Category: gender neutral baby names
When we named Post-Gender Baby Names as our Number 1 trend for 2016, we were mostly just guessing. Oh sure, the guess was backed up by some strong cultural trends, from marriage equality to trans recognition, as well as a raft of celebrity baby names.
But when The New York Times asked us whether we could back up the trend with, you know, actual statistics, we weren’t entirely positive what we’d find. Baby name prognosticating is as tricky as any other kind of forecasting, relying as much on instinct as on science. Our gut told us that baby names that defied gender categories were on the rise for both girls and boys. But would the numbers bear that out?
Our discovery, as reported in today’s New York Times by Alex Williams: The number of babies with truly unisex names — those most evenly split between the sexes — has exploded in the past ten years. And boys are getting these post-gender names as often as girls, with 60 percent more babies getting gender-neutral names in 2015 than in 2005.
By Kara Blakley
Gender and naming are two complicated subjects that become almost perilous once considered together. It may appear on the surface that we’ve entered a sort of gender-fluid golden age in which names like Cameron, Elliot, Peyton, Quinn, and anything -son are equally accessible to boys and girls. It seems every week a new celebrity is bestowing a daughter with the middle name James.
By Abby Sandel
For years, conventional wisdom dictated that boys were named after their fathers and grandfathers. But today, boys are just as likely to be named after the important women in their lives.
Along with that shift comes a willingness to think differently about boys’ names. We’ve noted the rise of boy-girl equivalents, like Emma and Emmett, before. Now we’re more seeing boys with middle names that might have been reserved for girls just a few years ago.
If you’ve grown weary of celebrity birth announcements with names like James, Arlo, and Wyatt for girls, this could be a hopeful sign. As many berries have pointed out, names aren’t really unisex unless they can be used for both boys and girls equally.
From Anne Hathaway’s inventive smoosh to the tWitch Boss’s nature name pick, let’s look at the baby names in the news in recent weeks – and the way parents are choosing boy baby names that are fresh and new.
By now, you’ve almost certainly heard about Blaer Bjarkardottir.
She’s just won the legal right to use her name. Fifteen years ago, Blaer’s mom unknowingly gave her daughter a name that does not appear on the official list of 1,853 names permitted for baby girls in Iceland. The mistake was discovered only after Blaer’s baptism.
A Nobel Prize-winning novelist had used the name for a female character. Plus, Blaer’s mom knew another woman with the name – it’s where she got the idea in the first place.
It turns out that even in a country with official lists, things can be a little bit fuzzy.
There are no official lists in the U.S., but plenty of us might like to impose them.
Trouble is, even if there were rules at a given moment, they’re always subject to change. What was true in 1960 – or 1860 – won’t hold in 2013.
This brings us to a great quote from Swistle: “Names, like colors and toys, are given to male/female babies according to fashion, not according to stone tablets.”