Would You Feel Bad For a Boy Named...

My husband and I have started talking about names for our yet to be, but hopefully soon to be conceived, child/ren. For a boy we are drawn to several andro, surname type names. The trouble, I fear is that our favorites are much more popular for girls than they are for boys. I worry that if they they skew too girly they would be a burden for a boy to wear. To give you an idea of my thinking, Avery, Cameron and Quinn are a little girly (in my mind) but still not a big deal for a boy to pull off. On the other hand Ashley, Madison and Kendall feel (to me) feminine enough that they would be troublesome for a boy. What do you think of the usability, for a boy, of these names:

Emerson - The -son ending makes it more masculine and Most girl Emersons are probably going by Emmy or Emme or Emma, right? or am I wrong?
Harper - I ADORE the image of this on a little boy, but I once heard someone refer to it as the new Ashley...I knew a boy naked Ashley in the 90s and I felt bad for him. If you met a little boy named Harper, what would your reaction be, would you feel bad for him?


June 26, 2013 6:30 AM

I think it depends a little on where you live.  In some areas the names will read more boy than girl. I would look at your state/region stats (if available) and see whether the name is trending boy or girl. I don't think it necessarily matters if a name is used by more girls than boys but if it is very heavily in the girl direction or trending more heavily in the girl direction in your area you may want to think more about it. That said, there is no reason not to give a boy a name that may read female to some people.  People name girls 'boy' names all the time and no one bats an eyelid, I don't see a reason not to do it the other way.


I will give you my impressions of the names you listed (but I don't live in the US so this may colour my impressions):

*Avery - Slightly more girl but definitely usable on either

* Cameron - all boy to me. I don't actually 'know' any girl Camerons 

* Quinn - could go either way, very unisex to me.

*Ashley - all boy to me (I know several boy Ashley's) although Ashleigh is very definitely girl.

* Madison - definitely girl

* Kendall - could go either way but I would lean girl (although seems like it should be usable on a boy)

*Emerson - I know someone considering this for a boy and feedback has been mixed on whether it leans boy or girl but I think it is unisex, maybe just leaning girl. Most girls seem to use a silly spelling like Emersyn......

Harper - I know a boy Harper but more girl Harpers so it feels more girl these days.  I think it's still usable on a boy though.


July 1, 2013 9:13 PM

I basically agree with your feeling that Avery, Cameron, and Quinn are still androgynous enough to not seem feminine, while Ashley, Madison, and Kendall are all girl.

Emerson has transitioned to girl for me, as has Harper, unfortunately. Both (especially Harper) remind me of how I wonder if the actor Haley Joel Osment hates that his first name is mostly used for girls.

July 2, 2013 3:57 PM

I agree with what's been said in terms of you should probably look at what's trending in your region/state. I live in northern Virginia and have yet to encounter any Averys, Camerons, Quinns, Emersons or Harpers. However, if you look at CELEBRITY naming, Harper is definitely trending more towards the girls. When I think of it, personally, I think more girl. I think you could still get away with Emerson for a boy. The only Emerson I can really think of is that band, Emerson Drive, which is an all male country band. 

In terms of Avery, Cameron and Quinn - I think Avery and Cameron you could do for a boy; although I will say that, personally, I think of Avery as a girls name. Quinn as a GIVEN name I think is going towards the girls (the fact that one of the main characters in Glee is a girl named Quinn has kind of pushed it that way). Quinn as a nickname for Quincy or Quentin, on the other hand...totally boy. 

Ashley, Madison and Kendall are all girl. I know MANY Ashleys and they're all girls (in fact, the ONLY two male Ashleys I can think of are from Gone With the Wind and the band O-Town). I know two Madisons and one Kendall and, again, all girls. So I really can't imagine a boy with any of those names.