Gender Swapping Baby Names

Girl Names for Boys and Boy Names for Girls

Newborn Baby
Photo © Chandler Chou/Getty Images

Naming your baby has always been an interesting topic. How people choose names varies from person to person. Some choose family names. Others look to baby name books. Other parents rely on friends and family to help with this decision.

However, naming your baby has a lot of responsibility with it. Many people take this task very seriously. One thing is for certain, there are a lot of emotions and beliefs that are strongly held by some when it comes to naming your baby.

Gender Swapping Names

To that end, one of the biggest controversies is choosing a name for your baby that officially belongs to babies of the opposite gender. Some parents think this is perfectly acceptable and reasonable. But the other half believe that it is absolutely wrong to gender swap names.

Historical Examples

Historically speaking, it's happened a lot. Personally, as a recipient of a male name, I can say it's really not effected my life much. Now, if I lived in England it might be more of a problem because Robin is a traditionally male name in that area. What about the USA? You've got Robin Hood. Batman and the boy wonder - Robin. And let's not forget Winnie the Pooh's friend Christopher Robin.

I've not personally ever met a boy named Robin. I can name you nearly one hundred girls with the name, including some very feminine girls. Robin may be a bad example since the gender shift started in the late 1890s according to some texts.

My children go to school with girls named Noah, Dale, and Evan. According to some recent birth certificate data, there are boys in my state named Mary and Rebecca.

What about Ashley Wilkes from Gone with the Wind? I don't know of any men named Ashley currently, though I'm sure some are out there. The trend tends to lean towards masculine names for girls rather than choosing a female name for a boy.

I've already made this mistake with my own children. Our daughter Hilary has apparently been given a male name! How was I to know? The baby name book listed it among the girls names. All the people I know named Hilary or Hillary are female...

Right or Wrong?

But what about the local female author named Kevin? Didn't her parents know better?

Maybe it's not a question of knowing better, but of simply liking a name and making it your child's own. This attitude doesn't go far in the baby naming community, where passion runs high for separating the names by gender. Leaving some of the boys names for the boys is a sentiment commonly expressed. The supporters of this thought claim that naming your child a name associated with the opposite gender will cause them problems throughout life. Will a female Kevin always be thought of as a male prior to being met? And if so, is that always a problem?

The point is, what you name your child is a personal decision. If you really want a boy named Sue, who am I to stop you? The crossover names will continue and some will even become common enough that we will eventually forget that the name belonged to another gender.

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