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  1. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    833
    Do you think that a name has a gender?
    I think we give gender to names. There is nothing innately gendered to a name. However, if a name is used predominately by one gender, I, and most people consider it a name for that gender.

    Should a name only be used on a certain gender?
    I used to think no but I've changed my mind as I've gotten older. I am against the continual loss of boys' names.

    What do you consider a gender neutral name?
    Anything that is consistently used pretty well by both genders, so Jordan and River maybe. It's tricky though because many names people give as being gender neutral are in fact transitioning from boy to girl.

    When do you consider a name gender neutral? After it's been used on each gender equally?
    Yeah, pretty much but it has to hold over time and that doesn't happen often.

    If a name like Emmett, the masculine form of Emma, can be used on a girl can Elisabeth be used on a boy?
    You can name your child anything you want but it's not culturally acceptable.

    If it is okay to use traditionally masculine names on a girl, why isn't it acceptable to use traditionally girls names on a boy?
    Because things that are deemed masculine are good and things that are deemed feminine are not, or at least only acceptable on women.

    What makes a name more feminine or more masculine? Is it the sound of the name or the way the name looks when written out?
    It changes over time and from culture to culture. I think that lately we've been more obsessed with categorizing sounds as masculine or feminine. If you look at long standing traditional names, there wasn't as much as a distinction. Just like it wasn't always that babies wore pink and blue. They all wore white dresses, or at least uncolored gowns really. There wasn't a need for a baby to be identified it's sex and it's not because it was a less gendered time. Gendering a baby wasn't really a concern for people because most of the time they weren't around strangers and people knew their gender and could treat them accordingly.

    You always see celebrities and other people using traditionally masculine names on girls but never do you see it the other way around. A little while ago I met a little girl named Isaiah. Her mother had said that she wanted to name her daughter something with the NN Izzy and thought Isaiah was perfect. When I told her that was my son's name she asked me why I picked such a feminine name for my son.
    This is what makes me angry. People deciding that something sounds feminine or masculine and deciding they can assign gender like that. I've heard a number of people say that Elliot sounds like a girls' name, despite it being used exclusively as a boys name and being decently popular as long as there have been records kept in the US. According the them then, any boy names that is dubbed "soft" or can shorten to a popular girl's nickname is fair game to steal, pretty much saying that if I want to name my son Elliot, it's a "sissy" name.

    If you met a little boy named Bailey Madison what would you think of him or his parents?
    Nothing, although now that I've looked it up I see it's a popular girls' name. I live in an area where people tend to give more traditional names so I don't always know what surnames are trending for which gender. Bailey looked like a boy name to me initially but I think that about most surname names anyway. I would then think maybe Bailey is a family name or something, since that's a tradition for some people.

    Does that make Bailey seem less masculine? Do you think he would be a mama's boy? Does it make you think less of him? Why?
    No, but I thought Bailey sounded like a boys' name anyway. I don't much like the term 'mama's boy' anyway, especially considering how differently portrayed 'daddy's girl' is.

    A friend of mine I think said it best. Why is it okay for a family to decide to name their daughter Asa, a masculine biblical name but if you ask that same family to name their daughter Abigail a feminine biblical name they wouldn't even consider it?

    Well basically, we as a society feel the need to to assign gender to sounds in names now, I think partially because of the popularity of surnames so that assigning is bleeding over into traditional names. Also, people are ok with girls taking on 'masculine' traits but not boys showing 'feminine' traits.

  2. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    US
    Posts
    300
    Do you think that a name has a gender?
    I feel that most names do express a certain gender. When most people hear the name "Anna" they think of a certain gender. Although, when a name starts to be used by more of one gender then it may start to "shift", especially when a name that has been seen as a male name starts to move toward the female side.

    Should a name only be used on a certain gender?
    I understand having some general neutral names, although it isn't my style. Personally, I prefer seeing a name and knowing the sex of the person behind it. For example, If I saw that I was going to see a Dr. Charlie ___, I would assume I was seeing a male doctor and I wouldn't be happy to see a female doctor coming in the room. Gender neutral names can increase confusion.

    What do you consider a gender neutral name?
    River

    When do you consider a name gender neutral? After it's been used on each gender equally?
    When it's very equal or a nature based name (with the exception of flowers and most gems-Sapphire and Rose doesn't scream male). Some place names are gender neutral as well (like Brooklyn).

    If a name like Emmett, the masculine form of Emma, can be used on a girl can Elisabeth be used on a boy?
    It can, but just because it happens wouldn't mean it is now a "boy" name. I don't think people would take the name Elisabeth on a boy very well.

    If it is okay to use traditionally masculine names on a girl, why isn't it acceptable to use traditionally girls names on a boy?
    Personally, I feel that if you are fine with putting a masculine name on a girl you should be fine with a feminine name on a boy. Although, I feel boys have a lot more to lose than girls when they have a name of the opposite sex. Boys are taught not to have anything feminine, while girls have been pushed to be able to do anything boys can do.

    What makes a name more feminine or more masculine? Is it the sound of the name or the way the name looks when written out?
    Part of it is what has been used before as a feminine or masculine name. Elizabeth has been used as a female name for a long time, and James has been a male name. Of course that changes, but it seems that a lot of the names that were initially given to girls that sounded more masculine were the surnames. Some sounds have also begun to be associated with female names (like the "e" sound).

    You always see celebrities and other people using traditionally masculine names on girls but never do you see it the other way around. A little while ago I met a little girl named Isaiah. Her mother had said that she wanted to name her daughter something with the NN Izzy and thought Isaiah was perfect. When I told her that was my son's name she asked me why I picked such a feminine name for my son.
    Just because she sees it as a female name doesn't make it so. This is part of why, even though I want a son, I am afraid of having one.

    If you met a little boy named Bailey Madison what would you think of him or his parents?
    I wouldn't really think much. I think of Baileys Irish Cream. If Madison was the first name, I would be expecting a female just because of how common it is on girls, but I wouldn't be shocked to see a boy.

    Does that make Bailey seem less masculine? Do you think he would be a mama's boy? Does it make you think less of him? Why?
    No. Bailey still reminds me of the drink. I've also never met a female Bailey.

    A friend of mine I think said it best. Why is it okay for a family to decide to name their daughter Asa, a masculine biblical name but if you ask that same family to name their daughter Abigail a feminine biblical name they wouldn't even consider it?
    Because it has become more acceptable by many for a girl to carry a name considered to be a "boy's" name. Maybe they want to go with a trend or want to honor someone in their family.

  3. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,073
    Do you think that a name has a gender? Historically, yes - that's why male and female versions of names existed - Charles and Charlotte, for example. But different names can have different genders in different cultures - I believe Maria is commonly used on boys in certain Catholic countries, or at least was in the past - and so with the merging of cultures the gender lines have also merged.

    Should a name only be used on a certain gender? It depends on the name. Charles and Charlotte, for example, have no reason to be used on the opposite gender given their historical use on one gender and the existence of an alternative which will also lead to the nickname Charlie. But other names are fair game for either gender - surname names, nature names, place names - as they haven't got a gender as such.

    What do you consider a gender neutral name? Most place names, nature names and surnames. Brooklyn, River and Bailey are gender neutral to me. Victoria, Rose and Thomas, although they technically fit into those categories, aren't as they have centuries of use on one specific gender as a first name.

    When do you consider a name gender neutral? After it's been used on each gender equally? Not exactly equally, but within a reasonable proportion so that, associations aside, you would not automatically assume one gender over the other upon hearing the name.

    If a name like Emmett, the masculine form of Emma, can be used on a girl can Elisabeth be used on a boy? I don't think names like Emmett should be used for girls anyway when there is a feminine form in existence, but if names are going to be used for the opposite gender, it ought to work both ways.

    If it is okay to use traditionally masculine names on a girl, why isn't it acceptable to use traditionally girls names on a boy? A previous poster summed this up perfectly in that it is socially acceptable for females to aspire to stereotypically masculine qualities but not the other way round.

    What makes a name more feminine or more masculine? Is it the sound of the name or the way the name looks when written out? I think it's a combination of both, but I think people should be able to use softer sounding names for boys (Elijah, Luca) and harder sounding names for girls (Sloane, Edith) without it being seen as using a more feminine or masculine name than is common for the gender. Names for both genders are on a spectrum - the most masculine names being the Hunter, Gunner types that emphasise macho behaviour and the most feminine being the frilly Isabella, Cordelia sort of names that conjure thoughts of pink dresses and pigtails. It's at the opposite ends of the spectrums where gender-bending occurs as people try to stretch it further.

    You always see celebrities and other people using traditionally masculine names on girls but never do you see it the other way around. A little while ago I met a little girl named Isaiah. Her mother had said that she wanted to name her daughter something with the NN Izzy and thought Isaiah was perfect. When I told her that was my son's name she asked me why I picked such a feminine name for my son. Peaches Geldof used Astala and Phaedra for her sons, I can't remember their middle names but it does happen the other way, albeit very rarely. Most people though don't have a clue about the origin of names and just hear or see it and think 'oh that's nice'. With the -iah ending being more common on girl's names I guess this woman just didn't bother to research it properly, otherwise she'd see Isaiah is a biblical male name with centuries of usage on boys.

    If you met a little boy named Bailey Madison what would you think of him or his parents? Both names seem a little bit dated but other than that Bailey is more boy to me anyway. I'd think maybe one or both were family names as the use of two surname names seems a little disjointed to me.

    Does that make Bailey seem less masculine? Do you think he would be a mama's boy? Does it make you think less of him? Why?
    Most little boys (talking kids of around 3-7 here) I've met are mama's boys in that they're fond of their mothers, but I think that comes with the age rather than anything else, and it's rather cute seeing them want to buy her a present with the £2 of pocket money that they have. But that's nothing to do with their name, it's to do with their age (old enough to know and understand things but not old enough to be independent in any way) and personality.


    A friend of mine I think said it best. Why is it okay for a family to decide to name their daughter Asa, a masculine biblical name but if you ask that same family to name their daughter Abigail a feminine biblical name they wouldn't even consider it?
    Maybe Abigail isn't their taste - it could be too long, or they don't like the nicknames Abby or Gail, or it has bad associations for them. But Asa is very similar to other popular girls' names, like Ava, that they could have thought it was a girl's name without researching it.

    Anna Katherine * Lydia Ellen * Zoe Madeleine * Phoebe ___ * Imogen ___ * Emilia ___
    Samuel * Thomas * Charlie * Reuben * Oliver * George


  4. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    4,091
    Do you think that a name has a gender?
    I grew up in Germany. In German everything has a gender designation (well somethings like a house are gender neutral but other things like a table are masculine, butter is feminine, etc). Therefore, to me most names to have gender associations. But, I do realize that other languages have different gender association for the same objects (off the top of my head the only I can think of is Death as in German it’s masculine but in French it’s feminine - makes for very interesting translated metaphors sometimes). For me a name would retain the gender it originally had in it’s original language.

    Should a name only be used on a certain gender?
    There are many countries that predefine what gender a name is and insist that a child is given a name that clearly indicates its gender. Unless it’s a virtue name, I tend to be more attracted to gender defined names. I do think some names grow the gap more easily than others though.

    What do you consider a gender neutral name?
    Mostly word or object/nature names. For example: Haven, Jubilee, Wren, and Lyric

    When do you consider a name gender neutral? After it's been used on each gender equally?

    If a name like Emmett, the masculine form of Emma, can be used on a girl can Elisabeth be used on a boy? It can be... there are many men who have the mn Maria for example. I wouldn’t do it, I don’t think it would be easy especially if it’s as common as Elisabeth is in most western societies, but I do think that if you a feminine name from a culture you are part of and it infrequently used - I don’t see why not.

    If it is okay to use traditionally masculine names on a girl, why isn't it acceptable to use traditionally girls names on a boy? See above.

    What makes a name more feminine or more masculine? Is it the sound of the name or the way the name looks when written out? I think it’s a bit of everything, the cultural association, the feel of the name, the look and in particular the sound. An -etta or -ella name will always feel feminine to me while and -er name will always strike me as more masculine. (Also see first question about gender by culture).

    You always see celebrities and other people using traditionally masculine names on girls but never do you see it the other way around. A little while ago I met a little girl named Isaiah. Her mother had said that she wanted to name her daughter something with the NN Izzy and thought Isaiah was perfect. When I told her that was my son's name she asked me why I picked such a feminine name for my son. I would have answered that it is a traditional biblical male name and left it at that.

    If you met a little boy named Bailey Madison what would you think of him or his parents? I’d only be more excited if I meet a little boy Ashley Madison - both of these names are considered feminine now though they both have masculine roots and were once fully male names. (I will never use Ashley as it sounds horrendous when my German family says it, but if I were considering it, it would be for a boy only).

    Does that make Bailey seem less masculine? Do you think he would be a mama's boy? Does it make you think less of him? Why? Just because people use names on the opposite gender doesn’t change the feel or meaning of a name.

    A friend of mine I think said it best. Why is it okay for a family to decide to name their daughter Asa, a masculine biblical name but if you ask that same family to name their daughter Abigail a feminine biblical name they wouldn't even consider it? Maybe the love the sounds of Asa and dislike Abigail - however, if she means any biblical feminine name then I would suggest that maybe these parents like to think of themselves as forward thinking and on trend - gender-benders are on trend - esp for traditional male names. They might feel that a traditional female biblical name is too traditional or stuffy for them. That couple that decided to name their little girl Asa, might also have been considering Ava, Ada, or Aria all of which would be much closer in look and feel to Asa but are (in western culture) decidedly feminine. I think that without asking what other names they were considering you are throwing them out before testing their baby’s bathwater.
    MAJOR CONSTRUCTION ZONE
    newlywed!!! (not trying...yet)

  5. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,661
    Do you think that a name has a gender?
    Since unisex names are few in Germany, yes, to me most names have a gender.


    Should a name only be used on a certain gender?
    Yes and No. If a name is traditionally male, then, in my opinion, it should be used on a boy and vice versa.
    However, some names have different roots, both as a male and female name or are word name, so NO to these.


    What do you consider a gender neutral name?
    A name without traditional male or female roots or a name that is used equally in my language, country or the country I'm talking about.


    When do you consider a name gender neutral? After it's been used on each gender equally?
    Yes.


    If a name like Emmett, the masculine form of Emma, can be used on a girl can Elisabeth be used on a boy?
    Neither should be used on the other gender but if Emmett can be used on a girl, Elisabeth can be used on a boy.
    Neither would be possible here, though.

    If it is okay to use traditionally masculine names on a girl, why isn't it acceptable to use traditionally girls names on a boy?
    I hate either.
    I'm looking at you, people who use Elliott for their girls.


    What makes a name more feminine or more masculine? Is it the sound of the name or the way the name looks when written out?
    Both but mostly the traditional use.


    You always see celebrities and other people using traditionally masculine names on girls but never do you see it the other way around. A little while ago I met a little girl named Isaiah. Her mother had said that she wanted to name her daughter something with the NN Izzy and thought Isaiah was perfect. When I told her that was my son's name she asked me why I picked such a feminine name for my son.
    I'd say that Isaiah is a boys name, she could check is she wanted and be done with it.
    Otherwise I would get into a heated argument.


    If you met a little boy named Bailey Madison what would you think of him or his parents?

    Sweet name. I'd think of his parents as traditional people.

    Does that make Bailey seem less masculine? Do you think he would be a mama's boy? Does it make you think less of him? Why?
    No, why would it?

    A friend of mine I think said it best. Why is it okay for a family to decide to name their daughter Asa, a masculine biblical name but if you ask that same family to name their daughter Abigail a feminine biblical name they wouldn't even consider it?

    Some names have different roots. I'm not sure about Asa, but when I came on here for the first time, I've only ever known of female Ezras / Esras, a turkish girls name.
    Aside from that, some people don't seem to think much about the names they give their children. Why else would there be Keaylinns, Brynkleighs and Fadens?
    Polly

    Flora | Ophelia | Penelope | Rose

    August | Elliott Caspar Frederick | Theo

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