Naming a child has never been more difficult

By Melissa Grant

OPINION

Forget about birth and feeding plans – the hardest thing to decide on when you’re having a baby is a name.

In fact, picking a name has never been more difficult.

With the rise of ‘gender neutralism’, it’s become almost impossible to distinguish between boys names, girls names and unisex names.

Gender neutral names are ‘totally in’ right now – which is all well and good unless you’re not really that into them.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan. Call me archaic or unprogressive, but I prefer names that make it obvious whether the person in question is male or female.

The issue is that many names traditionally considered male or female no longer are.

This has been particularly problematic as my husband and I try to decide on a boy’s name.

Baby number two is due in September (we don’t know the sex) and we’re still yet to pick one.

We want a boy’s name that is a boy’s name without question. If we have a son, we don’t want to use a name that leads to him being teased in the schoolyard for ’being a girl’ (kids can be cruel).

So far, there have only been a few boys names we’ve actually liked. Unfortunately however, it turns out these names are now considered more suited to girls.

There was one we loved until someone advised: ‘No, that’s definitely a girl’s name these days! There are a few girls at my daughter’s school who have that name’.

I have since discovered many boyish monikers have morphed into girls names.

Increasingly common examples include Riley (usually spelt Rylee for girls), Blake, Blair, Billy (Billie), Frankie, Dylan and Cameron.

There are also less obvious examples. I recently read an online article about boys names for girls that are ‘super trendy’ and was surprised by some of the suggestions, which included Aidan, Alfie, Austin, Curtis, Douglas and (even) Gary.

The article’s author commented ‘we love the idea of giving a girl a boy name’.

All I could think was: ‘Why? There are so many gorgeous girls names to choose from! But Aidan is definitely a boy’s name, right? No wonder picking a name for a boy is so confusing. Oh, why am I reading this? We are probably having a girl anyway!’

It’s definitely trendy for parents to give traditionally ‘masculine’ names to their daughters.

But interestingly, the trend doesn’t seem to be occurring in the other direction – not many girls names are becoming boys names.

I guess the bottom line is you can name a child whatever you want, provided it isn’t prohibited (so neither obscene or offensive). You should also keep your surname in mind. It’s probably not a good idea to call your son Callum if your last name is Murray or to name a girl Jenna if your surname is Taylor.

A child’s name is a major part of their identity – and whether it’s right or wrong, people do make assumptions about gender based on someone’s name.