Category: androgynous names
Unisex names and the question of whether a child’s gender should be evident via his or her name is one that comes up frequently on Nameberry. Â It’s an issue that’s changed a lot over the years we’ve been writing about baby names and that varies substantially in different cultures.
Starting with the baby boomlet of the 1980s, the first wave of feminist parents gave girls androgynous names like Morgan and Parker to make them more competitive with boys…..while parents of boys abandoned unisex names in favor of more traditional masculine choices. Â Next came names that broke away from traditional boy or girl choices — Logan and Lake, Bellamy and Finn — but still somehow held onto a gendered identity.
Despite vast changes in naming practices around the world, some ancient cultures accommodate names that work for either sex — Japan is a notable example — while other countries such as Norway require that names carry gender identity. Â Germany changed its naming laws in 2008 to allow the use of unisex names.
Few subjects are as divisive as gender neutral baby names, and yet I canâ€™t stop talking about them. Â Some of us deny their very existence.Â Others are willing to call a daughter James, but hesitate to name a son Avery or Madison.Â Many of us are discovering nature names or other novel appellations, ones that donâ€™t easily declare themselves pink or blue.
Not every culture splits names into such neat categories, and names certainly shift over time.Â Plenty of ends-in-a options, like Noah and Joshua have become favorites for boys, even though theyâ€™re very different from the once-dominant Bob, Tom, and Bill – proof that we can reconsider names every generation, if not more often.
Itâ€™s official! Americaâ€™s favorite names are Charlotte and James. The top names for 2011 in Sweden? Alice and William. Theyâ€™re classic appellations, at home across the centuries and in many languages.
Theyâ€™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 daughterâ€™s first name.
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 weekâ€™s top nine illustrate that uncertainty.
Unisex names have been around forever, back to the era when Alice, Anne, Emma and EsmĂ© were boysâ€™ names that morphed over to the girlsâ€™ side, and Douglas and Clarence were female names.Â In the sixtiesÂ there wereÂ Jodys and Jamies of both genders, and now we have a whole new set of names popular for both boys and girls.
Some of Â the unisexÂ names onÂ both current lists include:
The Question of the Week is:Â Are any of these names among your faves, and if so, would they be used for a girl or a boy?