Category: gender neutral baby names
By Kara Blakley
Gender and naming are two complicated subjects that become almost perilous once considered together. It may appear on the surface that we’ve entered a sort of gender-fluid golden age in which names like Cameron, Elliot, Peyton, Quinn, and anything -son are equally accessible to boys and girls. It seems every week a new celebrity is bestowing a daughter with the middle name James.
By Abby Sandel
For years, conventional wisdom dictated that boys were named after their fathers and grandfathers. But today, boys are just as likely to be named after the important women in their lives.
Along with that shift comes a willingness to think differently about boys’ names. We’ve noted the rise of boy-girl equivalents, like Emma and Emmett, before. Now we’re more seeing boys with middle names that might have been reserved for girls just a few years ago.
If you’ve grown weary of celebrity birth announcements with names like James, Arlo, and Wyatt for girls, this could be a hopeful sign. As many berries have pointed out, names aren’t really unisex unless they can be used for both boys and girls equally.
From Anne Hathaway’s inventive smoosh to the tWitch Boss’s nature name pick, let’s look at the baby names in the news in recent weeks – and the way parents are choosing boy baby names that are fresh and new.
By now, you’ve almost certainly heard about Blaer Bjarkardottir.
She’s just won the legal right to use her name. Fifteen years ago, Blaer’s mom unknowingly gave her daughter a name that does not appear on the official list of 1,853 names permitted for baby girls in Iceland. The mistake was discovered only after Blaer’s baptism.
A Nobel Prize-winning novelist had used the name for a female character. Plus, Blaer’s mom knew another woman with the name – it’s where she got the idea in the first place.
It turns out that even in a country with official lists, things can be a little bit fuzzy.
There are no official lists in the U.S., but plenty of us might like to impose them.
Trouble is, even if there were rules at a given moment, they’re always subject to change. What was true in 1960 – or 1860 – won’t hold in 2013.
This brings us to a great quote from Swistle: “Names, like colors and toys, are given to male/female babies according to fashion, not according to stone tablets.”