Gender-bender Names for Progressives’ Daughters?

Written by Jeff Davidson on June 7, 2021

Excluding possible variations in the spelling, what do the following names have in common?

Addison, Adrian, Alex, Alex, Ally, Andy, Archer, Arden, Asher, Ashley, Aubrey, Austin, Avery, Bailey, Bernie, Bertie, Blair, Bo, Bobby, Brooke, Cameron, Carson, Cary, Casey, Cassidy, Charlie, Chester, Corey, Dakota, Dale, Dana, Dani, Darien, Devon, Dory, Drew, Ellery, Ellis, Emery, Evan, Ezra, Frankie, Glenn, Harlan, Harley, Harper, Harris, Hunter, Ira, Jackie, James, Jaye, Jessie, Jodi, Joey, Joss, and Jules?

What about these names: Kaden, Kai, Kendall, Kennedy, Kerry, Lani, Lee, Liam, Lincoln, Logan, Lonnie, Luca, Lucas, Marti, Maxie, Merit, Morgan, Nico, Noah, Palmer, Paris, Parker, Pat, Pauli, Perry, Peyton, Quinn, Raleigh, Reese, Reid, Riley, Robbie, Robin, Ronnie, Rory, Ryan, Sam, Shannon, Shelley, Skylar, Stevie, Sydney, Tatum, Taylor, Teddy, Terry, Tomi, Vic, and Wyatt?

One by One

A strange and mysterious phenomenon has been occurring over the last several decades. One by one, men’s names are being taken over by women. It doesn’t matter how many centuries a name was in the male domain. Of late, females (or more accurately their parents) have usurped men’s names.

It is now entirely possible, if not likely, to have a foursome named Tony, Jackie, Bobby, and Teddy all be women. What could account for such a phenomenon?

Perhaps women (parents) have become disenchanted with the names that have long been ascribed to them, such as Abby, Abigail, Agnes, Amanda, Anne, Audrey, Beth, Betty, Bonnie, Carla, Carol, Cheryl, Christine, Connie, Debbie, Diane, Donna, Doris, Dorothy, Eileen, Elaine, Eleanor, Elizabeth, Ellen, Eloise, Estelle, Esther, Eve, Evelyn, Gail, Grace, Gwen, Hannah, Harriet, Helen, Holly, Irene, Karen, Kay, Kathy, Kerry, Jan, Jane, Janet, Janice, Jean, Joan, and Joanne.

Also: Judy, June, Julia, Justine, Lana, Laurie, Linda, Lisa, Lena, Lorraine, Louise, Lucy, Mandy, Mary, Marian, Marie, Marilyn, Margaret, Marguerite, Marjorie, Marsha, Martha, Maureen, Mimi, Mindy, Molly, Mona, Myra, Nancy, Naomi, Norma, Pam, Patricia, Peggy. Polly, Rhonda, Rita, Roberta, Rose, Ruth, Sally, Sarah, Shari, Sharon, Sheila, Susan, Sylvia, Thelma, Tina, Trudy, Vanna, Vivian, Wendy, and dozens of others.

I suspect, however, that disenchantment with those names is not the case.

It’s Not the Economy, Stupid

One could make the argument that women traditionally received less pay than men for the same work. So, it was economically advantageous to adopt or adapt a male name to decrease bias via resumes and other offsite encounters.

In an age, however, when women represent the majority of high school valedictorians, salutatorians, honor roll students, National Honor Society inductees, U.S. college students, college graduates, and masters and Ph.D. recipients, as well as lawyers and doctors, something is amiss.

Having a man’s name or a variation thereof, for economic purposes, isn’t a valid reason in an era where academically, and often financially, women predominate. Moreover, in households with opposite-sex income earners, odds are that the woman earns more.

Two Can Play

What about the reverse phenomenon? Have men been adopting women’s names, even if with variations in spelling? The Johnny Cash song of decades ago, “A Boy Named Sue” was written and performed for humorous purposes only. I have yet to encounter, and so have you, a boy actually named Sue.

Still, have traditional women’s names been taken over by men in recent years? When it happens, it’s generally rare and singular. Consider Evelyn Waugh, author of Brideshead Revisited. Evelyn wasn’t an unusual name for English men up the 1880s. In 1903, however, when he was born, his parents might have shown more prudence.

Here are prominent men with gender-bender names: Abbie Hoffman, Carol Reed, Carroll O’Connor, Dana Carvey, Leslie Nielsen, Lindsay Buckingham, Jamie Foxx, Kelly Slater, Kim Coates, Marilyn Manson, Maury Povich, Meredith Wilson, Sandy Koufax, Shirley Povich, and Stacy Keach.

Notice that most, if not all, have generated no huge first-name emulation.

Behind it All

It would be too illuminating to know if the parents who are most inclined to choose gender-bender names for their baby daughters are “progressives” with an eye on some larger, nefarious society-changing mission.

Could it be, that they seek to blur the lines between the sexes, in the hopes that their socially androgynous pipe dream will take hold? In the insane world of “progressives,” you never know. I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.

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Jeff Davidson
Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people.