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Thread: Why Steal Male Names???
January 15th, 2014 10:50 PM #31Senior Member
- Join Date
- Nov 2013
7 Last Thoughts
1). There is no need to get vicious on these forums. Someone puts forth a view with which you wildly disagree? Fine; then disagree, don't personally attack.
2). Forums are for OPINIONS. If we all agreed, it would be very boring. That would not be a forum or nameberry, that would be a single subject cable channel or a political campaign.
3). It is a mistake to assume that a person's username on nameberry is her real name. Yes, my name is Leslie, but it is not Marion. That was one of my grandmothers' names. And yes, both Leslie and Marion were at one time male names then they became unisex and now, to my knowledge, they are both solidly in the female only camp, at least in the U.S. I love both names. Had I been given a name still firmly in the male camp only -- William, Clyde, Edgar -- I would not be so happy with my name, not happy at all.
4). This sputtering, indignant notion that how dare we have any opinions on naming trends is ridiculous. The implication seems to be that anyone can name her child anything under the sun and it's all good, it's all the same. I do not believe in censorship or banning of names -- or censoring different views! - but I don't have to like all naming trends or believe they are appropriate.
5). Over the 25 years I've taught public school, I have seen opportunities for girls grow. We are not there yet, but much progress has been made. I have also sadly seen opportunities for boys diminish in ways that have been exhaustively detailed by people far more expert than I. I know this is really why the use of male names for females bothers me. Why it feels like stealing. Why it feels like entitlement. Nobody has to agree, but it is as valid a point of view and emotion as the next.
6). It continues to bother me that strong names are perceived so often as male names and weak names as female. Enid sounds a lot stronger to me than Percival.
7). I like a bunch of odd names. Names that I love but would not actually name a person. Some I wouldn't give to an animal either. Sure, many of us women have male-sounding nicknames (Les, Andy, Charlie, etc.) But how would we like to be named Bruce? Leonard? Frank? Todd? Fred?
Norman? Alfred? What can seem powerful and affirming to the naming parent can be a lifelong bummer, even a major impediment, to a child/future adult. And that is worth pondering.
January 16th, 2014 12:18 AM #33
Okay, so I read the whole thread and there were aspects of everyone's posts that I agreed with to some extent. I agree with the comment that for some people sound overrides gender, one user in particular pointing out that she likes Robin for a boy and Quinn for a girl, which I am also fond of.
I agree in the wider community it isn't our concern. But as many of us take great pride in compiling lists, creating combinations and what not, sometimes it feels (and I may be wrong) that not everyone takes naming their children as seriously as they should. Names like Shiloh, Quinn and Avery are easier to pull off than William is. Mainly, just because of their feminine sound then anything.
I am truly fine for people to name their children whatever they see fit. But sometimes it's also important to recognize that we also have a plethora of names at our disposal from hundreds of different cultures and religions and as Nameberries we try to use them honorably and respectfully. Of course, there are examples when using a male name on a female or vice versa has special significance to the parents so I will never knock it. But we have so many more options then we would of a few hundred years ago, it feels like we don't necessarily need to use male names on girls. I doubt that the trend will ever completely go away. In my experience, living in Australia, we don't very often (and I do say in my experience) encounter girls with boys names. Unisex? Sure; but very rarely do I hear James on a girl, though I have heard Semaj. I have a friend, who has been considering Jack for a girl, for ages. She always says she hopes she meets some with the last name Daniels, so the child will be named after the Whiskey brand. I'd say it was funny; but she's serious.
To be honest, what I find the most disappointing is when people chose to name their son James Oscar and their daughter is Makeisha Ivie. I know we've spoken about this before, but that baffles me. Yes, I don't know the significance, be it cultural or otherwise; but Ivy is fine the way it is.
There is no real answer though. Because part of me feels that if I condone any names that have gone unisex, am I adding to the issue? I just feel like while I would name my daughter something clunky yet feminine before I'd name her Jack, that is my choice. So while I may not understand or agree, I still have to respect their decision, just like I hope they would mine. I know that sounds a bit "on the fence" as it were; but I am still working through my opinion.
Last edited by sodallas3; January 16th, 2014 at 12:37 AM.Jessica Emily Faith
Living in the land of Oz...
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January 16th, 2014 12:27 AM #35Senior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
I'd rather see James be used as a girls' name than Ezra/Rory/Nikita/Gabriel.
Why? Because James is a well-known, English name that has always been in the Top 50 for boys. Using a name like that for a girl in America at least suggests you know it's a boys name and are familiar with the fact it's a boy's name. You know you're the one being different.
That, to me, is not something I'd do, but I'd prefer it to "this is a name from another language/culture and I think it sounds feminine because it ends in a vowel and besides, who thinks it sounds masculine anyway?!" Reeks of cultural appropriation. "I just found this name and it ends in an -a." Good for you?
Saving specifically James/Charles/Robert etc. just suggests inherent value/respect for a specific language/background, doesn't it?
Anyway, I try to keep names mostly on their traditional gender but I try to be fair across languages. I don't have a problem with feminizations, though. (Josefa, Simone, Ariela?). I would like to have the opportunity to name after my grandparents, regardless of what gender children I have.
January 16th, 2014 12:56 AM #37Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
Fun story. When I was little (I'm talking three or four years old here), I thought James was a girl's name. I was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine, and I thought the train James was a girl engine. I'm not sure if that's because James sounded like a girl's name to me, or if it's because James the engine is red and I thought red was a girly colour when I was little. Either way, it took me a while to figure out that James was a boy.
January 16th, 2014 01:11 AM #39Junior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2013
Male names for girls isn't personally my style. But I have a good friend, a girl who was named after her uncle Andie. I have a teacher who named her daughter Dallyce after the father, Dallas. These girls were given male names because they were named after male relatives in spite of gender: the parents admired the qualities in that person and wanted to honor them and share that name with the child, regardless of the gender of the child. I think that is respectable.