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Category: androgynous baby names

unisex baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Some unisex baby names start as female choices and shift over time to become more boyish, but many more begin as all-boy names and over the decades cross to the girls’ side.

The baby names here are extreme cases.  Most started life, back when the US government began recording babies’ names, as 100% male choices, and now have become mostly girls’ names.

While we were tempted to narrow the field to only those dozen names that went from 100% male to 100% female, the entire list proved just too interesting to cut.

The baby names that have morphed from blue to pink – and when they made their big switch – include:

Addison

100% male in 1880, 98% female in 2012

Jumped to 55% female in 1996

Alexis

100% male in 1882, 77% female in 2012

In 1942, Alexis leaped to 69% female from 42%

Allison

100% male in 1880, 100% female in 2012

From 1942-1948 it jumped from 52% to 80% female

Ashley

100% male in 1880, 100% female in 2012

Crossed the line in 1965 to become 64% female

Aubrey

100% male in 1880, 98% female in 2012

In 1974, tipped to 52% female

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abby-blur

This week, Appellation Mountain’s Abby Sandel ventures into the blurry grey area of  newly discovered gender-neutral names.

It’s official! America’s favorite names are Charlotte and James. The top names for 2011 in Sweden? Alice and William. They’re classic appellations, at home across the centuries and in many languages.

They’re also clearly gendered. With apologies to Mr. Cooper, it is difficult to imagine a boy named Alice, and while actor James Marsden has a daughter called Mary James, it is tough to imagine picking James for a daughter’s first name.

Or is it? At first, it is easy to draw clear lines. Evan is a boy’s name, but Evelyn is meant for a girl. Nicola is feminine, of course, while Jordan was shamelessly stolen from our sons.

While we all have our own impressions, it often turns out that the line is blurry, or even non-existent, for many a name. This week’s top nine illustrate that uncertainty.

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Boys’ Names for Girls: A Key To Success?

dylan

Will giving your daughter a masculine name — as Heidi Klum and Seal did with their newborn daughter Lou — increase her odds for career success?

It might if she goes into the legal profession, according to a new study.  Women with masculine names make more money as lawyers than those with feminine names and are more likely to be appointed to judgeships, say researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Not only that, but the more masculine the name, the better.  A woman named Kelly has a five percent greater chance of becoming a judge than a Sue, while Cameron’s odds are tripled and a female Bruce’s are quintupled.

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