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Baby Boy Names: Tough, Tender, Traditional, Trendy?

March 31, 2010 Pamela Redmond

Boy names have undergone a radical shift over the past few decades, with the old stalwart names like James and Robert making room for a whole army of new choices that break the traditional masculine mold.

The trendiest boy names are not exactly feminine, or even androgynous, but are decidedly male names that nevertheless don’t hail from conventional masculine roots. We mean the two-syllable, surname-sounding names like Caden and Brody, Logan and Landon.

Many parents seem more willing than they might have been before to bestow upon their sons unisex names also well-used for girls: Peyton, Jordan, Taylor, Sasha.

Then there are the more traditional names, but with softer sounds — vowel endings, the sibilant s or sh — usually associated with girls’ names. The most popular of these include Joshua and Noah, Asher and Isaiah.

Another branch of the new baby boy names are macho names that also break ranks with traditional masculinity: Breaker and Ryker, Harley and Ace.

What we’re interested in is your view of masculinity as evidenced by these changing boys’ names.

Do you think the change in names is evidence of a deeper change in the way we think of boys, of masculinity, of what we want for our sons growing up?

How did your own views of masculinity play into the name you chose for your son, or a name you might pick in the future?

Would you give your son a name that was also used for girls — why or why not? Would you want a traditional boys’ name or look for one that broke the masculine mold — again, why and why not?

About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles

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