‘Gender Neutral’ Baby Names on the Rise

By Penny Starr | June 24, 2015 | 3:04pm EDT
(AP Photo)

Yahoo Parenting’s website reports that there has been an increase in the popularity of “gender-neutral” baby names. The article cites a survey by the website BabyCenter.

“Leading the way so far in 2015 is the inclination toward gender-neutral baby names, with picks such as Amari, Karter, Phoenix, Quinn and Reese making substantial leaps in popularity for both boys and girls,” the BabyCenter article states.

“As usual, baby names are reflecting a larger cultural shift,” says BabyCenter’s Global Editor in Chief Linda Murray. “Millennials are an open-minded and accepting group, and they don’t want their children to feel pressured to conform to stereotypes that might be restrictive.

“Just as companies have started making more neutral kids’ clothes, and taking ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ labels off toys, an increasing number of parents are choosing unisex names,” Murray says.

“Gender-neutral names started to become popular in the 1960s with the new rise of feminism and liberal ideals,” Pamela Satran of the website Nameberry told Yahoo Parenting. “Back then, you saw names like Jamie, Jody, and Terry used for both sexes.

“And in the 1980s, the first generation of working mothers and parents focused on professional equality picked upwardly mobile, gender-neutral names such as Courtney and Morgan, often for their daughters, while boys’ gender-neutral names went in the new ‘cowboy’ direction with Casey, Corey, and Jesse,” Satran said.

“So when parents choose a gender-neutral name for their child, they may do so to make a statement in support of such fluidity, much like refusing to dress their kids in pink or blue,” the Yahoo Parenting article states.

“But Satran cautions that kids ‘often strongly identify with hyper feminine or masculine roles and objects no matter what you do.’ And she should know,” the article states. “My daughter’s name is Rory, and I dressed her in denim overalls when she was little,” Satran says. “But she insisted on wearing them with red patent leather shoes and a tutu.” 

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