Gender-bending : Boys for girls

With boys names like Cameron, Dylan, Jordan and Riley being used for girls for some time, the latest ‘boys for girls’ craze isn’t really that much of a new trend when you think about it. That being said it’s clear that ‘boys for girls’ has captured our attention of late and here at The Name Game we feel our fascination with this gender-bending trend was swept into full force on two celebrity baby naming occasions. 

The first baby’s arrival was Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ daughter Wyatt Isabelle in 2014. Why had Wyatt captured our interest so much? Perhaps because we had never heard of this name used for a girl before; unlike Harley, Quinn and Reese, among others; this name had us buzzing – we loved it! 

Even though we don’t personally know these celebs, sometimes us ‘normal people’ feel like we do; with their lives portrayed in the media, on talk shows and on social media they are accessible and sometimes so ‘real’ to us. This feeling of relatablity influenced our opinion of Wyatt Isabelle’s name choice – our ‘friends’ Ashton and Mila were definitely the young, fun and new age kind of parents that we could see successfully pulling off their daring ‘boys for girls’ name choice.

Wyatt, meaning “brave in war”, is traditionally used as a boys name and if you ask us its an interesting and brave choice for a girl, a choice which sparks many curious questions: Could it become a unisex name? Do celebrity’s feel pressure to make an ‘impact’ with names? How do boy Wyatt’s, or their parents, feel about their name being used for girls? And, does a gender really ‘own’ a name?

The second celebrity baby arrived with added suspense later in 2014. Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively had us in anticipation for what seemed like months as we awaited their daughters name announcement. At first we were led to believe her name was Violet – sweet – but this was later reported as false. So again we waited with anticipation…what was this baby’s name?! This lengthy and confusing name reveal heightened the worlds response to her name which was casually announced as James; everyone was talking about it and we were fans of it too! Interestingly baby James joins her mum Blake who’s name can be considered a unisex name, though is mostly preferred for boys. James’ dads name, Ryan is often considered a ‘boys for girls’ option also. Could this potentially be a hint to their baby naming style as one of equality and not gender-specific?

Kirstin Cavallari and her hubby Jay Cutler followed the gender-bending craze and chose to use James for their daughter Saylor’s middle name. James, meaning “supplanter” has long been a widely popular choice for boys but along with Wyatt, could it be set to rise in popularity for girls following its recent celebrity link? Or do celebrity name choices have little impact on the name choices of ‘normal people’ in the real world? 

    We have to wonder whether this recently ‘hot’ trend could be a reflection of the times, because let’s be honest, nothing is really off limits these days. Society is evolving and new attitudes, opinions and lifestyles are emerging. Could our advancing world be more accepting of name tends which challenge the norms and traditions we’re accustomed to? Will these ideas be resisted? Or does the hype and interest in this trend really even matter? 

    Gender-bending; is it the way of the future? 

    What’s your thoughts?

    Evie & Raquel xo

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