence with other forms of power. The power of our common sense to see behind a made-for-TV character. The power of these women to, at the very least, have their voices heard. And the power for all of us to seek truth and justice, however unsettling it may be.

Read next:

TIME Culture

People Are Naming Their Babies Katniss Thanks to The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. Murray Close—Lionsgate

See the history of franchise-inspired baby naming

The first Hunger Games scorched its way to the top of the box office.

Its $152.5 million opening weekend in North America made it the fifth-highest-grossing debut of all time. The release of the second film—The Hunger Games: Catching Fire—didn’t disappoint either, grossing $161 million in its first weekend, overtaking The Dark Knight Rises as the fourth-best debut as well as securing its spot as the highest-grossing debut starring a female lead in history.

Nor did theater-goers lose their luster for the films after opening weekend. Together, they’ve raked in about $1.5 billion globally. And with the release of MockingjayPart 1 this Thursday and the last installment still to come, the franchise stands to make a lot more.

The movies owe much of their smashing success to Katniss Everdeen, a character all audiences, not just teenage females, have fallen in love with. In fact, crowds over 25 and under 25 were evenly split during Catching Fire’s opening weekend. And while there were more women than men in attendance—59 percent female vs. 41 percent male—crowds were more evenly split by weekend number two, comprised of 51 percent females and 49 percent males. Compare that to an 80 percent female audience for Twilight.

So why does Katniss have so much appeal?

According to Jennifer Lawrence in an interview with NPR, “She’s not a hero…she’s just a girl who’s standing up for what’s right when something is wrong, when it’s hard – and when it’s scary.”

Whatever the attraction is that’s driving voracious appetites at the box office, it’s not only in record-breaking sales where Katniss Everdeen is leaving a mark. She’s also left a mark—a very permanent mark—in the lives of dozens of baby girls across the U.S.

Why? They’ve been given her name. That’s right, 29 girls have been named Katniss since the release of the first Hunger Games in 2012, according to an analysis by research engine FindTheBest. That’s up from a grand total of zero baby girls given the name Katniss every year prior.

It’s not only Katniss who’s inspiring a baby name trend. Strong female characters in popular literature turned film have influenced the names of hundreds of baby girls. Take Harry Potter’s leading lady, Hermione Granger. Her name stayed flat in the single digits from 1932 to 2001, but jumped to 17 occurrences in 2002, the year after the first Harry Potter movie was released. And it didn’t stop there; more than 500 girls have been named Hermione since.

HBO’s Game of Thrones is another big name influencer, with Khaleesi (which means queen) leading the way. Like Katniss, the name Khaleesi was virtually nonexistent before Game of Thrones aired in 2011, but it’s been climbing rapidly ever since.

Even Khaleesi’s real name, Daenerys, saw a spike that hasn’t stopped climbing in popularity since Game of Thrones aired.

And of course, the Twilight saga has influenced names as well. We can’t say for sure if Bella Swan is to credit for the recent uptick in her name—the first Twilight book was published in 2005 and the name has been rising since the 1990s—but we can see the effect other characters have had. Rosalie for example, was a popular name in the 1930s, but didn’t make a comeback until the first Twilight movie was released in 2008.

Even Renesmee, a mashup of the names Renée and Esme—two other female characters in the series—sprung into existence in 2008. Although Renesmee’s character wasn’t in the first Twilight movie, she was in the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, which was published in 2008.

So what’s next on the baby name front? Maybe parents will take a liking to the name Tris, from the latest book series turned 2014 blockbuster film, Divergent. It’s a name that went out of style in the 1970s, but could be due for a comeback.

More from FindTheBest

Best Cars on the Markets for Under $20,000

16 Surprisingly Short Male Celebrities

The 15 Richest Members of Congress

TIME Food

Holiday Ham May Be Pricier Than Ever

A deadly virus killed millions of piglets.

Ham might take a bigger cut out of your budget this holiday season.

Prices have soared to a record high this fall ahead of the holidays—when half of total ham consumption occurs—after a devastating virus shrank the number of hogs slaughtered this year by more than five percent, Bloomberg reports.

The price has been pushed up further because farmers have fed their hogs more to fatten them up and make up for losses caused by the virus; while fatter pigs mean more meat, their hind legs can grow too large for the seven-pound spiral-cut, half hams popular during the holidays.

Read more at Bloomberg

TIME Culture

New Sex Assault Allegation Leveled Against Bill Cosby

Another woman alleges Cosby drugged her into sexual activity decades ago

Another woman has come forward with allegations that she was sexually abused decades ago by actor and comedian Bill Cosby.

Speaking to People, Therese Serignese, 57, claims that when she was 19 years old, Cosby pressured her into taking Quaaludes and engaging in sexual activity after his show in Las Vegas. Serignese also said she provided a supporting deposition in a civil suit back in 2006 that was brought by another accuser and settled out of court.

Since 2005, more than a dozen women have accused Cosby of drugging or sexually abusing them. The allegations — which have not led to criminal charges — have recently garnered increased attention and prompted NBC to drop a planned Cosby sitcom and Netflix to postpone his comedy special.

Read more at People

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser