Anyone who spends a lot of time on name message boards, as I’m sure many of my illustrious readers do, knows all about “board favorites.” There’s trendy in namenerd communities just like there’s trendy in real life. To credit, board trendy names are usually much nicer than real life trendy names. However, what do you do when everyone seems to love a name you hate/dislike? Well, not much, as it’s not a big deal, but I thought that it would make an interesting post.

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Consider Morgan. A Welsh masculine name for centuries, it was rudely plucked from the masculine side by masses of parents claiming they needed a “strong name” for their daughter. Sure, there’s Morgan le Fay, but how many of these parents knew about this predecessor when they chose this name for their daughter? Unfortunately, this trend of using masculine names for girls seems to be in full force, and not likely to leave anytime soon. Good, masculine names are being stolen from the boys and unceremoniously dumped on oblivious baby girls. Recently, we’ve seen the aforementioned Morgan, Avery, Aidan, Elliott, and even super-masculine James on girls! Of course, this list is only of commonly used forenames that have switched genders. Now, I have nothing against using surnames, but only if they are on the family tree, and in the middle, please! Madison, Mackenzie, Kennedy, and McKenna are all commonly bestowed on girls, the parents wantonly tossing aside convention and etymology. Usually, Mackenzie is listed in baby name books as an “Irish” name meaning “child of the wise leader.” Unfortunately for trendy parents, these books are wrong. Mackenzie is a Scottish surname that means son of a wise leader, more or less.

See, I have a few problems with this absolutely abhorrent trend. The first is the sexism inherent in the most common explanation, “we wanted a strong name.” The implication is that to be strong, one has to be masculine. Because, as we all know, there have never been strong women named Margaret, Elizabeth, Eleanor, or Catherine. As well, it only goes one way; you hardly see boys with girl’s names. Why is that? The simple answer is that these parents think that a boy with a feminine name will be seen as “weak” or a “pansy.” Most parents think they are being open-minded and equal opportunity; they are really perpetuating sexist stereotypes of what strength is.

My second problem with this fad is the one that I have with all fads: the name will date horribly. Everyone will look at a girl named Kamryn and know her age. Some of these names might stand well due to an utter neutralization of the name’s gender affiliation; however, I believe, for my own sanity, that this craze will die down and the only thing left will be scads of middle aged women with men’s names.

Of course, we’re here to talk names, not listen to me rant. So I’ll tell you guys which of these names I happen to like on boys:

  • Morgan
  • Avery
  • Elliott
  • Alexis

Generally, they’re too popular for my tastes. I do, however, like a lot of names that once were masculine, and are now unambiguously feminine in the States:

  • Leslie
  • Ashley
  • Meredith
  • Shannon
  • Vivian
  • Tracy
  • Jocelyn

I don’t mind most of these on girls, but I think they’re a lot more handsome on boys. I also love Sasha on a boy, but I don’t think it was ever considered masculine here, and is pretty generally unisex in Russia. So I prefer it on a boy, but have no problem with it on girls.

So, in conclusion, consider Morgan. For a boy.