Celebrity Baby Names: Boys’ names for girls

Not that this is something completely new.  After all, way back when, Diane Keaton named her daughter Dexter Dean, Kelsey Grammer had girls called Spencer and Mason, and Miley Cyrus’s parents named their next daughter Noah.  But lately the trend of celebrities giving their female offspring completely male— not unisex— names has been wildly escalating.  Here are some of the most extreme gender-benders. (And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our great new graphic showing just where every unisex name stands on the boy-girl spectrum.)


Sometimes celebs attempt to neutralize their extreme gender-bending by following their first name choice with a girlier middle, as in the case of Michelle Branch’s daughter Owen Isabelle. Brendan Fehr did the same with daughter James Olivia.

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22 Responses to “Celebrity Baby Names: Boys’ names for girls”

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evergreen Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 12:17 am

Love them all! Except Jagger and Judah, they aren’t my cup of tea. I would love ALL names to be unisex 🙂

joel613 Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 7:13 am

Since these people don’t live in the real world they don’t seem to realize the cross they are placing on their children or simply don’t care. Why should they? They’re not the ones who have been saddled with a name that will make them the target of derision for the rest of their lives. Some of these are ones that could be livable, Judah will end up being called Jude, Maxwell probably Maxie. Fox India will probably go by India after being confronted with the millionth Foxy joke but others are just hopeless. Pilot Inspector? Jagger? North West? Who does that to someone they are suppose to care about? Poor kids.

Whimsy21 Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 7:23 am

I hate all of these! The worst are Maxwell, Owen, and lincoln. Such a stupid, sexist trend.

habert Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 7:35 am

I fail to see how naming your daughter a traditionally male name is sexist?

handsallover Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 8:20 am

Honestly, I was reading the blog, looking at these beautiful children and thinking: why stars are so cruel to their kids? Yes, celebrities live in a kind of their own world, but who said their sons and daughter will also do?
If you suppose your daughter will be a tomboy, give her a girl feminization name with quirky nickname. Samantha, Alexandra, Maxima, Josephine all have boyish nicknames as well as an opportunity to go by full girly name if the baby turns out to be model beautiful and feminine. Giving a girl boy name isn’t unique anymore and I think you should respect your child and give her an option to pick (at least) a nickname that suits best. I can see a Maxwell going by Ellie, for example or a Lincoln – Lina, but Owen and Monroe are 100% boy and look ridiculous – like the parents wanted a boy badly and decided to use boys name anyway. P.S. This is just my opinion though, I don’t plan to offend anyone.

karateleshi80 Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 8:57 am

I only like Owen Isabelle.

MaScha2 Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 9:04 am

It’s not so bad if they balance the name with a more feminine middle name but Jagger Joeseph is a little much for me. North West is just stupid.

spotlightstarlit Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 11:09 am

I don’t really enjoy boys names on girls or girls names on boys. I do, however, adore Poet Sienna Rose, which probably shows my baby-name styling hand.

iamamiam Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 11:19 am

I don’t get the male names-on-girls trend either, and I understand where the “sexist” comment came from. Using a very male name can be perceived as a message that girls names aren’t strong enough, good enough, etc…and likewise women aren’t strong enough, good enough, etc. If you can’t find a cool girls name or at least a neat unisex name, you aren’t searching very hard, imho. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted a boys name when I was a kid–nor do I want one now!

habert Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 11:41 am

I suppose, but doesn’t demanding names to fall on a rigid gender binary also enforce sexist ideas?

iamamiam Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I don’t think so…what is sexist about embracing a male name for a boy or a feminine name for a girl? Or be androgynous with a unisex name if you prefer. I liken it to embracing one’s own culture and race–if you’re African American, own it. Show it off. If you’re very Caucasion, do the same. Same thing goes for any other or mixed cultures and races. Just as we don’t need to try to lighten, darken, or otherwise change ourselves to love ourselves and accept those who are different, we don’t need to try to change historically name or female names to ward off sexism. Having said that, my main concern is for these children who may feel awkward with names that are predominately used for the other gender.

K_Westie Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Some would be better as middle names if you we’re THAT hooked on them (like the Beckhams putting “Seven” as Harper’s middle name and “Kimye” should have used North as a middle name). I know that’s a little off point, but it fits in with somewhat ridiculous name uses.

Mischa Says:

June 29th, 2013 at 10:07 am

Giving a girl a name that is traditionally used for boys (eg. Maxwell) IS sexist and in some cases, misogyny. Many modern parents have no problem using “boys names on girls” but when it comes to following the opposite path by choosing “girls names for boys”, most would not even contemplate taking that path. I’m not talking about truly unisex names or family names here. I’ve never understood why boys names seem “stronger” and by association, “better” than girls names. Does giving a boy the names Evelyn or Meredith (both boys names in the past) set them up for a life of “eternal softness” because the names have now gone to the girls side? There’s a terrible underlying double standard at play with this “boys names for girls” trend that I find disturbing. Another thing that confuses me is the notion that giving a boy a name like Dylan is “boring” but somehow using it for a girl makes the name sound “fresh” and “spunky” again! What’s that all about anyway? Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with having names to denote one gender or the other. Aren’t males and females different from each other? Modern life is confusing enough without gender ambivalent naming practices to muddy the waters even further. If we want equality, names have to cross-over effortlessly to both genders and not just be a cool practice for females only.

SugarPlumFairy Says:

June 29th, 2013 at 11:14 am

It’s sexist in the sense that it’s not an “equal” practise. Most people who like giving boy’s girls to name would be up in arms if a boy was given a girl’s names — or even a boy name that has gone to the girls (I swear I’ve read hundreds of posts here on nameberry with scared parents wondering if Emerson, Avery, etc. are “too feminine”).

Wouldn’t it be interesting if Nameberry tried to compile a a celebrity “unisex names” list for boys? On the top of my head, the only examples I can think of are Brookly and Cruz Bekham, Phaedra Geldof, and Pax Jolie-Pitt.

frustratedauthor Says:

June 29th, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I don’t care for this trend at all. I am open to a few truly unisex names (such as River) on both genders, but the appeal of boys names on girls alludes me. What really bugs me about the whole thing is people coo over a girl named Maxwell, but if I wanted to name my son Lindsey or Quinn or Avery, I would be met with torrents of “that’s too feminine.” It’s sexist because it doesn’t go both ways.

I concur with the above poster that I would like to see a list like this compiled of celebs who have chosen gender-bending names for boys–Jay Mohr’s son Meredith, for example.

linda Says:

June 29th, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I agree with frustratedauthor and SugarPlumFairy that gender-bending names for boys would make an interesting list/blog and we’ll look into it.

p.pie Says:

June 29th, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Oh geez. I don’t personally like most of these names, but sexist? If using “boy” names for girls is sexist because the opposite is not fashionable, then obviously women wearing pants is sexist, because men wearing dresses is not widely fashionable. With all the REAL sexism in our culture, I’m tired of this name argument. Especially since real feminism is about choice, not about judging other women and mothers and saying one way or life style choice is more right or better or whatever.

EmilyVA Says:

June 30th, 2013 at 10:27 pm

I personally dislike all of these. That being said I consider North, for example, to be barely a name, let alone a boy’s name. In view of Owen, Maxwell, and Jonah being given to girl, North to me is a non issue. The same goes for Monroe, Fox and Jaggar.
I wouldn’t give a boy a name necessarily that I thought was girly, but then I wouldn’t give a very traditional boys name like Owen, Joseph or James to a girl.
(Also there’s no reason a man can’t wear a skirt. They could, but most chose not to. As long as they have a choice, it’s not sexist in my opinion.

lizgingermitch Says:

July 3rd, 2013 at 12:04 am

None of those names are really masculine besides Jagger. Their association with males is pretty arbitrary. Arlo has got to be the most feminine “boys” name I’ve ever heard. It’s not like they’re naming girls Brock or Zane (and let’s be honest, naming a boy Brock or Zane is putting a lot of expectations on him that will probably never be met…just like no girl is ever gonna be as frilly and froufrou as a name like Elizabella). It’s all culture. If enough people started pushing names like Karen and Simone to the boys’ side, eventually we’d see them like Avery and Taylor. It’s nbd.

tfzolghadr Says:

July 7th, 2013 at 11:44 am

Kilts are skirts… I am personally a fan of boys names for boys and girls names for girls. If all names become unisex, actually some things can be much more confusing. Like recently an old classmate was having a baby, Elliott, and no one could remember if it was a girl or a boy. She was quite offended when people bought boy gifts for her daughter… but really, whose fault was it? But I do think the double standard for using boys names on girls vs. the opposite is quite misogynistic…

CandaceMarie321 Says:

November 8th, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I hate to see traditionally masculine names and -son names on girls (especially when there is already a feminine version of the name). There are so many great uni-sex names or even obscure gender-specific names to choose from. What are you telling your daughter by giving her a name that has be used almost exclusively and frequently for boys for decades or even centuries? That she should have been a son? That is has to “man-up” to be a force in this world? It seems to enforce the idea that being a daughter or being feminine is somehow weak or not-good-enough.
Maxwell and Owen are out for girls, in my opinion. Surnames–really there are men and women in any family that lasts more than a generation, but some surnames are so strongly tied to a specific person (like Abraham Lincoln) I would have to carefully consider if they had a gender or not. Anything ending in -son means “son of” why tell her she should be a son? I don’t see how any animal name like “Fox” is a boys or girls name, there are male and female of all animals. Pheadra sounds feminine to me, but I have never heard any other person with that name, so it seems like it would be free game to any baby.

mamason Says:

May 23rd, 2015 at 10:45 am

In the past celebs have had boys name . Michael Learned and Christopher Norris are two I remember.

I have a granddaughter named Quincy Abigail.

Wasn’t sure if it was going to work but it does.

If she doesn’t like it when she is older, she can use her middle name.

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