Gender-unclear names
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Thread: Gender-unclear names

  1. #1

    Default Gender-unclear names

    I hate gender "unclear" names. Hate hate hate. I don't get them at all, it seems like such a negative thing to do like you are burdening your child with a lifetime of being mistaken for the opposite gender, as well as being teased, a boy with a feminine name or a girl with a masculine name just seems wrong. (Examples: boys named Shannon or Kim, or girls named Ryan or Tyler.) Can someone please explain to me why on earth you would give your child a name that is not usually associated with their gender?

    My brother and SIL are expecting, and their GIRLS name is Alex. Not Alexa or Alexis or Alexandra, just Alex. I personally hate it. Alex is a BOYS name! (Yes, I KNOW there is probably another girl out there named Alex, but it is still traditionally a BOYS name!) I can't tell them that of course, so I guess I just need some help accepting this boy's name for my niece. Can someone please help sell me on the benefits of a girl with a boy's name?

  2. #2
    Prolific Poster brookie13's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Ontario, Canada


    first, im not sure how you can classify alex as a strictly male name... its a short-form of many names, male or female. it would a short version of alexander,alexei or alexandro for men and alexa, alexis, alexandria or alexandra for women. so, its more of a nickname than a gender strict name. if your family named their daughter alexa, but called her strictly Alex (as many names do get shortformed) how would you feel about that?

    also, many names that are considered strictly female names these days were once male names... ashley, madison, terry, kelly, alexis for example.

    personally i think there are much worse things you can do to a child than give it a gender neutral name. like making up names, super unique miss-spelled names, or overly weird names (ie tallula does the hula.. the little girl who was in the news)

    my daughters name is Hayden, which i first heard used for a girl when actress Hayden Panettiere started her career. i paired it with what is considered a more "feminine" middle name (alexandra) and have had nothing but compliments. even my super old-fashioned grandmother loves it. Personally i dont care for the overly girly names that are becoming ridiculously popular-- ava, olivia, sophia.. well, its not that i DONT like them, as much as i dont like that my child would then be "Sophia last initial"
    and your kid will be teased no matter what you name them, its a part of childhood. if you give them a "gender specific" name, they will just find another area to tease them about. i have a male cousin shannon, a male friend named kelly and a female friend named Parker... and none of them have ever complained about their names, actually Parker loves that she has a less used girl name, because it makes her more memorable. actually a gender neutral name could actually help you when it comes to job applications, or anywhere gender could be an issue, as with jobs, often females are skipped over positions in favour of men. if you have a name that could go either way, your not going to have that immediate bias.
    and in my opinion there is nothing cuter than a girly, pink dress and lace wearing little girl with a "gender neutral" name.
    Last edited by brookie13; 03-08-2010 at 04:10 PM.
    DH Jamie
    Paxton James-2/8/2008
    Hayden Alexandra- 12/5/2009
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  3. #3
    Mega Poster stuntmonkey's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Northern Virginia


    I have a gender neutral name. I don't hate it, but I did choose a feminine name for my daughter and a masculine name for my son very much on purpose.

    My parents gave me my name because it is a combination of their first names. I'm not sure how much being "gender neutral" factored into it because they had a different name planned for a boy.
    Jamie & Brian, married 5/22/04
    Jocelyn Victoria, born 12/22/08
    Elliott James, born 3/18/10


  4. #4


    My son's name is Taylor which is very gender nuetral but more so female then male because that was my grandma's, who helped raise me, maiden name and I wanted to honor her. She died this past July. Some people choose to name their child something because they like it others because it honors a family member. Other people who knows.

    I know of a pair of siblings that are both boys and are Taiylor and Trevvor they arent THAT bad but WTFH. Try working in a school you see everything. La-a (Ladasha), Saira, Kyty(Katie) and so on. I figure as long as it fits the family/child who cares. You might not like it but its not your child. There are plenty of names I dont like but I dont say anything since its not my place and not the childs fault the parents named them that. One of my biggest annoyances is using a Y instead of the vowel that is supposed to be there or adding letters that dont belong just for the fun of it.

    I'm actually semi considering Tyler for this little girl I'm pregnant with. I havent decided fully on the name. My best friend from when I was a kid has a niece named Tyler.

  5. #5
    Prolific Poster
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    Oct 2008
    Bakersfield, CA


    We are naming our daughter Emerson/Emersyn (haven't decided on the spelling), which is more masculine than feminine. When I first told my family, my grandma said... "For a girl? When she's 18 she's going to get a draft card!"
    I think its just a sign of the times.. uni-sex names are the new trend, especially for girls, because of female independence and wanting to be "strong."

    Personally, I hate anything too girly or frilly, and naming my daughter a cutesy girl name just wouldn't fit my personality, and if she's anything like me -- it wouldn't fit hers either. Its just what fits for a particular family, and when it comes down to it, its all just preference. Take it or leave it, I guess
    {{ Katelyn }}

    Emersyn Marie, May 29, 2010

  6. #6


    I also chose a name for my daughter that can be used for a boy or a girl. To me, it sounds more feminine, and it is being used more feminine today. There are some advantages to naming your daughter something like that though. I recently read an article on one of the naming sites talking about how girls named less feminine more gender neutral names were more likely to advance career wise and make more money. I wonder if part of it is just getting their foot in the door for an interview. Unfortunately as much as things have advanced, women are still (overall- I'm sure there are exceptions) not making as much as men do for doing the same thing. Just another perspective.

    I also do not see Alex as strictly a boys name- I see it as a nickname for both boys & girls. I know I'm also reluctant to name a child one thing and call it something else (i.e. my husband likes Alexis - but would want to call her "Lexi.")... and I wonder if that might be what your brother & SIL are thinking? Shannon I believe was also traditionally a boys name. MANY girls names that we think of as strictly girls names started out as boys names.. so sometimes thats a hard line to define.

  7. #7
    Posting Addict VickiS's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Cambridgeshire, UK


    It's an interesting debate.

    Personally I would avoid those names, athough I think it is up to the individual what they name their child, and I suspect the 'gender neutral' name thing is probably a fashion that will wax and wane with time.

    However all the responses on here about girls. I can't see that it does a girl any harm to have a 'boy's' name. However it must be frustrating for those with boys who see their name used for girls and therefore 'feminised'. It also starts to limit the options for boys' names even further as so many of them now COULD be a girl's name.

    (As an aside, coming from the UK I find the misuse of Welsh names quite annoying. In Welsh names the 'y' (as in Gwyn) makes it masculine, the 'e' is for girls (as in Gwen). So a lot of Welsh names are the same for boys and girls except for the spelling, which tells you which gender it is. I therefore find it quite funny when lots of people use 'y' in names to make it more feminine, when in that language it does the opposite! So Bronwyn is male, Bronwen is female, Anwyn male and Anwen female, etc.etc.)

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  8. #8
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    As a girl with a boys name I have never resented my parents for naming me what they did. Everyone gets teased a few times in their lives. And if it's not about the name, it's about something else.

    I can't say much for boys who are given girls' names but it definitely has advantages for a girl to have a name that can't be immediately pinned with a particular gender. If it had my resume looked at a little longer then it's been worth it. If I were to become a writer, yup, even this day and age, it would be to my advantage. Not to mention there are far worse 'burdens' then a name that is gender neutral.

    I don't deal with being mistaken for a boy every single day. Not even every year. It has only happened *maybe* a handful of times. And I laugh. It's not the curse you are making it out to be. Besides, Alex is quite commonly a female name, so your niece may never have that.

    I think what you need to do is stop wasting time on hating a name genre.

  9. #9
    Super Poster elaniemay's Avatar
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    Mar 2009


    I named my son Reese, which is neutral but more male to me *shrugs*. I think gender neutral names are fine if they fit what you want, and MUCH prefer them to spelling regular names in RIDICULOUS fashions! Or doing things like Nevaeh...good Lord people, we all know your baby is a gift we don't need it spelled in their names. THAT bugs me far more than gender neutral ever could. I always think, "How would this look on a job application?" I review job apps all the time and I can say that a name says so much about a person, first impression-wise and when you haven't met them yet, and they didn't even choose it! Do your children justice hehe.

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  10. #10
    Prolific Poster Lil Momma 1991's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Detroit Area


    Personally every girl I have ever met with a gender neutral name has been alot more outgoing and self-helping then girls with overly girly names. Tho thats not going to stop me from nameing my daughters things like Kysea, Joyce or Sophi. I would rather see a little girl names Ryan or Tyler or Matthew. Then to see another little girl named Jayden, Ashley, or Kayla, Katlynn, Kathrine. They are all so popular that its overly annoying when your trying to get a hold of someone in a store and you call out "Hey Kayla" And 5 or 6 people all look at you. But I agree there are worse things you could do. I have a little cousin and her name it Ryleigh "Riley" and another one names "Kaylor" But then again I have a set of cousins names Pheonix and Phillidalphia. So I would rather see a kid with a gender neutral name then a kid with a extremly abstrat name like those. Tho I do think girls with gender neutral names will have it a bit easier then boys with a gender neutral name. Kelly just doesnt seem right to name a son.
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