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Celebrity Gender-Bending Baby Names

Katlyn Joy |15, July 2013


As much as we like to think we aren't influenced by celebrities, the popularity of names that echo those of sports, music and acting folks or their offspring is simply undeniable. One strong celebrity trend in baby naming is the practice of gender bending. While this typically includes giving girl babies boys' names, there are a few reversals on this trend with the edgiest of stars.

Some boys' names have been given to girls so frequently over the last several years or more that they now have a more feminine feel, such as Madison, Tracey, Brook, or Ashley. Some names continue to be used equally by both males and females that they have a definite unisex identity, like Robin, Cameron or Lee.

But celebrities are out there on their own cloud, and as such, like to push the envelope a bit further. Here are some of the latest star baby-naming examples of this.

  • Jessica Simpson's daughter Maxwell recently welcomed little brother Ace, a definite masculine name.
  • Ziggy Marley named his daughter Judah.
  • Singer Michelle Branch named her daughter Owen Isabelle. This is a common trend; combining a more masculine first name with a feminine sounding middle name.
  • Kelsey Grammar, whose own first name has become more recently identified as a girly sounding name, chose masculine names Mason and Spencer for his daughters.
  • Melissa Etheridge gave daughter the one-two, masculine/feminine name combo in Johnnnie Rose.
  • Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey named their daughter after Marilyn Monroe, but instead of Marilyn went for the more unusual Monroe.
  • Dax Shepherd and Kristen Bell went presidential with their daughter, Lincoln's.
  • Jason Lee went oddball with son's Pilot Inspektor, so in light of that his masculine choice of Caspar for his daughter seems decidedly more normal at least.
  • Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's choice of the doubly directional North West falls under the masculine name for a girl.
  • Johnny Knoxville youngest daughter sports the name Arlo. Certainly an untraditional choice but not too far out.
  • Child star Soleil Moon Frye, certainly no stranger to unusual names, dubbed her youngest daughter, Jagger Josesph.
  • Rebecca Romijn's daughter's name is Charlie Tamara Tulip.
  • Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn have opted for gender bending with all three daughters; Avery, Finley and Emery.
  • Rachel Uchitel named her daughter a real masculine, cowboy name; Wyatt.
  • Marla Sokoloff named her baby Elliotte, feminizing it with the spelling.
  • Diane Keaton was way ahead of the trend in naming her daughter Dexter Dean.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Masculine Name for Your Daughter

Count on some confusion at times. Expectations of a boy, assumption that you are male are bound to happen to your daughter.

Will you soften the masculine or tomboy feel with an ultra-feminine middle name? Or will you spell the name with a more feminine style, such as adding a final "e" or switching up the spelling, such as turning the gender-neutral "Robin" to "Robbyn," for instance?

In an article published by an Australia newspaper, The Age, a 2009 research study, conducted out of Clemson University in South Carolina, showed that giving your daughter a masculine name may impact her career. Researchers looked at those in the legal profession and found that women with masculine sounding names made more than their more femininely named peers, and were more likely to be named to judgeships as well.

If you aren't quite sold, you can always split the difference by giving your daughter a feminine name but using a more masculine sounding nickname. Examples of this include Sam for Samantha, Jess for Jessica or Dani for Danika.

Katlyn Joy is a mother to 7 children, and a freelance writer. She earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Poetry, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and was previously an adviser to new mothers on breastfeeding through a maternity home program. She currently resides in Colorado with her family.

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