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"We do what we must, and call it by the best names."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Email me at: anni.ekate@yahoo.com.au

Friday, November 9, 2007

Unisex names.

Another recent trend in naming children is that of using unisex names. Once, when Jordan or Dale were male names, they are now used commonly on girls.

Is this right? Well, in some cases sure. Some boys names can be very cute on a girl, while others are not so. Similarly, a lot of unisex names don't work on boys because they now sound feminine.

The problem with calling your daughter Brayden or your son Lane, is that in lists, such as school admin reports your daughter or son may be put in the boys or girls gym class.

Some names which are used on girls are so masculine that there is little leeway for them to ever get a girlish nickname from them if they end up being a more girly girl.

Unisex names can and do work. But should be used with caution. Names which seem just a little too feminine or masculine such as Morgan for a girl, could be paired with a feminine name such as Rose to soften the name.

The way you spell it is also a big deal. Jesse, is a boys name. Jessie, is a girls name. Head for the spelling which looks more feminine. While i'm not a huge fan of mis-spelling names, Baylee and Camryn look a lot more feminine than Bailey and Cameron.

If a name your thinking about naming your boy is becoming increasingly popular for girls, then steer clear. Names such as Ashley were once okay for boys but as they grew in popularity with girls its not seen as popular anymore. The main rule for unisex name is that Camp Female steals from Camp Male. Hardly ever vice versa.

Names which should be steered clear from (source: http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/:
For a boy..
Addison. Is cute, but becoming very common on girls. Will create problems at school, going from rank 106 to 27 in one year.
Ashley. Very feminine sounding name and predominantly used for girls these days. Being ranked 12th for girls, but 957 for boys. (Some good alternatives if you like it are Ashton, Ashby or Asher)
Avery. Although started to gain popularity as a boys name, it is now much more commonly being used as a girls, and has a lot of association to the name Ava.
Brooklyn. It has "lyn" on the end. Enough said.
Brynn. Although once originally a male name, it is now being taken over by camp female.
Coby. A very feminine sounding name.
Dakota. Girls names commonly end in "A" while boys name typically don't. This name has a feminine feel because of that.
Emerson/ Emery/ Emlyn. Very feminine sounding, a lot more popular for girls and has "Emma/Emily" connotations.
Harper. Girly sounding.
Jaylen. A lot more feminine sounding because of the "len" ending.
Jensen. Quite feminine sounding, especially because of the Jen/Jenny connotations.
Kelly/ Kelsey/ Keeley. Both names scream "I'm a girl!"
Kendall. Been taken over by the girls. Especially because of the "elle-sounding" ending.
Lane. Just sounds like a girls name. Becoming very popular for girls and Elaine/ Laine/ Lainey have always been girls names.
London. Sounds very girlish.
Mackenzie. While I love this name on a boy, it has well and truly been taken of by Camp Female.
Peyton. Becoming less popular for boys, and more popular for girls.
Quinn. Sounds feminine.
Reagan. Becoming very popular with girls. Possibly the new Madison.
Reed. Just sounds feminine.
Sage. This ones going to be taken over by Camp Female. Just you watch.
Shelby/Sheldon. Sounds very feminine with the whole "Shel" thing going on.
Skyler. Oh, it is an adorable name but.. theres not one ounce of masculinity in it.
Sydney. While I like this one better on the blokes, its becoming increasingly female.
Taylor. So cute on boys! But is becoming well entrenched for girls. In the 200s for Males, but number 22 for girls.
Teagan. Just sounds like a little girl.

No-no's for girls.
Aidan/ Hayden/ Cayden/ Brayden. Please. Stop. Such nice little boys names are being stolen right before our eyes. And they sound soooo masculine. Wheres a girly nickname to be found in those?
Brady. Just screams little boy. Also! Means "large-chested" in Gaelic. Big no-no.
Brennan. Just nothing sweet or pretty about it for a girl..
Carson. Do you know what it means when "son" is at the end of names? It means son of. That just marks it as male.
Chandler. Hello. Theres so many "Friends" connotations there.
Chase. This one is such a boys one. Call her Chasey as a nickname instead.
Cody/ Colby/ Corey. This ones just belong to Camp Male. Hands off!
Glen. Noo, please no. Use Glenda instead.
Harley. With all the motorbike connotations and such this one should be untouched.
Harry. Harriet, yes. Harry, no! No! Think Prince Harry. Not cool on a girl.
Jace/ Jayce. The whole point of this, is its short for Jason. A BOYS name. Go for Jacie if you must.
Kai. Short names for girls have to be pretty. This one gives no room for nicknames.
Keegan. Sounds so boyish.
Kennedy. This is just so masculine sounding. I don't understand it. AT ALL. Its not nice sounding..
Kieran. This ones boys. Try Keira.
Landon. This ones becoming very popular with males, ranking in the top 50, while doesn't appear at all in the female lists.
Parker. This one sounds very boyish and masculine.
Preston. Again, very boyish.
Shane. Just nothing pretty about it whatsoever.
Slade. Sounds very boyish. No prettiness in it whatsoever for a little girl.
Tanner. Doesn't sound nice at all for a girl.
Toby. Adorable on a boy, but, on a girl? Hm, just not cute.
Travis. One of the most masculine names ever!! On a girl?? How?
Wyatt. In the top 100 for boys, but not even top 1000 for girls.

Good choices! :)
Devin (-van or -vin ending for boys)

Devon (-von ending for girls.)
Keelan/ Keeley
Marley/ Marlon

Comments on the blog? What needs improving? Is there something you'd like talked about in the blog? Want advice naming your child? Email me at anni.ekate@yahoo.com.au


talis said...

i agree people need to be caution when they using a unisex baby names.

Tamara said...

"Morgan Rose" is too much like "morose" for me to like that combo, but I agree people should at least add a gender-specific middle name to even out the unisex first name.

emplate77@hotmail.com said...

If I have a girl I want to name her Dylan Marie. I think its cute.

AK said...

That is cute :)

Anonymous said...

Dude, honestly, most of those names you listed as being masuline or boyish, with no nicknames for girls, don't always sound so masuline. What generation are you in that you think girls have to have 'cute' and 'sweet' names, or names that have to warrant a nickname taken directly from their name? Kai, actually would sound cute on a girl. I can picture it easily. Yes, some names, like Carson, may be too masculine because of the meaning. Not all parents look at the meaning though. They just think it would suit there baby, or that it sounds cool. I am a girl, and I was going to be named Brendan. That would have been twenty years ago. Really, maybe you need to update your views a little. Or atleast allow mre leeway. This is not an attack on any of your personal beliefs, but on the fact that things change, and so will fads when it comes to baby names. Parents want there children to be different, to stand out, and if they are a girl, to have a more powerful name, and one that sounds much more prettier then 'Glenda.'

AK said...


I think you seem to be misunderstanding me, somewhat.

People are totally free to name their children whatever they please, and if they decide on a name like Kai or Carson, then thats totally their choice.

I'm only giving my suggestions on what I think is best to do, and you're free to ignore them if you'd like.

I think in the fairness of your daughter, it is best to choose a name which has a feminine nickname if you're choosing a unisex name. Thats for their benefit, not yours. Sure, you might like them to be individual when they're a kid, but maybe when they're a little older (teen, adult, even an old lady) they might not like such a masculine name so much.

By choosing a unisex name with a feminine nickname, you're giving the option if THEY choose or THEY want when they grow up.

Naming your child is not all about you, but also about your child who has to live with that name :)

Anonymous said...

Parents should be should be extra careful using names categorized as "unisex names." This is because the real name for this category should be "boy names that girls stole and that the boys aren't getting back." Once a name goes to the girl's team, it is highly unlikely that it will surface as a top boy name (or even a common, recognizable boy's name) anytime in the next 50 years.
-Inventing Matilda

Anonymous said...

why are you so concerned with 'masculine' and 'feminine' anyway? Binary gender is on its way OUT.

Thank goodness.

Anonymous said...

I think Teagan (Tee-Gun)sounds more like a boy it is very masculine sounding. I don't understand this trend where parents are giving their daughters boys names (camp girl stealing from camp boy) It is very irritating and not fair to those little girls.
Teagan (boy)
See Also: Tegan, Teighan, Teagan, Tegan (boy)
not rated yet
Sex: boy
Language(s): Irish
Meaning: a form of Teague.

Dunneh said...

I agree with you for the most part, but I don't think 'McKinley' is good for a girl, sounds very masculine to me. What would you call her for short? Mac? Kin? And there's the fact "Mc" and "Mac" also mean 'son of' -- I hate how the girl camp is taking over all those names like McKenzie and such and ruining the original meaning. That's just me, though, I know I'll get lots of disagreements.

Still I found your post really interesting.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion Rory and Levi are horrible girl names. I don't know a single female Rory or Levi. Also, I like the names Dakota and Eden for boys, but that's just me. And another guy name, for me would be Marshall or Barney, love those names. I think boys should have more leeway with feminine names. I'd prefer a boy named Bryce to a guy named Harley and a girl named James to one named Glenda.