Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were hardly the first parents to use a traditional boys’ name for a baby girl when they named their daughter James. But they helped popularize a trend that includes Jessica Simpson’s daughter Maxwell, Mark Zuckerberg’s baby girl August, and Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’s little girl Wyatt.
Thousands of American baby girls were given traditional boys’ names, or names closely associated with male figures, last year. We’re not talking about gender-neutral names such as Riley and Robin, or Blue and North.
So why is it considered OK, and even fashionable and attractive, to name a girl James but not to name a boy Jane or Sue? Experts have tried to break it down.
However you feel about the practice, parents are choosing names that were traditionally associated with boys for their daughters at greater numbers every year.
We combed the Social Security lists to find male names that rank below the Top 1000 but were given to at least 20 baby girls in 2017. The statistics represent number of baby girls who received each name in 2007 compared with ten years later, showing increases of double, triple, ten times ― even 89 times in the case of Jupiter ― in the number of girls given these traditionally-male names.
But while the overall trend of giving boys’ names to girls may be booming, a significant number of boys’ names are given to fewer baby girls last year than they were a decade ago, as illustrated by this list of names whose use for girls declined from 2007 to 2017.