Question of the Week: Are girls namenapping too many boys’ names?

Question of the Week: Are girls namenapping too many boys’ names?

It’s nothing new, this appropriating of boys’ names by the parents of girls.  After all, once upon a time, names like Evelyn, Vivian, Esmé, Hilary, Florence, Jocelyn were all predominantly male as were, in more recent times, Jordan, Morgan, Ashley, Courtney and Lindsay.

But the trend does seem to be accelerating— names like  James , Hunter, Hudson, Owen, Judah, MasonDexter, Elliott and Spencer have all shown up on girl starbaby lists, not to mention all the Baileys, Rileys, Finleys, Sawyers, Dylans, Ryans, Averys and Eastons—with at least 8 of the current Top 50 names having been strictly male at one point in time.

This trend is not to everyone’s liking; in fact it’s become a Hot Topic on our boards and elsewhere, with strong feelings expressed on all sides.  What we’d like to know is:  where do you stand on this issue?

  • Do you think that traditional male names should be used only for boys?

  • Do you feel that this appropriation trend is depleting the supply of names strictly for boys?

  • Do you think that once a name starts being used for girls it loses its potency as a boy’s name or can they continue to be used for both sexes?  Would you use a one-time male name that is now high on the girls’ list, eg Riley or Avery, for a son?

  • Do you think that boys’ names for girls are cool and edgy?

  • Or do you think the whole thing is a non-issue?

  • Also—please let us know if you have a good idea for a future Question of the Week!

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    About the Author

    Linda Rosenkrantz

    Linda Rosenkrantz

    Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.