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The Name Game: Gender Benders

07/24/2009 at 01:30 PM ET

Once upon a time, naming a little girl ‘Cameron’ was considered radical…but Cameron Diaz arrived on the scene and forever changed the perception of a name that was historically given to boys. Other unisex names, like Taylor and Morgan, soon followed suit. But celebrity parents are known for pushing the envelope, and when it comes to selecting gender bending names they often lead the charge. Linda Rosenkrantz, co-founder of nameberry.com, notes that names like James and Judah had previously been considered 100% strictly male — until they were selected by Brendan Fehr and Ziggy Marley, respectively, for their baby girls! What’s the appeal? Linda explains,

“Boys names on girls bestow on their bearers a certain tomboyish, cutting edge image, an attention-catching rebel sensibility –  and possibly an attempt to level the playing field.”

With that said, there are obvious downsides. Linda cites the possibility for “all kinds of mix-ups and confounded expectations,” including even correspondence confusion. On paper — at least — most people would expect James to be a “Mr.,” and not a “Ms,” she notes. “There has also been some negative reaction from parents of boys with these names, fearing that if too many other girls are named, say, Finley, it might rob the name of some of its good old Celtic masculine punch, and eventually, as in the cases of Ashley and Addison, come to be considered a girls’ name,” Linda adds.

Soleil Moon Frye and Jagger Goldberg, Kelsey and Mason Grammer, Angie Harmon and Emery Sehorn — Charley Gallay/WireImage; Byron Purvis/AdMedia; Andrew Macpherson for PEOPLE for use on CBB

Click below to see which celebrity couple Linda calls ‘serial boundary breakers.’

So who are the biggest celebrity baby gender benders? Linda cites Diane Keaton (with daughter Dexter), Michelle Branch (with daughter Owen) and Kelsey Grammer (with daughters Mason and Spencer). Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn are “serial boundary breakers” with daughters Avery, Finley and Emery – but Linda points out that names ending in an ‘ee’ sound do have a feminine feel, as do the soft endings of a Judah or a Noah, the latter of which was selected by Billy Ray Cyrus for his youngest daughter.

There are other ways to up the ‘girl’ quotient! Linda adds,

“Often these names are softened with a super-feminine middle name, as in [Melissa Etheridge's daughter] Johnnie Rose and [Rebecca Romijn's daughter] Charlie Tamara Tulip.  On the other hand, Soleil Moon Frye gave her daughter a double dose of boys’ names — Jagger Joseph.”

In addition to her work with nameberry.com, Linda has co-authored ten baby-naming books with Pamela Redmond Satran. Their newest title, Beyond Ava & Aiden, is available now.

– Missy

Which gender-bending names do you like best? Least? Would you use one with your own child?

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Showing 145 comments

N on

I HATE that Madison has become a girls name, as it is my grandfathers name! I want to use it so badly for a son, but I just don’t know that I can. And I really like Avery and Hayes for girls, although, I am one for uber-girly names, I would have to say that those are my favorite gender-bending names!

Elizabeth on

My favorite gender bending names are Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn’s daughters. Finley, Avery, and Emery I think are beautiful girls names. My least favorite is Soleil Moon Frye and Jason Goldberg naming their daughter Jagger Joseph Blue. I totally understand wanting to try and feminize a usually masculine name and separate I think they could work but Jagger, Joseph, and Blue all together don’t work for a girl in my personal opinion.

youcantcallitit on

And not just Jagger Joseph- Jagger Joseph BLUE! They had the name picked out for either gender.

Male Kelsey names daughters Mason and Spencer. I somehow did not know this.

Bebe on

I have an intense dislike for the use of traditionally male names used on girls. There are so many stunning, underused girl’s names that using a male’s name for a daughter feels lazy and unoriginal to me.

On the flip side, why is it okay to use a traditionally male name on a girl, but not to use a traditionally female name on a boy?

someone on

In my country they are female names and male names and there’s no confusion about it, noone gives a girl a boy’s name or viceversa. So I’ve always been shocked about this gender bender names thing in the US, it’s very confusing, you see a name and you never know if it’s a girl or a boy.

Lis on

I hate when girls are given traditionally boys names. I just don’t get it. There are thousands of thousands of beautiful, feminine names and yet some choose to name their daughter “Ryan”.

Just not a fan, but to each their own, I presume.

Erika on

I like Avery, not Finley, but Avery sounds too feminine to be a boys name anyway, I can’t believe anyone would chose it. I don’t like Jagger Joseph, because, while I am not opposed to a male middle name for a girl (especially if it’s after someone) I think they should then have a feminine middle name (for example a girl named Samantha Jack, or Amanda Joseph would be okay, not with two male names).
I think names like Jordan, Cameron, Riley, Taylor, Peyton and Avery sound silly on boys. And I knew a boy named Mackenzie. Yes Mackenzie!! (Totally a girl name IMO).

By the way, who is the man in the middle with his daughter on his shoulders? I don’t recognize him.

jaja on

It is interesting that so many boy’s names – even going way back like Lindsay, Ashley, and Marian – are considered girl’s names now or at least unisex, while it doesn’t really work the other way around. Being a girl or ‘feminine’ is still seen as very negative for boys. Personally I don’t have a problem with ‘gender-bender’ names…it’s the ‘younyque’ spellings I hate!

Ashley on

The man in the middle is Kelsey Grammer with his daughter, Mason.
I do not like the name Payton or Riley for girls although they are both used frequently on girls. :(
I love both the names for boys however, and hope to have a son named Payton one day :)

Ashley on

Also Jordan bothers me as a girl’s name as well. My boyfriend’s name is Jordan and just wish these cute boys names would stay on boys.

Meghan on

I have an “Addison” myself and I never really saw this as a boy name.

I also considered the names Avery, Hayden, Chase, Chance, and Noah for her.

To each their own. I love how people come up with names and give their kid a different name. I think it shows versatility.

I love names, and i do not judge people by what they name their children. Because I know i don’t want to be judged for naming my own children. Even though some do and some will.

Jessica on

I like Noah and Shiloh for both boys ang girls. Those are my favorite gender-bender names.

Emily on

I LOVE boys names for girls. My daughter has a double boy name and almost every name we thought about for her was boy-ish. She is a girly girl in every way so I love that her name balances it all out.

I really love Mason for a girl but it rhymes with my son’s name so we didn’t use it.

Sorry so many people don’t like it. Oh well!

Erika on

I can’t believe I didn’t know that was Kelsey Grammer, but thanks for telling me!

And Meghan, I love the name Addison (and I can’t picture it on a boy)! :)

Lulu on

I’m not sure you can accuse Noah of being a wholly a boy’s name. It appears in the bible as both a male and female name. Granted it’s more common as a boys name, but I wouldn’t claim that the Cyrus’ are being particularly rebellious.

Me on

I’ve met men who’s names were Lori, Kelly, Shannon, and Ashley.

I personally am not a fan of “gender bending”

Emma on

I really like unisex names especially the names Kelsey Grammer has for all his daughters. The name Noah is very popular in Israel as a girls name – Noa.

brannon on

I also love boys names for girls though I must say it made it difficult naming my son. I tried to avoid anything with the potential to someday be a girly name. In his class last year he had an Elliot, a Bradley, a mason, a Blake and a Michael – all girls. I hope that since his name has a female derivutive in Olivia that it will remain masculine. Not so sure that this is not happening the other way around though as we currently have young male stars named Ashley and Taylor. Maybe feminine names can reverse the trend?

dee on

Being a girl or ‘feminine’ is still seen as very negative for boys.

On the flip side, why is it okay to use a traditionally male name on a girl, but not to use a traditionally female name on a boy?

I’ve always found that funny jaja (totally agree with you about the spelling thing too) and Bebe but it’s not really suprising. We don’t think twice about putting blue on little girls but a lot of people would go ballistic if you put any pink on a boy. But I think in pretty much all cultures femininity is seen as weaker than masculinity and well who would want to be seen as weakening their sons. Most people will tell you they want a pretty name for a girl and a strong name for a by.

And Ericka it’s funny you say that about the name Mackenzie, the only children I know of named Mackenzie are girls, and all of the adults I know are grown men.

dee on

ASHLEY WROTE: “Also Jordan bothers me as a girl’s name as well. My boyfriend’s name is Jordan and just wish these cute boys names would stay on boys.”

That’s truly funny and ironic coming from an Ashley. lol

Casandra on

I hate unisex names. The whole trend of naming girls traditional boys names is ridiculous to me. I’m a teacher and I cannot tell you the countless times where I call out a name, assume it’s a boy, and to find out a girl is disappointing. I once had a fema;e Ryan start crying because a group of kids decided it would be funny to tell her she was a boy instead of a girl.

And to make it worse, parents think they’re being creative and “unique” when they misspell the names even further. Misspelling a name doesn’t make it unique or special, it just makes it harder for everyone else to pronounce/spell. It doesn’t make the name anymore “feminine” or “masculine”.

I have no probablem with feminine names having boyish nicknames (Samatha, Francesca, Alexandra, Michaela, Daniela, etc.) but that atleast gives the girl some options. Naming your daughter a masculine name really gives her no choice.

Erica on

I don’t mind gender bending names as much when they are paired with a solidly male or female middle name (ie James Olivia and Jaden Christopher). I also think biblical names like Judah, Noah, and Elijah sound lyrical and feminine on girls, but strong and masculine when the middle names fit the gender of the child. It’s pretty rare when a name is that versatile, though.

I feel sorry for all of the older male Addisons, Madisons, and Finleys that there name is now increasingly being perceived as feminine. IMO those three functioning as mostly female now will be a passing trend, and will probably cycle back to being mostly male.

What I don’t get is when people claim that there is nothing wrong or odd about giving a little girl a 100% masculine name like Jagger Joseph Blue, when it’s pretty clear that if this were a boy and he had been name Jennifer Josephine Rose people would not be so accepting. Call it antiquated but I do think the sex of the child matters a lot when it comes to naming.

Shea on

Sorry Erika, but Mackenzie is actually a boys name, it is Gaelic and means “Son of the Fair or Handsome One”,it’s only been used as a girl’s name for the past 10 or 15 years or so.

Mary-Helen on

I have a Sydney & an Addison and never really saw them as boy’s names, I thought they sounded feminine. I know they were unisex names @ one point, but to me they just sounded girlie. My girls are the girliest girls you will ever meet, so that kind of reenforces them as feminine names to me. My youngest daughter due in late summer is going to be named Hadley, which apparently used to be a boy’s name, but I can’t see it on a boy @ all.

However, the ones like Dylan, Noah, Mason, etc all are very boyish to me and I wouldn’t use them on a girl. Charlie, Riley and Johnny are some other ones I think are way too boyish.

angela on

I really like Hayes or Hayden for a girl or a boy. It’s so much easier to name a female something more masculine; I don’t think the same is true for boys with more feminine-sounding names. Having said that, I don’t like what Julianne Marguiles named her son – Kieran Lindsay (sounds cool as a girl’s name, though), and I definitely cannot wrap my brain around Jagger Joseph Blue. Poor girl!!

Sherri on

I think it’s unfair that girls are “stealing” boy’s names… It’s totally going out on a limb these days to name your son Cameron or Taylor…

My two kiddos have gender-specific names: Samantha & Lawrence… but their NICKNAMES are gender-benders: Sammi & Lawrie. ;-)

I definitely get *more* flack over Lawrie’s nickname… but that name too, was stolen by girls. “Laurie” and “Lauren” are derivations of Laurence.

Erika on

I also hate mispelled names and I have one….sort of.

My name (Erika) is the way it would have been spelled in Austria or Germany where all of my relatives came from since Erika is the more European spelling (as I’ve been told) so my parents decided to spell it differently so I would have a part of my culture in my name. I like that part of it, but I hate it when it gets mispelled. When I have children, they will have the common spellings.

Just a question for those who hate ‘younique’ spellings (as do I) would you consider my name to be like that? Just wondering, since I’m really not sure if I do.

Rebecca on

My husband and i are all for genderbending names. we have all girls and they all have “masculine” names. Payton Lynne 3, Mckenzy Jaimes 1, and in october we will be welcoming Taylor Grace.so i am all for it. but, i do think these are names that are pretty well viewed as girl names now. i am not for the over the top male names on baby girls though. jagger joseph blue..is just well shameful.she will be viewed as a male on paper until she is actually standing in front of them.

C on

Wow. I actually thought that Avery, Finley and Emery WERE girls names lol.

breiah on

Erika when people say unique spellings it’s usually taking a boys name and putting a y where the o should be in son and adding more letters than necessary, i.e. Madison becomes Madisynn.

Your name is fine and I don’t consider misspelled at all the same for Elizabeth or Elisabeth, etc. It’s when you try to change the spelling of mens names to make them more feminine is what is kind of the point. I say if you are going to give your daughty a boys name, give her a boys name.

Ceceilia on

Clarke is my favorite boys name for a little girl

brannon on

No. Erica and erika fairly common but I taught an erykah which was over the top. Also know an Arica which is a bit odd.
-

VEO on

I’m a fan of gender-bender names! I think its cute, but Jagger Joseph-Blue is too masculine for such a pretty little girl! We like Lilly James, Ryan Sawyer and Noa Lynne :)

ann on

When you think about it there are many names that we just assume are girls names, but were originally boys names as well – like Lynn, Kelly, Tracy and Terry.

kai on

oh, yes, can we please have a name game on the “younique” spelling thing? I want to know why people do that, it’s so odd to me.

erika, no, I think a cultural reference is different. Plus, being German your spelling seems perfectly fine to me;)

on the gender bending issue… I quite like the name ‘nico’ for a girl (thandie newton’s daughter, I believe), but I wouldn’t do that myself, especially not over here.

abc on

I have triplets Adelaide, Beverley and Sidney and they all have very feminine middle names plus I would never think of using Beverley and Sidney for a boy

kmf on

I tend to like gender neutral names as well, and prefer to see them paired with a middle name that will give some indication of the gender. We named our daughter Quinn, which I know is a bit more popular for boys than girls, but to me it was a girl’s name.

I like Avery for either gender, Emery is cute as well. Not a huge fan of Noah or Mason on a girl though, those seem all boy to me.

Kristi on

There was an article online that I read that was a really cute story. A woman named Kelly searched her name on Facebook because she was bored and found a man name Kelly (both had the same last names…I can’t remember what though). She thought he was cute so she sent him a message…they eventually got engaged! No worries for her about getting used to signing things with her new last name : )Hopefully they will not name their children Kelly…that might get confusing.

Dina on

That’s it. I’m naming my next son Michelle, and his sister shall be Marcus.

Jenna on

Im undecided on the whole boys for girl name thing. I think sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt.

But its becoming far to common now where boys names are being used so much on girls that its perceived as “strange” for a boy to have a name like Ashley, Finley, Riley, Taylor etc.

As it stands right now.. i know 2 Finley, 2 Rileys, boys.. and a girl Taylor.

I like Elliot for a girl, but i think thats just mainly my love for scrubs. And im partial to Carter for a girl, because of Stargate. Even though its her surname, its the name shes usually called, and it works.

Danielle on

It’s funny and interesting reading everyone’s responses. I don’t know where everyone is from. Cos I really think it depends where your from as to whether it’s a typically female or male name, different cultures and countries etc.
In England Finley is pretty much a boys name so far, and Mackenzie a newish name really (don’t know anyone older than 20 with it) and mainly heard on boys here although people are now naming girls it.
I have not heard Avery, Addison and those names here so can’t comment, although we seem to be quite influenced by the U.S so they will probably creep over. I think people mainly stick to normal gender names. And traditional names have been in the top 10 like Jack Jake, Sam, Emily and Grace.

Katey on

Maybe I am just too caught up in what names mean, but usually when a name ends in “-son” it means “son of _______”. So, Johnson is son of John, Madison is son of Maud, Emerson is son of Emery, etc. There are exceptions (Alison isn’t son of Al, but rather a diminutive form of Alice), but usually it is “SON of ______” which makes me really, really, really cringe when people give them to a girl.

But then again, no one really pays attention to meaning anymore, or I wouldn’t see people named Calvin (bald), Claudia (crippled) or Fabio (bean).

JMO on

I don’t mind some variations for both genders; Riley, Dakota, Spencer (I actually know a girl names Spencer), Emerson, Blake, Devon, Jordan, etc. I met two girl Noa’s once. I don’t care for Noa(h) on a little girl though.

But some people are gender bending it too much. My dislikes are def. Jagger Joseph Blue…..the blue doesn’t throw me as much since John Travolta and Kelly Preston used Bleu for daughter Ella…but the Jagger Joseph is just way too masculine for my liking. Even if they nickname her Jag or JJ it’s still too boyish sounding!

Finley has now been used a few times with the girls so it’s not so bad. And Avery and Emery are cute and sound girly enough to me!

I am more concerned though with people who like to make up names or give their kids crazy names (i.e. Bronx, Zuma, Apple, Moxie, Pilot, Banjo, etc)…..those kids will probably have more issues
then those with mixed gender names ;)

S on

The way a name is spelled really affects how I like it! Like the Noa(h) example. I can see Noa for a girl, but with the h it irks me. I have a traditionally boys name (Sasha) and although most people take it as a girls’ name, some people comment.

Ana on

Ok, unisex names, like Casey. Some of them I can swallow, but a girl named James and a boy named, what, Mary? just sounds stupid. Sorry.

Tan on

@Brannon Erykah is the way singer Erykah Badu spells her name. Depending how old your student is, would probably per where her parents got the spelling. Just a FYI. She only changed the spelling to this way because her mom didn’t want her to change her name.

nessuno on

I find gender-bending names somewhat obnoxious. I’ve noticed that a large number of them are Celtic in origin, so I guess the fact that they have sounds that don’t seem definitively male or female to an Anglo ear makes people think that they’re prime material for unisex names. I think it’s kind of unfair (even disrespectful) to the culture from which the name is being borrowed to turn a male name into a female one.

I also have a problem with the fact that the gender-bending goes one way. No one seems to think that calling a boy Jane or Mary is a good idea, so why is the opposite perfectly acceptable? There are hundreds of thousand of female names out there. I’m sure there are plenty of unique names with a masculine sound if that’s your thing, but borrowing masculine names from other cultures and making them female is a big no-no in my opinion.

Sarah on

I wouldn’t give my daughters masculine names, I’d want their names to be clearly feminine.
I’ve never liked Taylor or Peyton or Jordan or Cameron on girls. I find them so unfeminine and unattractive…
And James, Mason, Spencer and Ryan are just wrong as girls names, sorry.

However, I actually like some of these names for girls. I think that Avery, Riley and Mackenzie are cute, for instance. I know that Mackenzie means “son of…” but I like it anyway. So even though I probably wouldn’t name my own daughter that, I can see why some parents like these names.

On the other hand, I really like Bailey and Reagan on boys, but dislike them on girls.

Jagger Joseph Blue is probably the worst celebrity baby name I’ve ever heard… I’ll leave it at that…

jenn013576 on

I have 2 daughters and their names are Huntyr Faith and Brexlyn Hope LouJean. I think that its okay to masculine names for girls as long as you give them feminine middle names.

N on

Kristi – it was Hildenbrandt or something like that! I read that too and found it humerous. Although, with such an uncommon last name, I sure hope they did some serious family tree searching!

Becky on

One of my favorite girl names is Drew.

T. on

I don’t like gender bending names but LOVE unisex names such as Harper, Macy and Marley.

Sooz on

I agree with kmf on the name Quinn, I really love it for a little girl, it was my paternal grandmother’s maiden name and some day I’d like to use it if I’m ever blessed with a daughter… :D However, that’s the only way I would ever really use a “unisex” or gender bending name, and I think I might use it as a middle name, combined with Norah as a first name, to make it a lot more feminine! My little boy’s called Seth, can’t get more masculine than that I guess!

I have a cousin called Caycee (a girl, icky “younique” spelling), one called Reece (a boy, spelt differently again) and two girls called Sasha (which I like for a boy as a diminutive of Alexander, like Naomi and Liev) and Corey (which, I’m sorry, is a boy’s name for me)- not a fan really, but who am I to judge?!

I also have a friend who’s two daughters are called Charlie and Drew- I guess he really wanted sons….

fergette on

I have a gender-bending middle name, and have always loved it.

My name is Hannah Dustin (named after a famous ancestor of mine (Google her name and you can find out about her). Dustin was her last name (lots of argument on if it was spelled Dustin, Duston, or Dustan) and I’ve always felt really strong for having a masculine middle name.

When I was born the world was not populated by Hannahs so I had a very old, feminine name, followed by a boy’s name.

I like the strength a masculine name can give a girl (not to mention gender neutrality on resumes).

If my husband and I have a girl one day, her name will be Atlas Eileen (middle name after a family member).

Erin on

I like gender bending and unisex names. I think it makes things interesting. My name is unisex (although the spelling identifies it as female) and my husband’s is also unisex. Does it cause some confusion sometimes? Maybe, but who really cares as long as you like the name. We also gave our daughter a gender bending name.

anon on

Re: #15 Lulu’s Comment

The masculine name Noah & female name Noa from the Bible are completely different names. In the original Hebrew they are spelled completely differently & mean totally different things.

Lola Marie on

I’ve always liked Dylan for a girl. I found an email to a friend from 2007 where I stated I wanted my girls to have “boy” names. We’ll see how I feel about that when the time comes to actually name my baby :-D

Sarah on

my daughters name is ryleigh abigail i love unisex names but gave her a traditional female middle name and as for the spelling i feel i definately feminized a tradional male name without being a tongue twister as names such and kyleigh and kayleigh are very popular

hermowninny on

My kids are Riley (Girl) and Jude (boy) and I think that both names can go either way, and traditionally my own name is a boy’s name (Bailey) and these days has become very popular for girls. I chose to give my daugter a traditionally male name because it was the same for me. Maybe a little bond we can share. Also Riley means brave and she is the bravest little girl you’ll meet.

srbwd on

My son’s name is Hazel, after the character in Cannery Row.

Irish on

The only name I like for a girl that can also be used on a boy is Jamie.

Mimi on

jenn013576 and sarah have the worst names on here. I get that people want to be creative (and don’t possess nature creative abilities) and if they like these oddly spelled names and are okay with no one else liking them and even with people making fun of them then good for them. But trust me, your friends use YOU as an example of spelling your child’s name in a stupid way. I had a child in a class who would constantly appologize for the way her parents spelled her name. If your cool with your kid being embrassassed then more power to you.

Most of the females I know that have male names tell me they assume their parents wanted a son.

Also for those people who think that a masculine name will help with resumes, yeah, but if that hiring person is a bigot, I would assume they’d notice your gender when you came in for an interview. Talk about delaying the inevitable.

Mostly I agree with the many posters who pointed out that those same people who coo over boy names for girls would be shocked if someone named their son Jennifer or Rebecca. Women that name their daughters something masculine think they are helping their daughters be tough and independent but if your daughter’s self esteem is based on her name, she has issues and so do you. The most confident young woman I’ve ever met was named, and I kid you not, Gigi. Not a nickname and she was a total girly girl as a child but now she’s a high powered lawyer. Had her name been Ben, I can’t imagine she would have been any more successful. On the other hand, the weakest woman I’ve ever known was named Michael.

Erica on

I agree with Cassandra upthread. It bothers me much more when people purposely misspell/make up their kids’ names for the sake of being “youneek”. I remember a reality show a couple years ago about a family who had quints, and some of the names were Irelyn, Landyn, and Draydyn. It just looks bad and IMO kind of uneducated. I’d also rather see someone named Apple than say Braylee/Caylee/Baylee etc.

Jana on

I don’t care what you name your child, but be fair and think of the child. Thinking a name is uniquely spelled or different than anyone else’s, does not mean that child won’t be teased and ridiculed once they hit school.

Also, think of the sound. Say the first and last name together, repeatedly, so that it has a nice flow to it. I have a pet peeve about first and last names that both end in son. I rarely like the sound of them together.

The middle name really doesn’t matter, how often will someone other than a relative call you Jaime Sue?

Another thought is the spelling. My name is Jana. I have had it for 56 years now. On very rare occasions, someone reading it aloud for the first time, actually gets it right. It is NOT Jay na, nor John na. It is Jan na. I hate correcting people all the time. So please, spell it like you want it to sound. Erika or Erica still sound the same to me.

mslewis on

I don’t know for sure but somehow I seriously doubt any adult male cares if an adult female has the same name as he has. People need to be mature about this. If a guy is called Sydney, I’m certain it would not bother him if he works with a woman also called Sydney. This happen at my job and both parties thought it was terribly funny!! After all, “what’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Ellen on

Well said Casandra!

Parents who spell their childrens common names in a weird way have no faith their child can be unique without the burden of a ridiculous name. My list of hated names is lengthy. Too long to mention. Half the names people have mentioned here have made hairs stand on the back of my neck.

If you name your kid a common name like Derek (example) but insist on spelling it Derryk, you have asbolutely no right to kick up a stink when everyone spells it the normal way.

As for gender-bending names, it wasn’t too long ago Mary was a common name for boys. And what about Marion Morrison? Name doesn’t ring a bell. It’s John Wayne’s real name.

TMia on

I like gender bending names and I have no problem with people spelling their children’s names anyway they choose. We have to remember that it’s all about the parent and what they choose to name their son or daughter. I have a son, Kiyan Nazir and I think his name is fine. I think people really go for what’s different and what they don’t hear on a daily basis when naming their children. This is the age of Individuality and stepping outside of the box. More power to those brave enough and confident enough to take a risk. :)

j on

Who made Linda Rosenkrantz the authority on this stuff? Web site and books taken into account, still seems to me that a lot of her opinions are simply that, opinions. Everyone is entitled to them of course, but no one person’s has more authority over another’s … and especially when it comes to something so personal as choosing a name for your child.

Elzbieta on

My brothers middle name is a Cameron, and in a lot of baby books its listed as a boys name.

When I was younger, I wanted to name my daughter something kind of unisex like Reagan,Dylan, or Riley. Now that I’m older, I think its pretty silly. Names like Jagger, Owen, James aren’t ‘gender bending’ they’re male names that people decided to give to a girl. I find it a little insulting that people are saying that a male name gives a feeling of strength and independence. Really?? So that can’t be achieved with a female name? I had no idea. Also the name wouldn’t be gender neutral, the name would be perceived as male or female.

#54- I actually wanted to name my son Atlas, but its becoming a bit popular.

– I dunno, I don’t understand why Americans(it seems like its an american thing) are so obsessed with being different. A name will set you apart for the first 2 minutes but people remember the person not the name..and certainly not the spelling.

C on

I have a name that is spelled differently (my name is “Courtney” but it’s spelled Courtnee) and I was NEVER teased or made fun of. I actually got compliments! Sure people misspelled my name but I had no problem with that because I knew that they were not use to my spelling.

My mother had a beautiful baby doll named “Courtnee” and when she had me she said that the name just fit (because I looked like a beautiful baby doll). She didn’t feel like I wouldn’t be unique all on my own. I’m sorry but I think it’s ridiculous to assume that a parent who decides to spell their child’s name differently thinks that their child won’t be unique all on their own. They just like the different spelling just like you like the normal spelling. Different strokes for differnt folks.

I don’t know why people care so much about what a parent decides to name their child anyway. I know a few people with VERY different names (“Original Black God” for example) that were NEVER teased because of their name. On the other hand I do know of a girl who’s name was pronounced vuh-g-nuh but was spelled “vagina.” Now SHE got made fun of lol.

So back to the original topic of gender bender names lol…
My name is a gender bender. I don’t personally know of a boy named Courtney but I have friends that do.

Some gender bender names I’ve heard used for girls are: Maddox, Carrington, Bryce, Payce, Harrison (Harris for short), Jameson, Ryan, Cory/Kori, Davis, Aaron/Erin, Noah, Riley/Rileigh, Michael, Blake and Jordan/Jordynn/Jordin. To each his own.

Melissa on

Just the other day I was thinking about how grateful I am that I named my children with different names. I came across an article about the 5 year old that were stopped at the airport because their names matched the name of a person on the no-fly lists. The fear that these kids must have endured is awful.

My daughter is Adlen Jaymz and my son is Xander K
These are family names with a twist. My daughter was named after my mother-in-law, Nelda who passed away in a tragic car accident. Her middle name is after my husband and father-in-law. Xander is from my 12 yr. old brother-in-law’s middle name of Alexander.

noam on

i have a traditionally male first name and traditionally female middle name–noam daisy-belle (my grandmothers’ names.) my parents always figured that i could use the feminine name if i wanted to, and i like that approach. i know girls named wesley, ryan, michael, and john, and boys named lyndsey, mackenna, and gale. all have “gender appropriate” middle names, and none of us use them…
i am not a fan of uniquely spelled names (that are made up, rather than reflecting a heritage)though. my stepsister is named natayleigh (pronounced natalie), and she’s forever having to spell it for people, usually several times before they get it right, and as a doctor, she says patients have commented about it. it seems like it causes more trouble than not. if you’re looking for a unique name for your child, it’s better to find an under-used one rather than a popular one spelled differently, in my opinion…

Erica on

#67 I agree that parents have the right to name their children whatever they want, but I also think parents should be mindful of how their kids will feel when they have to constantly explain to people why they are a girl with a boys’ name/how to spell their name/if their name really is Audio Science lol. I think naming a baby should be less about the parent’s ego and more about not making their child’s life harder than it has to be. So I don’t think it makes one particularly brave to give a child a “unique” and/or purposely misspelled name.

FWIW I think Kiyan is more trendy than unique, but still a nice name :)

Amanda on

I’ve got 3 children-a 6 1/2 year old girl Kelsey Taylor Dawn; a 3 1/2 year old boy Aidan Alexander and a 23 month old boy Andrew Christopher John. The name I got “is it a boy or a girl” for–Andrew. Go figure!

Annabelle on

I like gender bender names sometimes. It depends. I love Peyton, I prefer it on a girl. But, thats probably because I know a little girl named Peyton and she’s beyond adorable. My daughter is Randi, after my late father Randall. The name really fits her.

But seriously, does everyones name have to be Ava or Emma? I love Randi’s name and other names that are different but not too strange.

actualsize on

Well flipping of boys names over to the girls side has been happening for centuries so I’m not too worried about the latest incarnations (I mean Shirley used to be a boys name, for heavens sake!) It does seem to be a fad gathering some momentum lately but since I quite like boyish names on girls that’s fine with me. Though, for some reason, I only like more modern, ‘vogue’ish boys names on girls (like Mason, Kennedi, Satcher, etc), and don’t like very traditional boys names on girls (such as James, Thomas, Edward, etc).

By the way, I bought Linda Rosenkrantz’s book through your recommendation last time CBB, and am so glad I did! I’ve long been a lover of names and never found a naming book so interesting and humorous as this one. So thanks Linda, and CBB for bringing to my attention.

actualsize on

I also have a problem with the fact that the gender-bending goes one way. No one seems to think that calling a boy Jane or Mary is a good idea, so why is the opposite perfectly acceptable?

In my opinion, that’s just a manifestation of the cultural rule that it’s OK for girls to be tomboys, but it’s not for boys to be sissy.

Candice on

I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but I think masculine names on girls is completely ridiculous, and I roll my eyes every time I see another baby girl named Addison, Madison, Ryan, Riley, Aiden, etc. None of those names are unisex. They’re ALL masculine. I think I would cry if I met a baby girl named Judah or Noah.

If you don’t want frilly names for your little girl, that’s fine — there are so many lovely, strong, FEMININE names out there. You don’t have to resort to masculine names!

bubbles on

When I have a little girl, I am planning on naming her Serena Blake. I love the name Serena because it is so feminine and ethereal, and pretty. Blake, I consider to be, gorgeous and strong, but yet feminine from some reason. It all depends on the name and the other name that goes with it. Some gender bending names I like, while others I don’t. I think Serena Blake has a nice touch of being both feminine and strong.

Mary-Helen on

How is Reagan unisex? It’s been a girl’s name for centuries (King Lear)! No one seems to mind this being converted to a unisex or boy’s name.

Mimi-I disagree wholeheartedly that people who give their daughters “used to be boy’s names” wanted boys. I named my daughter Sydney after a place I used to vacation as a teenager (Port Sydney) and Addison was the only name my husband & I could agree on. Lots of names used to be boys names like Ashley, Marion, Kelly, etc and lots of girl’s names have become boys names like Sue, Reagan, Carrie/Kerry etc. I don’t think Derek, Mason, Andrew, etc should be used on girls, nor do I think names like Brianne, Maria or Laura should be used on boys. But some names over the course of time have become more feminine, like Sydney, Kelly, Madison, Avery, et al.

Rach on

My grandfather’s name was Kelly. I think that is cultural though.

I don’t mind what people name their children. I think its up to them and I am sure that they have named them for a certain reason.

People need to be more respectful and understanding and open minded of that..The world is changing..

Bebe on

Amen, Candice!

But seriously, does everyones name have to be Ava or Emma?

No, of course not. It would simply be refreshing to see an uncommon girl’s name (Lorelei, Gemma, Cordelia, Ingrid, for example) rather than a tired old boy’s name. The names are out there, it just seems like many don’t enough to go looking for them.

gaia's mom on

I’ll be honest. I think the whole gender bending name is kinda thoughtless. I am not traditional in any sense, however like some people said I feel like people who give their daughters male names like ‘owen’ and ‘james’ just seem to be trying too hard. Some names are ambiguous like Taylor or Ashley(which I like for a boy as its uncommon, but way too common for a girl). Its funny when I was a little girl I wanted to name my daughter Ava. Ha!

My daughters name is Gaia Rafael, yes I’m fully aware Rafael is a boys name, but initially we wanted to name her Rafaelle but didn’t like that the ‘elle’ part would be exaggarated when its pronounced. Gaia(Guy_uh) is a feminine name and its strong. You don’t have to look at names for the other gender to give your daughter a name that reflects strength and depth. We looked at names from different cultures(Gaia is extremely popular in greece but unpopular here in the US so in that sense its unique).

I can understand wanting to give your child a name no one else has, but I don’t see how changing the spelling is setting them apart, if the sound(a name is just a string of sounds after all) remains the same.

moonbeam25 on

This is all well and good – but what about the idea that parents of boys are actually running out of unique sounding names for their kids? If names were more unisex that would be one thing – but this “gender switch” only applies to girls.

Sometimes it is frustrating. My spouse’s middle name is Ashley, and people laugh at him. But, you call a little girl Joseph and that is “too cute.”

What gives? I’m all about evening out the playing field, but it seems this is more encroaching, leaving parents of boys struggling. I’m not saying boys and girls can’t have the same name – but why do girls get to have all the fun?

gaia's mom on

Ohhhh and I forgot to add, there’s a big gap in between a name like ‘owen’ and a name like, I dunno ‘Talluhlah’ or ‘Miribelle’.

Kir on

# 73 -I don’t understand why you think a child would have to explain to people why they are a girl with a boys name???
How rude of a person to expect them to do so!

I can admit to being a bit judgmental when it comes to people’s names. But they are just MY opinions. I don’t expect (and don’t want) everyone to call their kids my favourite names!

Names, to me, are just that: names. I like some boys names for girls; some girls name for girls. I don’t think I like some girls names for boys (but I’d have to check my list!)
I don’t like the name Corey for a boy OR a girl. I don’t like Michael for a boy OR a girl. And I don’t like Jessica for a boy OR a girl. But I like Mason for a boy OR a girl!
I like to judge a name individually and then decide whether I like them for a girl or a boy.

My number one girls name is traditionally a male’s name: Schuyler. I love the name! But would never call my son that. I just don’t like it for a boy. So when I do have a girl I won’t be naming her that because I hoped she was a boy. If she had been a boy she’d have been named something else. I’m also not naming her that because I want her to be strong, I think it takes more than a name to teach someone to be a certain characteristic.

I also love the name Sonny/Sunny for a boy or a girl. But I hate the spelling Sonny and wouldn’t spell it Sunny for a boy. So I wouldn’t call my son that.

I think I’m more into the spelling/look of a name (along with how it sounds). I don’t like unique spelling either. Oh except for Avary instead of Avery for a girl.

j on

I think everyone commenting on this post should read this – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unisex_name – and everyone who has a problem with “traditional” male names being used for girls should pay particular attention to this line – “Some names that were once predominantly used as masculine given names are now primarily feminine given names, including Alexis, Ashley, Beverly, Carol, Evelyn, Hilary, Jocelyn, Meredith, Shirley, Shannon, Sharon, and Vivian.” At the end of the day it all comes down to a personal choice, whatever it may be influenced by (taste, fashion, family history, whatever … ).

j on

… by the way, I’m planning on calling my soon to be born daughter “Dylan,” an anagram of my mother’s name “Lynda,” … followed by something lovely and feminine that I haven’t decided on yet.

Sarah M. on

It depends on the name for me. I know Mackenzie, Payton, Addison, Casey and Madison are boys names, but to me they really sound very feminine to me. The only Mackenzie’s I’ve ever know have been female. My brother-in-laws middle name is Madison, but he’s the first male Madison I’ve ever met. I’ve never met a male Ashley or Lindsey. I have a female cousin named Casey, and when I hear the name it sounds feminine to me. I knew a female James, but don’t like it. (My brothers name is James.) My sisters name is Krystofer Alicia (shortened to Krysti). She has female friends named Tere and Evan. I also know a male Evan. I know 2 male Kelly’s (both are in their 30′s/40′s), but I’m not a fan of Kelly for male or female. I like the name Charlee/Charli for a female, but more for a nickname. I would probably name her Charlize/Charlene and shorten it to give her more options.

I would probably change the spelling a bit for a girl, if it’s traditionally a boys name. (Nothing too outrageous, just slightly different. Some names seem more feminine spelled one way and masculine spelled another way, IMO.) Reilly/Riley (b/g), Cameron/Camryn (b/g), Aaron/Erin (b/g), Noah/Noa (b/g), Lee/Leigh (b/g), etc.

Bird on

I bet there’s a correlation between a lack of education and spelling a child’s name wrong. It’s some sort of low-brow attempt at creativity. And what is unique about following a trend (like giving your daughter a boy’s name)? Isn’t this the opposite of unique?

Sarah M. on

As for a name getting constantly misspelled, that happens with common names that have common spellings. Jaime/Jamie, Christy/Krysti/Kristy/Kristi/etc., Megan/Meghan, and so on. My name is Sarah, and I constantly get the ‘With or without an h?’ question. And it’s a very common spelling. I also know 2 sisters named Chelzie and Mazzy, pronounced with the American ‘z’ sound.

Chelci on

i myself have a name that is spelled different — CHELCI — no one I have ever met has the same spelling. and i love it. It gives me character. It makes me different than every other Chelsea, or Chelsey out there. Every person I spell my name to says, “oh wow thats awesome” or something like that. Maybe I’m an attention whore, but I like it. And honestly it’s what my parents wanted, why should I be concerned with other people who are just boring squares who think all names should be spelled “correctly”. THERE ARE NO CORRECT SPELLINGS OF NAMES! Its whatever the parents want, and there is nothing wrong with doing what you want.
ps–my first born girl will be Charlie. After my grandfather.

gaia's mom on

Bird,

That’s interesting. I’ll say this. I’m a young mom, my daughter is 14months, and I turned 24 earlier this year. I have my masters degree and am working on a phd. However, I did grow up in the inner-city and a few of my friends have children quite a few years older than my girl. I have noticed that among these young moms they do the alternative spelling. Also all the kids have trendy names. Like Braden, Jalen, Jaden, etc etc.

My sister works at a camp(with mostly african-american campers ages 4-10), and she told me that it seems like biblical and old fashioned names seem to be making a comeback. For example, Moses, Isaiah,Jonah, Moriah seem to be pretty popular there along with Donovan, Jonathan,Joel, John, (which kinda surprised me)….its kind of a relief to me honestly. I grew up with a bunch of Tyriqs and Tyrells.

Erica on

#86 I was mainly referring to kids in a school situation. We all know that kids can be mean, and one of my best friends growing up (named Devon) was teased mercilessly throughout elementary school for having what a lot of children thought to be a boy’s name. Of course it was silly and she looks back on it as no big deal but at the time it really bothered her. Really I don’t think it’s a big enough reason not to name your child something, it was just an example.

gaia’s mom: I love your daughter’s name! Gaia Rafael sounds has a very regal sound and is a great example of a feminine but strong name. And I would love to see biblical names make a big comeback. I love Hebrew names in general, actually.

Chelci: I think it’s great that you love your name. I hated mine for a long time and just started embracing it within the last couple years. :) But I don’t see how the spelling of a name can add to or subtract from someone’s character.

Christine on

I think the biggest problem isn’t actually what parents are or are not naming their children…but rather how they react to what other children are named.

I have a seven year old son named Avery. We loved the name and gave it to him at a time when it wasn’t even making the US “Top 100″ name charts (for either gender). The year he turned two, all of a sudden, there are a hundred little girls his age, all named Avery/Averi/Avrie/Avree etc. What bothers my Avery (and myself) is the way that adults react to meeting a little boy named Avery. We are constantly reminded that “Avery is a girls name” even though, traditionally, it is not. If I can refrain from pointing out that your daughter, Avrie’s name is spelled wrong, surely you can refrain from emasculating my young son in public?

I think if everyone kept in mind that, no matter what name is given, there is a child’s feelings at stake, then it wouldn’t matter what names were given.

eternalcanadian on

I think this unigender name thing has been going around since the 1980s. It has gotten to the point I no longer address people Mr. or Ms. in emails or phone calls (before I speak to the person)because I have no idea if they are male or female. I just say, “I’d like to speak with Jordan Johnson” or “Dear Dallas Johnson.”

actualsize on

Christine, I think Avery is a gorgeous name for a boy (and a male character in one of my favorite books, Charlotte’s Web). It’s a great choice. You make a good point though, in that parents need to be conscious of future trends (even though they’re oftentimes impossible to predict). It reminds me of a friend who named her boy Flynn about ten years ago, and was so disappointed when Elle Macpherson named her son that a year or two later. Now she gets the question, “oh, did you name him after Elle’s son?” all the time. You can’t really pick those kinds of things in advance.

It’s funny, but Madison and Addison are now quite feminine, but in actuality all names ending in ‘son’ mean ‘son of [fill in the blank]‘. So their roots are unequivocally masculine. It doesn’t matter though because names are constantly evolving and mean different things to different people. My name means ‘Princess’ but I wasn’t named that because I’m royalty.

amandamay on

I have a 7 year old son named Finlay (Born in the UK) – He was named before the Finn (boy)/ Finley (girl) explosion in the US a few years later. I was super disappointed when Finley started being used as a common (ie – trendy) name for a girl. I’m not a “square” or a “fuddy duddy” but I feel like names really mean something – The history and culture of them. When you use a name from another culture, I think you should respect their naming traditions. I agree with another poster who said it seems to be most common with Irish names (Another of my huge pet peeves – Everyone in America is “Irish”…) Finley/Finlay has for centuries been a strong male name. To see it reduced to a cheesy, trendy girl name makes me sad. Oh well.

Also, I agree with those who have said there are so many fewer boy names out there, please stop “stealing” them :-) And for those who say “gender is a societal construct” and “it’s your problem if you don’t like unisex names, not mine!” etc, I want to see you all name your boys names like Ava and Olivia. Talk to me then :-)

amandamay on

I forgot to add that in most other countries (Other than the US) names are very important culturally and historically – Not chosen for how “cool” or “unique” they sound.

Maria on

I’m naming my soon-to-be born daughters Sylvia Madeleine and Louisa Katerina and people have accused me of giving “way too girly” names to my daughters which I think is a bit absurd :P I don’t mind boys’ names who have a soft sound given to girls,but it kinda limits the boys names’ variety over the years,doesn’t it?

bubbs on

i really like it when boys have girly nicknames…. kind of a reference to the softer gentle side by those who know them well? My son (lucien) is Luci to family and friends, I call my husband Nicky (he is a nicholas) and my brother (lawrence) was always Lolly in our family.

i also really enjoy the whole girls with male nicknames thing: my daughter is francesca (frankie).

I think this approach is both respectful to the origins of names and a nice way to play against gender expectations.

but to each their own…. (creative spellings aside because they are vile and stupid imo)

emmalee on

i named my little boy jaggar bentley….i dont know if i like jagger for a girl though…but its original…i am definitely a fan of off the wall names!:)

Elzbieta on

I actually really like the name Gaia Rafael as well. I rarely ever hear ‘G’ or ‘R’ names anymore, accept for maybe Grace. I can definitely relate to taking names from a different culture. My first name is Polish but I’m not Polish and my brothers first name Ambros which is Greek and we aren’t Greek. My sister’s name is Lux Electra(which is Latin-greek). She got in a rough spot in h.s when people were calling her something that rhymes with Lux but is a swear. My moms name is Cyrena(usually spelled Serena but my moms name is closer to the original spelling) which is something from a Greek myth, so there is a theme here lol. People always comment on my mom giving us outrageous names, but I think they’re pretty functioning, strong and clever.

Maria- I love the names you picked out for you girls, especially Louisa Katerina.

j on

I keep on going back to this, but everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that gender-bending re names has gone on for decades longer than the 1980s. Its a stale debate. Get over it.

actualsize on

And what is unique about following a trend (like giving your daughter a boy’s name)? Isn’t this the opposite of unique?

Can only speak for myself, but I wouldn’t name a child with the intent to follow a trend or make them unique. It’s not my goal to find the name that will attract the most comments, or cause the most confusion, or be the trendiest, really. I just want a name that I enjoy, sounds good, and suits the child, and at the moment people seem to be enjoying boys names on girls.

Adele (UK) on

I am Welsh, living in Wales, UK & both my daughters have unisex names so it’s not just an American thing.
My daughter’s are called Maeson & Tayla. My daughter who is due in December will be called Eliot.
All my girls have feminine middle names & IMO have feminine spellings of their first names.
I’m not really into the over popular girly names & carried on the unisex theme after naming my oldest daughter Maeson. Kelsey Grammer’s daughter Mason was the inspiration for me naming her as I’ve never heard it as a girl’s name before which is why I loved it so much.

sidjazz on

I have a 6 wks old baby girl and we named her Sidney Jade. My husband and I loved the name Sidney for a girl. I was worried of her being made fun of by other children and being mistaken on paper for a boy (didn’t want to complicate her life) but my husband really liked the name and told me to stop worrying. Now that she’s here I’m very happy we choose Sidney.

Makenzie on

Dee (#20)and Danielle (#41), allow me to introduce myself. My name is Makenzie and I’m a woman! Now you can say you’ve met an adult female named Makenzie. And Shea (#23), I’m 30 and have met at least 2 other women my age or older that carry the same name. So it’s been around a little longer than 10-15 years. I agree that it has gained popularity, but it’s not new. Also, the name means “son of the wise leader.”

Ashley on

Names are great. Everyone in my family says I have an obsession with names. This is strictly about your opinions. In my opinion…
Riley..Jordan..Skyler..Hayden..Dakota..Mason..Spencer..Cory..Jayden…Cody…James…Devon…Alex…Jamie…MaKenzie…Ashley…Avery…Morgan…Kaydance…Lyric…Finlay…Payton.
All names given to boys and girls.
Nowadays Riley.Skyler.Hayden.Dakota.Morgan.Jamie.MaKenzie.Ash.Kaydance. adn Payton seem to be given more to girls.
Mason. Spencer. Cory. Jayden. Cody. James. Devon. Alex. Avery. Lyric. and Finlay I still see given mostly to boys.
I like it this way with the exceptions of Jordan. Skyler. Hayden. Riley and Payton being given to girls. I like them for boys.
I think Lyric and Cody//Codi are good names for a boy or girl.
My name is Ashley and so of course I see it as a girls name and I have never met a male Ashley. Only HEARD of one ((Ashley Angel Parker)). I do know that there was ALwayys at least 4 or 5 Ashley’s in each of my classes all through my school years. I was never ONCE the only Ashley!! And like I said..I’ve never met a male Ashley..

ARRA on

My husband, who is from Madrid, Spain, has influenced me over the years and it is reflected in the names of our five girls. First names are very feminine and old-fashioned and each has the name of an angel as a middle name. So we have Antonia, Francesca, Georgina, Julianna, and Arabella. I never thought about uni-sex names but have enjoyed reading the comments of others.

M on

I feel for the parents of young boys whose names have suddenly become feminine.

Addison was almost strictly a boys name until Grey’s Anatomy aired a few years ago.

Now Elliot? Which male names are sacred? I’d like to know so that future sons won’t end up with girlified names. I don’t want anyone to ask if my kid is a boy or a girl.

j on

My four yr old daughter has a very traditional name “Emeline,” but 9 times out of 10 when she’s asked her name – which she enunciates very clearly – people come back with “very nice to meet you ‘Emily.’” I find myself having to repeat her name 2, 3 times before people get it. The fact that people hear what they a pre programmed to hear is more annoying to me than those who think I’ve chosen a “boys” name for my next daughter. Seems to there are some people who will screw names up regardless.

Mia on

I think it just depends on the name. I think some that are too “over the top” like naming a boy James, but Jamie is okay, or Joseph..etc.is just way too confusing. A lot of names that are popular now, originated as last names: Kelly (for example). I think some uni-sex names work: Dylan, Jordan, Taylor, Alex…etc. I went to school with a girl named Devon.

I used to love the name “Jordan” for a boy when I was little, but now I feel like its too much of a girl’s name, whether its spelled “Jordan” or “Jordyn”.

I think there is enough of boys names out there, to use for boys, and girls names out there. I think some variations work: Like Julian (boy)/Julia (girl, Samuel (boy)/Samantha (girl)..etc Eric/Erica…Stephen/Stephanie..etc. I think those are okay.

For example: I was always confused by Brooke Burke’s naming of her son Shaya. I feel that is way too much of a girl sounding name. Especially since they wanted a boy really badly, they finally had a son, I felt they should have give him a more “male” sounding name, instead of something that is more uni-sex or female sounding. But, to each his own.

Marika on

I have a 22 year-old son named Harper. Until recently, I thought Harper was a boys only name. But in the last year, it seems Dave Grohl, David Spade, Lisa Presley adn others have chosen the name for their daughters. My son is a little embarrassed, but I absolutely LOVE it on a girl!

I also have nieces Aubrey and Devon. The names suit the girls beautifully.

Tee on

It’s been really fun to read all the comments on this post. Everyone has strong opinions when it comes to names!

Rebecca- I love your daughter’s names! Peyton, Mckenzy and Taylor are all beautiful names. Congratulations on adding another precious daughter to your family soon! The Lord has certainly blessed you.

Casandra- My mother taught first grade for years and feels the same way that you do. She would come home every year after that first day of school and tell us about some of the crazy names that her students had. I remember the year that she had twins in her class named Limello and Orangello. (Lime jello and Orange jello) Nope, I’m not kidding. What in the world were those parents thinking!?

Mimi- You are certainly entitled to your opinion about jenn013576 and Sarah’s name choices for their children, but I don’t understand why you felt the need to be so rude about it. You can state your opinion on anything without being nasty about it!

j on

Adele (UK), I like the way you think … if you have any suggestions for feminine middle names to go with “Dylan” I am open to them … .

Kari on

Two of my three girls have traditionally boys names: Chase and Addyson. We do get some confusion with Chase but until recently have never had any with Addyson (who we call Addy) and this was from the mom of a boy whose name is Addison and they call him Addi. My son has a very traditional boys name Alex and my middle daughter is Zoey, which although is a girl’s name has a bit of edge to it based on spelling. We wanted our girls to have strong and not overly feminine names and also names that were a bit different from tradition. Addison may now be in the top ten for girls names, but six years ago when my daughter was born, few people had heard of it:) Names are the choice of the parent and although there are names I like and do not and names I feel are just plain mean, those are my opinions and those parents do not share that opinion. And Chase has never felt weird about any confusion with her name, she simply corrects the person and says “I am Chase” anytime someone mistakenly says “he” And as for the Addi in my kids’ school (the male) he gets picked on a lot by the other boys and Addi, Addie, Addy or any form of Addison is most definitely a feminine name.

dashi on

My daughters name is Owynn (we call her winnie for short), and I love it even though I’m a woman with a masters degree. So I’ll apologize now to all the boys named Owen for girlifying your name. She’s super cute though so please consider it a compliment.

Ashley on

The first Evan I ever knew was a little girl named Evynn. (pronounced Evan)… Her mother gave her that name after her own mother (Evelynn) and herself (Lynn). Evynn. I respect that and always thought it was cute. Her little sister’s name is Macenna. A pretty name as well.

Cathryn on

“Jane”, I just checked out your blog, you seem like a really fun person to be around (sarcasm). The last part of your post also made no sense. Re-read it.

And-Her-Son on

I have a male friend called Jody, which acording to him is comonly a boys name where hes from North Scotland. When I first met him I thought it was very strange him being Jody and man but now whenever I hear someone talk about a friend called Jody I will just asume its a male.

I like girls names on boys for the most part. Some are very pretty and fitting on girls. Like James, Ryan, Cameron or Elliot I think suit both.

Maria on

Elzbieta- I love your family’s names!Never heard of your brother’s name,though,being Greek myself.The closest to his name I know is Lambros,which means ‘bright’ :)
As for my girls,they have British,Greek and French ancestry,so we wanted them to have the best of ALL worlds,lol!They had to be something easy to spell since they’re gonna grow up in England.Plus I don’t think Sylvia is so popular anymore,same goes with Louisa,which I LOVE.
Oh,and back to the topic,I think it’s kinda unfair to have twins and give one of them a girly name and give the other a boyish one,like Rebecca Romjin’s twins.

Lulabelle on

I think there is an American / British divide on the names. We don’t get many kids with unisex names. At our nursery the boys are called names like Charlie, Alfie, Matthew etc and the girls have quite traditional names like Amelia, Millie, Emily, Olivia. We don’t come across many Addisons, Taylor’s or Kayden’s. Do you think there is a marked difference between US and UK names?

all about a boy on

I’m the mum of an Addison and he’s a boy! We chose it purely for it’s meaning (son of Adam) and had never heard it when we chose it some years ago. It’s still unusual here in the UK and I have my fingers crossed that this is one American trend that doesn’t make it across the Atlantic!

Teresa on

for me, it depends what the name is. for example, jagger joseph blue- way too masculine for a girl! i love the name peyton/payton for a boy or a girl. same with taylor, jordan/jorden/jordin or devin. i would love to name my daughter in the future reagan grace (hey im a republican lol). i love pairing a contemporary-ish name with a traditional name.i would also name a daughter jacqueline claire. i would name my son presley gabriel (again, contemporary with traditional) or peyton joel (im a football fan and a billy joel fan).
i just CANT see addison on a boy.

Serenity on

i think that if a boy name suits your little girl then you should name her that i have three little girls and they all have boys names its what suited them. a long time ago it was normal for a boys name to be Ashley or Shannon or Tracey so why cant a girls name be Ryan or James Or Owen

Jessi on

I do believe that I can picture a boy named Addison or Madison. In fact I will be naming one of my boys (possibly) Addison James in the future. I also really like Carey Matthew. I love Avery on a boy and Finley (Finlay) on a boy. Wouldn’t imagine using those on a girl.

I’ve never heard of Noah except for Billy Ray Cyrus for a girl and I really like that actually. I love Nolan for a boy though.

Elliot is another name that people use for girls and I think that it is a strictly male name (in my opinion). One of my future children’s names will be Elliot Jude or Jude Elliot.

Sarah M. on

Elliott is a boys name to me. My aunt married someone with that last name, so to me it’s more of a last name now. I knew an older male with the name Elliott. My cousin and her husband have 4 boys. They are Garrett Logan, Grant Elliott, Graham Quentin and Grayson Wirth. (There is obviously a pattern. The first names with a ‘g’, ‘a’ and ‘r’ somewhere. And their middle names they took a name from each side of the family. EX: dad’s dad, dad’s mom, mom’s dad and mom’s mom.) I’ve met 1 female Logan and multiple male Logan’s, so that to me is more of a males name.

For shorter male names that are shortened from others, I typically don’t mind them for girls. Alex shortened from Alexander/Alexandra/Alexandria. Charlie/Charli/Charlee from Charles/Charlene/Charlize. Nicky/Nicki/Nikki from Nicholas/Nicolas/Nicolette/Nicole. Or the like. But I would name my daughter the full feminine version, and use the shorter, typically male, version for a nickname. That way she would have more options on what she wanted to go by later on in life. Rather than just naming her simply Alex/Charlie/Nikki.

JMO on

I once knew a guy named Jody! I too thought it was wierd at first but it so fit him.

I also knew two Rory’s (one male, one female) – I now know a baby girl named Rori.

I agree sometimes people go a bit off the wall with the spellings of names for instance I’ve seen:

Aleczander or Rebekah – ick! It looks wrong to me!! I also met an Ayva (ava) once!! I also hate double letters in names that don’t need to be there. Like Alexxis, Madisynn, Emmily, etc.

I just can’t imagine being a kid in todays world and having to constantly spell out your name or explain how you got it! I am glad my mom chose my name. I didn’t always appreciate it growing up since it wasn’t popular with the Jessica’s, Stephanies, and Nicole’s I went to school with. But now that I’m older I’m so thankful for my pretty, short, not overly common name ;)

Mel on

I have 2 daughters, the first is Paige Joi and is the most girly girl you have ever met. Our second is Charli Daryl, we chose the name before we found out she was a girl, but liked it for either sex. She is named after both her grandfathers and loves that she has the same name as them. Also, although she loves girly things, she definitely has a tom boy streak in her.

I know Charlie is a boys name, but it really suits her and I did not want to call her something like Charlene or Charlotte “just” so I could call her Charli, if you like a name, go with it. If they really hate it when they are older, they can change it but I think you will find most kids go through a stage of disliking their name and eventually grow out of it. When I was growing up, this was the case for the Jane’s and Sarah’s as well, not just the kids with the “different” names.

emilyc on

I think people need to be more tolerant, period. It’s fine here, to comment, ’cause CBB asked for opinions, but it bothers me when people make comments to someone’s face about a name that is diferent to them. My second son’s name is Sacha Stephane. Both names are traditionally male, but people here in English speaking Canada are constantly telling me that Sacha is a “girls” name! It doesn’t bother me to see girls named Sasha, but I just wish that people would remember that there are cultural differences when it comes to names and gender. ( Also Sacha is hard to pronounce for alot of English speaking people,…it’s pronounced the same way as Sasha BTW. :)

anna on

I am British married to an Israeli and living in Israel. We have 1 daughter (3 years old) called Robyn. We wanted a name that is English and easy to say for the Israelis although there are very few Robyns here. We both have always liked the name for a boy or girl. My husband from Howard Stern’s secretary and me from other times. It is unusual here without being too unusual. Plus there are not many English/ Israeli names that are pronounced the same – all have a different twist even David and Daniel for boys. So far no problems:)

Alex on

I’m sad that Finley & Riley went to the girls. I actually adore both of those names for BOYS. I feel like no boy name is safe anymore.

Sunflower on

My oldest is named Finley and my youngest’s middle name is Avery. They are both boys as they are boy names to me, however I think people can name their children as they please and have no problems with them being used for girls.

BarbaraMSD on

I also have a 7.5 year old son named Finn (just Finn–not a nickname for a longer name.) His name was chosen to honor family members who have Finn as a last name, and was chosen before the huge Finn, Finley, Finlay, Finnigan, etc. explosion in the US, that I find a little disappointing as we’d hoped his name would be more unique (I blame TV guide, who suggested Ross and Rachel name their baby “Finn” way back when we were pregnant, and then Julia Roberts nicknaming her son Finn a few years later didn’t help.) We’ve even met a Griffin now who is called Finn by his family, and two Finns who are girls, bringing the grand total to nine that we know personally. Now there are television characters who are Finns making the name even more common. I think of Finn as more of a boy’s name, though his best baby friend was a girl named Brady, so what do I know? I see many girls with male names here in New England–they seem to be doing what we did, which is giving last names, or family names, as first names to their children. This is something we’ve often seen with boys and are now only seeing with girls. We are also seeing a lot more television girls with traditional male names (Blake, Addison, etc.)

Still, though, I think Jagger Joseph Blue goes a little too far.

Our second son has more unique name that I think sounds quite male (Thayer) chosen from a book character. I wonder if that one will be co-opted by girls some day too.

Michelle on

I am due in late winter and I a naming my daughter Johnnie Vyctorea after my gramma. I loved her name and I love the power behind a girl have a strong male name. I think that as long as U like it-go for it!

Shannon on

I personally love the boys names on girls. I have a girl Taylor and Kamdyn. I also have a niece Payton. With Kamdyn I just spelled it differently (Camden) to make it more feminine. Her name is Kamdyn Raye (after her father and grandfather) It really flows well and everyone thinks it is really beautiful together. Taylor is Taylor Michelle.

Elizabeth on

Jagger Joseph Blue is AWFUL. I feel so badly for that poor girl.

And the girl named James. James is most definetly a boy’s name. I have female friends with male names, and they despise them. They have been made fun of for their names constantly. As people have been saying on these comments, if you’re going to give your girl a boy’s name, at least make it so they can have a feminine nickname or a feminine middle name so they have options.
But there ARE some male names that sound to me like feminine names. Avery and Emery sound very girly to me, I wouldn’t name my son Avery. And I have a female cousin named Ellery, which was originally a boy’s name but seems feminine to me.
There are so many gorgeous, unique, feminine names out there. You can pick a unique name for your child without making their name an embarrassment. My name is almost always used on a girl, but its very common and has been for a long time. I’ve always wished for a more unique name, but I’m glad that I wasn’t named something like James, Ryan, Riley, Payton/Peyton, Elliot, Mason, or Spencer, all of which are awful on girls.

JB on

Selecting a name for your child is a very personal decision that should be respected, not judged by others. As the mother of two daughters, Delaney and Rylee, I would certainly hope that all of you who are opposed to “gender bending” names remember to be respectful when encountering these individuals (i.e. no eye-rolling). Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion, however we are all human beings with feelings! I should also mention that although I knew Riley could be considered a boys name, I had never heard of/met a boy named Riley until recently. To each his own!

Sarah M. on

They didn’t mention Reba McEntire naming her son Shelby. That to me is a female name. I know at least 4 female Shelby’s and the only male Shelby I’ve ever even heard of is her son.

Reg on

I really don’t like the name Jagger Joseph Blue for a girl or a BOY, but I don’t mind it when girls have boy names or vice-versa. I want to name my daughter Miriam Owen and my son Zee Thiery. Both of them after my family. Miriam and Owen for my maternal grandparents and Zee for my sister, her name is Zaddie, rhymes with lady. Thiery was my great-great grandfather.

SR on

personally i like some gender bending names like Jaime or Riley, or Sutton
but i prefer more effeminate classic names because i grew up with a unique name(Shirleybe) and i always hated it. Also because of my name i was made fun of and no one can ever say my name correctly
i think parents should definitely take that into consideration before name their child “Jermagesty”.
i personally want to name my daughter Zoe or Sutton

Bryony on

I chose several more feminine sounding names for my boys, and visa versa. I have a very large brood and when I named them I didn’t take into account what the latest name fad was or how people would react to the names as I was fairly confident I’d picked ones that wouldn’t attract much negative attention. People should chill out when hearing about all these odd names – it’s not your kids! I was given a strange pronunciation (Brereknee) so I have grown up with constant confusion over it but I am glad I have a very rare name.

My children are Dolores Sydney Annemarie (family name) 11, Jesobel (yes I know Jezabel, thats why I changed the spelling, and it’s slightly softer sounding) Morgan Adora 9 1/2, identical twin boys Tristan Beau Iliya + Faiden Kai Indigo 7 1/2, Isolde Briar Juliette 5, and another set of twins Aurora Blaze Ophelia + Sunney Leo Dmitri, 2. A handful I tell you!

I like that very old names are coming back into fashion – not quite sure about Maud though! As far as the new unisex names go I like Harper/Harlow/Everlyn for a girl but not Tyler/Mason/Owen/Peyton/Sac/sha. My husband is called Sacha so i obviously cannot think it to be female. Mason is too far, it just reminds me of builders and masonary, not very girly. It’s a shame names like Valentine and Romeo are rare these days, although imagine such children being in a class full of female Reeces and Rileys – it must be very unsettling to grow up around androdyny from such a young age. I’m not sure what I think about the whole thing.

shaina on

I like some unisex names like jordynn,riley,payton,kendal,raegan,jayden,etc. but it bothers me to hear guys named ashley and girls named jagger. But everyone has their own opinion. When I have kids if I have a girl her name will most likely be jordynn brooke. I’m spelling it like that to try to feminize it a little, so I get the whole spelling different thing but I agree some people go to far.

Macy on

Sarah M, that’s just cos you’re ignorant. Shelby is a male name, one of the hundreds of stolen names from the boys. Do your homework

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