A Girl Named James! And Maxwell and Wyatt…
Actor-comedian-stuntman Johnny Knoxville rose to fame as part of MTV’s Jackass empire. He’s the father of three: daughter Madison, son Rocko Akira, and daughter Arlo Lemoyne Yoko. Let’s just say that his taste in names has gotten more and more daring as the years have gone by. While Arlo might seem like a wacky choice for a girl, with Harlow and Marlowe in vogue, it’s not a stretch to imagine parents considering Arlo, too.
- Johnny Knoxville rose to fame as part of MTV’s Jackass empire. He’s the father of three: daughter Madison, son Rocko Akira, and daughter Arlo Lemoyne Yoko. Let’s just say that his taste in names has gotten more and more daring as the years have gone by. While Arlo might seem like a wacky choice for a girl, with Harlow and Marlowe in vogue, it’s not a stretch to imagine parents considering Arlo, too." >
- Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf were inspired to name their son Pilot after a song lyric. More than a decade later, Pilot is still a go-to name for wacky baby name lists. (I’m not sure it deserves that much noise.) Jason and new wife Ceren Alkac kept the name of their daughter quiet, but Casper Alice has mostly gotten positive reviews. The couple have a second child together, son Sonny." >
- Every time I see mentions of Elisabeth Rohm’s daughter’s name, I pause. I think it’s a good idea for either the first or the middle to be clearly gendered – see Casper Alice, as well as Isabelle, a middle shared by two girls on this list. Elisabeth stuck to the grey area when naming her daughter in 2008. Easton has since entered the US Top 100 for boys. But maybe August isn’t such a surprise. Actor Oscar Nunez has an August Luce, and Garth Brooks named his daughter August Anna way back in 1994. So Easton is definitely borrowed from Team Blue, but August? Perhaps this calendar name belongs with April and June." >
- Mark Owen is known as a member of British pop group Take That, and he’s had a big solo career, too. In 2009, Mark married actress Emma Ferguson, and the two started a family: son Elwood Jack, daughter Willow Rose, and, in 2012, daughter Fox India. Yup, Fox is a girl. In the US, the creature name is a fast-rising favorite for boys, currently poised just outside of the US Top 1000." >
- Jenna von Oy played sitcom characters named Six and Stevie back in the 1990s. Fast-forward to 2012, and she welcomed her first child, daughter Gray Audrey. In a classroom full of girls called Scarlett and Violet, colorful Gray isn’t such a surprise. But the somber name is more common for boys, especially when you consider Grey, as well as the fast-rising Grayson – in the US Top 100 – or Greyson – not far behind, at #149. But unisex names must be von Oy’s style. Her younger daughter is Marlowe Monroe." >
- Kevin Rahm has had a long television career, most recently as Ted on Mad Men. He become a father late in 2014, welcoming daughter Hunter. Like Wyatt and Lincoln, Hunter is a Top 100 favorite for boys. And yet on a girl, Hunter does feel wearable, a unisex name thanks to mythological and fictional figures like Artemis, the Amazons, and Katniss Everdeen – skilled hunters all." >
- James has finally been confirmed as the first name of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' baby girl. But James has been big in the middle spot for girls for years. Sean Combs has a daughter called Jessie James, born back in 2006. More recently, Jessica Capshaw welcomed Poppy James, Jennifer Love Hewitt went with Autumn James, and James Marsden’s daughter wears one of my favorite combinations, Mary James. But James has also starred as a first name for baby girls. Canadian actor Brendan Fehr is the father of three girls: Ondine, Ellison Jane, and James Olivia. Helen Hunt played Jamie “James” Buchman on Mad About You back in the 1990s. And model Jaime King started out her career answering to James, too. According to the Social Security Administration, 28 girls were named James in 2013." >
- Martha Stewart’s only child is daughter Alexis – a name preferred for men in many languages. In 2011, the younger Ms. Stewart welcomed daughter Jude. While Jude – as in Hey and the Obscure – is definitely as masculine moniker, plenty of women named Judy and Judith have answered to Jude. It’s not quite Chris or Pat, but I think it seems less jarring than some of the names on this list." >
- Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell had a favorite name for their first baby. And even though Lincoln is much more popular for a boy, the couple named their daughter Lincoln Bell Shepard in 2013. It’s too soon to say if Dax and Kristen’s gender-bending choice will influence others, but there’s already a tiny minority of girls by the name – 61 born in 2013 alone." >
- Kelsey Grammar is much-married, and father to six children. Two of his daughters have conventionally masculine names – Spencer and Mason. Spencer’s acting career has flourished in recent years, and little sister Mason was in the spotlight when Kelsey’s former wife, Camille, was featured on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Mason was born back in 2001, when the name ranked a mere #53 in the US." >
- Jessica Simpson surprised everyone when she announced the arrival of daughter Maxwell Drew in 2012. Jessica and retired footballer husband Eric Johnson explained that they’d chosen family names for Maxwell, and later for son Ace Knute. It’s a very Southern thing to do, and yet, Maxwell still seems like a solidly masculine name. Or is it? That same year, actress Lindsay Sloane named her daughter Maxwell Lue." >
- Michelle Branch welcomed Owen Isabelle. While plenty of conventionally masculine names are steadily used for girls, like Dylan and Ryan, Michelle’s Owen is one of the few girls given this name. Middle name Isabelle softens the unexpected first." >
- Isabelle, that’s the same middle name Aston Kutcher and Mila Kunis gave to their daughter, born in 2014. Wyatt Isabelle’s middle name honors Mila’s grandma, but Wyatt was just something that came to the couple at a Lakers game." >
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on March 19th, 2015 at 11:44 pm
I would not take seriously anything that “celebrities” do, including naming their daughters Fritz and Jared.
Now Cate Blanchett, with her gorgeously named children, she’s a class act.
on March 20th, 2015 at 12:00 am
Ugh, so over this celebrity trend of using boy names for girls. Oh well, to each their own I guess. It definitely isn’t going to stop me from using a name I love on a boy just because a celebrity used it for a girl.
And I agree with @lesliemarion that Cate Blanchett’s daughter has an exquisite name.
on March 20th, 2015 at 1:14 am
I love Jude on a girl, and I don’t mind Hunter. The rest are meh.
on March 20th, 2015 at 6:24 am
Nameberry, I don’t quite understand your obsession with celebrity baby names. Most of us are not obsessed with celebrities, or at least not so obsessed with them that we would take away our own baby naming decision just so we could copy one of theirs. Not only that but, you seem to be forgetting who your main user-base is – normal, average, every day people. We are not like celebrities, Nameberry. Therefore, naming a girl Maxwell or James is not acceptable and, indeed, would likely cause a girl much trouble and also general embarrassment throughout her life. This is the complete opposite of the celebrity world, that is filled with money, private schools, censorship and a number of other safety features (including other kids with wacky names) which would serve to protect their offspring from any negatitivy.
Moving on, taking well know, well loved, ridiculously popular boy names and trying to market them to girls is not okay. To be honest, I would be fully supprotive of the whole ‘unisex’ thing that you’re trying so hard to push but, the way you’re doing it is just so sexist. By your standards, hyper masculine names are cool for girls but, once they start getting popular with girls, you discourage their use for boys. Not only that but you don’t acknolwedge traditional masculine names like Marion, Leslie and Evelyn as positive choices for boys. And, for all the straight-up masculine names like Lawrence, Howard, Elliott, Auberon etc. that you say would be ‘cool’ choices for girls, with the exception of mentioning Jayne as a possible choice for boys on an old blog post, I have not once seen you try to market any absolutely feminine girl names for boys.
The sexism isn’t nice, Nameberry, even if it isn’t your intention. I know that you’re trying to be a cool and cutting edge baby name website but, you already are. And, as it stands, there are better ways to go about keeping up that high standard…
on March 20th, 2015 at 7:53 am
Ugh, I hate this trend, and always will.
And, yeah, I agree. I don’t care what celebrities do!
on March 20th, 2015 at 8:00 am
I completely agree with @AldabellaxWulfe. When it becomes commonplace to see boys named Isabelle or Charlotte, alongside girls named Madison or Hunter, we’ll be closer to gender equality. Nameberry advises against naming boys Madison, Meredith, Evelyn, Ashley, Lynn, Dana, etc…. but it’s somehow breaking gender stereotypes by naming a girl Henry? I don’t get it! This is simply perpetuating the idea that the feminine is somehow “lesser” and boys should avoid it at all costs. Truly unisex naming would also involve *popular, familiar* names with historical use swapping from the girls to the boys– not just boys names on girls.
on March 20th, 2015 at 8:12 am
@AldaBellaxWolfe – Oh no, that’s not what I think at all! I think it’s fine to reclaim names for boys that have been more commonly used for girls. And I do think parents are doing that more + more. In our neighborhood, there are boys named Kaya & Avery. One of my son’s best friends is a boy named Delaney, and he’s known girls and boys named Jordan and Micah. Kids are pretty relaxed about these things, really, and I think parents are more willing to choose names without regard to gender. And that’s a good thing.
Here’s the list of names that have gone to the girls that I love hearing on boys: http://nameberry.com/blog/kelly-mackenzie-and-clare-great-reclaimed-names-for-boys
And I do think surnames are – and should be – equal opportunity. There are long traditions, especially in the American South, around passing down family surnames to children without regard to gender. I think that’s quite egalitarian. And stylish, too.
on March 20th, 2015 at 8:21 am
Well, this article was well timed, because today Ryan Reynolds revealed the name is, indeed, James.
As for the other names mentioned in this post, I do kind of like August on a girl, and Gray is fine (while not my cup of tea). The others I vastly prefer on boys. Casper I don’t care for on either gender.
on March 20th, 2015 at 9:56 am
Sorry, August has a long history of being a male name, especially in parts of Europe. It is NOT a girls name! I really dislike the the boys name for girls trend, but it’s easier for me to appreciate the last name as first name for girls, as it’s a tradition in some places, and a way to honor a family name. I also find a more ambiguous choice, like Gray, fine. But James? August? Please stop suggesting that these names could or should become mainstream for little gals. It’s not very interesting, and not realistic for most parents. Parents can make this choice for themselves, of course, but I agree that places like Nameberry shouldn’t be pushing it as a growing trend.
on March 20th, 2015 at 10:25 am
on March 20th, 2015 at 12:37 pm
Oh my goodness, the gender equality talk wears me out. Boys names on girls does not bother me. You like the way a name sounds then use it. To each their own. Last names are very common on both boys and girls in the south and it’s always been that way. Most of these don’t bother me. Would I pick them, no but they don’t hurt my ears.
on March 20th, 2015 at 12:59 pm
Jude has been used on females since the 1600’s. It was equally unisex until the mid 1800’s and only then started to lean male. But there are still lots of females named Jude today. There have been females named Jude (not just short for Judith and Judy) as long as we’ve all been alive. It is not a novel thing at all, and Martha Stewart’s daughter is far from the first to use it. Even Jude Law was mistaken for a girl as a teenager because of his name! The name is unisex, even if it is used on males more often in modern times – please do not lump it in with this trend.
on March 20th, 2015 at 4:14 pm
It’s a bit annoying how here boy names on girls are admired and seemingly endorsed, but gove a boy a “girl” name, even one that’s been used on boys before it went to the girls, and that’s out of the question. Even less common unisex names like Flannery are said to have “gone to the girls”. I’m sick of it.
on March 20th, 2015 at 4:33 pm
I was surprised to see August is considered a male only name. I knew a female August thirty years ago (in the U.K), so it feels like a completely female name to me.
I agree with the other posts. By ‘taking’ male names we are inadvertently shortening the list of names available for boys, which is already shorter and more conservative.
on March 20th, 2015 at 5:56 pm
Just because a few people decide to use a male name on a girl, doesn’t make that name unisex, it just means they’ve given their daughters a male name.
on March 20th, 2015 at 11:11 pm
Nyeh, not a fan of this gender-bending name thing either, for either boys or girls. I rather dislike the idea of boys named Mary as much as girls named James. Wish the Lively-Reynolds baby name was really Violet, but hey it’s their prerogative; their kid would have more wiggle room for an “unusual” name as a celebrity kid, and at least there’s the nickname Jamie for baby girl James.
on March 21st, 2015 at 4:03 am
I actually really like James in the middle spot. It’s a family tradition that the first born son gets the middle name James, but if my first is a girl I think I would still use the tradition and give her the middle James.
on March 21st, 2015 at 5:51 am
Just like most of the commenters I don’t like this trend. I wouldn’t want to be named Owen, Wyatt or Lincoln as a woman – and I would not name my son Elizabeth, either. However, Blake Lively probably likes her unisex name so much that she decided to give her daughter a traditionally boy name.
I like the idea of my home country (Hungary) to have an official list of names, separated by girl and boy lists, and you can only choose from here. No duplicate names for both genders. No names like Spaceship, Glitter or Reign. (you can apply for a new name to be included in the list but there are some rules regarding the meaning and spelling of the name) So when you meet someone named Anna, you can be 100% sure she is a woman and a Oliver is a man. No confusions.
on March 21st, 2015 at 5:00 pm
I don’t really like this trend. Why is it that people love masculine names, and would name their daughter James. But, God forbid, if they were to name their son Abigail. To me it sounds like they think a feminine name isn’t good enough. Once a name is used on girls, it magically becomes “too feminine” for a boy. What’s wrong with being feminine?
on March 23rd, 2015 at 4:32 pm
I would like to suggest that boys names, albeit not traditional girl’s names like Elizabeth, Charlotte, etc, are receiving “softer,” names these days (and being soft and sensitive is a strength). Lots of names beginning, or heavily “vowel-centric” seem softer to me.
My son’s little buddies include:
Caleb (nn Cay-cay)
Names also change and evolve over time, as other mentioned above, Leslie, Ashley etc, or Christian used to be used primarily for girls. And have we forgotten about all our auntie and grannies with “boy” nick names like Frankie, Billie, Charlie, Joey, Stevie, Jessie etc?
The world didn’t burn down, and they moved on to live their lives without all the psychological PSTD-type-naming-syndrome society seems to attach to naming.
It’s been my experience with the 5 and under set that “wacky” names are so normal, no one is getting teased. Maybe in my generations (early 30s), but people are much more accepting, and with larger immigrant groups moving to cities, the name base is being changed all the time.
on March 23rd, 2015 at 7:23 pm
Yawn. I feel like giving girls traditionally masculine names was one of those terribly edgy things to do back in the 80s or 90s. It’s just boring and seems awfully try-hard now.
Also, though I personally would think that Gray/Grey is a thoroughly unisex name, it has to be the worst name for a baby ever. Who looks at a rosy little baby and says, “Yes, we will name this tiny ray of sunshine Grey.”???? Grey is the color that you do NOT want your baby to be, either literally or figuratively.
on March 24th, 2015 at 11:32 pm
My husband and I were looking at very feminine names until we read this article. In this light, it makes more sense to go with a unisex name.
on March 27th, 2015 at 2:35 am
No, we don’t call them unisex. They’re boys’ names.
Celebrities also name their kids Banjo and Audio Science. Should we follow that “trend” too?
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