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Unisex Names

So, does the name Avery scream boy or girl to you?  What about Addison? 

There are a lot of names that are dominated by girls now (in the U.S.) but used to be predominately boy names. Kelly comes to mind. 🙂 Others include: Ashley, Aubrey, Courtney, Jocelyn, Mallory, Shannon, and Whitney.

Nowadays, it seems as though girls are “stealing” even more names from boys.  This is one phenomenon that I actually don’t mind. Maybe it’s the tomboy in me. And while I’m usually not a fan of varying spellings for names, a decent spelling difference may be allowed in certain cases. I like Rhys for a boy and Reese for a girl. Or Reilly for a boy and Rylie for a girl. Or Lee for a boy and Leigh for a girl. A friend of mine picked out the name Oakley for her child whether it was a boy or a girl. When the child was born a girl, she changed the spelling to Oaklie. My mom thought she made the name Kelly different by spelling it Kelli. And I’ll even allow the spelling of Paityn for a girl. The traditionalist in me cannot believe what I’m “ok” with in the whole unisex name genre.

As with everything though, there are exceptions to the thought of liking a name on both a boy and a girl. I prefer Taylor on a boy and Avery on a girl. I like Cameron and Ryan on boys and Kendall and Mackenzie on girls. Those are just examples.

If parents do pick an androgynous first name for their daughter, I think they should pick an outright feminine middle name. Taylor Morgan could be a name for a boy or a girl, but Taylor Elizabeth is obviously a girl.

Check out the following names and let me know if you prefer the name for a boy or a girl:


Also, can you think of any other unisex names that you prefer on a boy or a girl? Have you heard of any names that you usually see on boys that have been used on girls? I know of a girl Corban (shout out to Erin) and a girl Aidyn (shout out to Amanda); names that I admit to never hearing on girls before. I have even seen Ezra on a girl. There are a few “boy” names that I have considered using on a daughter and even suggested to Brent before (Emerson is the big one), but seeing as Brent doesn’t go for that, I don’t think I will use a unisex name myself (Jocelyn is high on my list, but I think the girls have taken over that name, at least in the U.S.). Although, surprisingly, Brent does like the name Morgan for a girl (not a favorite of mine though). As I said, there are always exceptions. 😉


8 Responses

  1. I really don’t like androgynous names. In my work environment, I see many foreign names that leave no clue as to gender and it can be a bit of a nuisance when I try to figure that out.

    I see the same problem with androgynous names. Until someone sees or speaks with the individual, one will not know the gender. True, it might not be that big of an issue but if one has a lifetime of this, I imagine it could become trying.

    For instance, in college I knew a girl, who had a traditional guy’s name, and she was assigned a male roommate. Probably not a normal situation but more likely to happen if a chick is named Ryan than if she is named Rachel.

    All that said, I still think Shannon and Ashley are guy names so I wouldn’t even know where to begin on that list you provide above.

  2. My daughter’s name is Adrienne and I always thought that Adrienne was the female spelling and Adrian more the boy spelling. But people were still surprised that we spelled it this way. At any rate, I’ve known more Adrienne girls than boys (spelled either way).
    And the girls stealing boys name is interesting to me. Funny that our culture is way more accepting of girls doing boy things (sports, dress, names, etc) than boys doing girl things (at least traditionally – maybe times are changing on that). I know I am a lot more ok with letting my girls wear blue, than having my boys wear pink. But that’s off the topic. 🙂

  3. So being the mom who gave her daughter a “boy” name, it’s pretty clear that I don’t mind using some boy names for girls. I’ve personally known females with the names Aidan, Ainsley, Evan, Ryan, Chandler, Michael and Micah and I love them all. And since my dad and the four generations before him are named Charles, I really like the name Charlie for a girl. There’s this mental picture I have of someone reading an astounding resume with the name “Corban Cox” and eagerly awaiting the arrival of a businessman only to see my pint-size powerhouse come strolling through the door ready to knock ’em out with how intelligent she is! Something along the lines of naming a rottweiller Kitty — it’s just unexpected.

    But, Tim’s brother’s name is Stacy and I would never, ever, ever name a boy that. So I guess the reverse — boys with “girls” names, despite the name’s original form — does not float my boat. I’ll let the psych majors of the world tackle that one. 🙂 The thought of naming a son Ashley physcially makes me quiver. Sorry if that’s a favorite out there but all I can see is some southern wimp strolling along with ladies in hoop skirts.

    As for your list:
    Addison — girl (know both)
    Ashton — girl
    Avery — girl
    Bailey — honestly, it sounds more like a good dog name, but I’ll go girl
    Cameron — girl
    Chandler — girl
    Ellery — girl
    Emory — boy
    Hayden — boy
    Jordan — boy
    Justice — girl
    Kendall — girl
    Logan — boy
    Morgan — girl
    Parker — boy
    Peyton — girl
    Quinn — girl
    Taylor — girl
    Sydney — girl

    What a surprise, I like most of them as girl’s names! 🙂

    And I didn’t know that you wanted to use the name Emerson — that’s our next name on the list if we get a girl. I like using the nn Emme. Tell Brent that he’ll have to like her if she ever comes along.

  4. Addison — girl
    Ashton– girl but I can’t get Ashton Kutcher’s face out of my head
    Avery– I’m probably the only one–BOY! (The brother in Charlotte’s web, the dirtbag in the grisham novel The Firm…I could go on)
    Cameron–love this as a girl’s name, but would spell it Camryn
    Chandler–sounds more girl to me, but I’ve known both
    Ellery– girl
    Hayden–girl, in my (current) top picks
    Jordan– girl
    Justice– boy
    Kendall–girl, also in my top picks except hubby thinks it’s a boy name!

    I like Ryan better as a girl name. I know a guy named Whitney. Blair is another one that I like as a girl’s name, but can be used for a boy. My husband’s name, Brett–is gaining popularity as a girl’s name. Riley can be used either way, esp w/ the hundreds of different spellings. I recently heard Chase used for a girl and a boy.
    The boy/girl name swap doesn’t bother me, probably b/c I have a girly name-Kristen–but somehow it gets turned into Chris or Christian on paper anyway!

  5. Addison – girl…(my best friend’s daughter is Addie)
    Ashton – boy
    Avery – girl (my cousin’s daughter)
    Bailey – girl
    Cameron – boy
    Chandler – definitely boy!
    Ellery – girl (my friend’s daughter is Ellory)
    Emory – girl
    Hayden – boy
    Jordan – I used to associate this name with NKOTB :), but now I like it for a girl!
    Justice – probably more boy, but I’m not a fan
    Kendall – I’ve known both, but I think it is more boyish.
    Logan – boy
    Morgan – girl
    Parker – boy
    Peyton – depends on the spelling, but more for a boy
    Quinn – boy
    Taylor – prefer it for a girl
    Sydney – definitely girl

  6. Thought of another one; I went to high school with a guy named Courtney, we called him Court. Don’t know that I’m all that fond of it, but it fit him pretty well.

  7. I really think a lot of it goes back to the 80s movie trend of the hot girl with a guy’s name.

    And I’l be honest that I don’t really have a problem with it. I actually like a lot of androgynous names. What does bug nem, though, is people who use names that are CLEARLY one gender and use them on the other (John or Jacob for a girl, Johnny Cash and the who boy named Sue thing). To me, that just comes off as an attention-seeking move more than a legitimate “We liked it so we chose that name” device. So in other words, I like androgynous names within reason. (And I guess that I’d define “within reason” as “does it bug me or not” — which is fantastically exactly scientific, I know!)

    That being said, this is how I feel about the list:

    Addison – girl
    Ashton – boy
    Avery – either
    Bailey – girl
    Cameron – boy
    Chandler – boy
    Ellery – girl
    Emory – girl
    Hayden – boy
    Jordan – either
    Justice – girl
    Kendall – either
    Logan – boy
    Morgan – girl
    Parker – either
    Peyton – boy
    Quinn – boy
    Taylor – boy
    Sydney – either

  8. Addison – girl
    Ashton – boy
    Avery – girl
    Bailey – girl
    Cameron – boy
    Chandler – boy
    Ellery – hmmm…don’t know
    Emory – boy
    Hayden – girl
    Jordan – boy
    Justice – boy
    Kendall – girl
    Logan – boy
    Morgan – girl
    Parker – boy
    Peyton – boy (of course!)
    Quinn – boy
    Taylor – girl
    Sydney – either

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