February 2013 Moms

Unisex & feminine names

Our DD has a somewhat unisex name, which can be easily mistaken for a boy (think Harper, Quinn, Parker). For our second DD, we're not really considering any names along those lines & have instead gravitated toward more overtly feminine names.

Friends assure me that it's no big deal to have such a pairing, but I'm curious to what you think. I go back and forth.

Re: Unisex & feminine names

  • I had a very gender-neutral name. My sister had a slightly more feminine but also classically neutral name. I despised my name for most of my lifetime, because I knew more boys than girls with my name - I had at least one boy in my class with my name every year of school, sometimes two or three of them. My sister didn't like her name very much, but mainly because she thought it was too plain. I was just always angry that both my first and middle name were "boy" names, and I went by nick names most of my life as a result. But I never envied my sister's name, even though I didn't like my own. 

    DH also has a gender-neutral name. If you talk about us using our first names, you wouldn't know who was the man and who was the woman unless you actually knew us. We decided early on that our kids would all have more feminine/masculine names, and let them shorten/modify them as they choose.  

    image  image

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    *Spontaneous* OHSS diagnosed 08.06.2012
    Right ovary removed 09.04.2012 via vertical laparotomy
    Essure implant placed on remaining tube 06.13.2013; successful followup scan 09.30.2013


  • I don't think the combo of unisex and feminine is necessarily bad. Personally I've never liked my unisex name, even though growing up I only ever knew girls who shared it, so it wasn't a big deal. For that reason I want to give our children names that make their sex clear. However, the flip side to that is the argument that women with unisex names may have an advantage over feminine names when applying for jobs because there's no chance for sex discrimination.

    BFP1: DD1 born April 2011 at 34w1d via unplanned c/s due to HELLP, DVT 1 week PP
    BFP2: 3/18/12, blighted ovum, natural m/c @ 7w4d
    BFP3: DD2 born Feb 2013 at 38w4d via unplanned RCS due to uterine dehiscence

  • image kelly321:
    However, the flip side to that is the argument that women with unisex names may have an advantage over feminine names when applying for jobs because there's no chance for sex discrimination.

    Only applies to the resume process, not the interview process, and only works if your gender neutral name also has a gender neutral spelling ;)  

    image  image

    image image

    *Spontaneous* OHSS diagnosed 08.06.2012
    Right ovary removed 09.04.2012 via vertical laparotomy
    Essure implant placed on remaining tube 06.13.2013; successful followup scan 09.30.2013


  • That's an interesting thought, I'd never given it much thought. My sis and I have feminine full names but both have very gender-neutral nicknames. I don't run into issues with it for the most part. I guess if my sister was more feminine, yeah I guess I could see it feeling a little strange as kind of a projection. But my sis is sooo much more of a tomboy, it would have been humorous. I figure siblings are always going to have issues with little things like that, but I really don't imagine they'll think about it too much since it'll be second nature.
    BabyFetus Ticker
  • Rynleigh,

    I couldn't help notice that your older daughter's name is Aurielle - the same name & spelling we are planning for our daughter! Just found out Friday she's a girl :-)

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    The only thing(s) I can say to the unisex vs. feminine name is that despite my strong feminist orientation I'm acutely aware that for good or ill (often ill), society is terribly gender oriented, and I wanted to find a balance between making life easier for our child while still instilling feminist values (girl or boy). 

    As to going from unisex to feminine, maybe choose one that's only so far along the spectrum, so as to make it clear she's a girl but without having the gap be extra wide? Good luck!

    My Mommy (to be) Blog: http://maitrimama.blogspot.com BabyFruit Ticker image
  • image maitrimama:

    Rynleigh,

    I couldn't help notice that your older daughter's name is Aurielle - the same name & spelling we are planning for our daughter! Just found out Friday she's a girl :-)

    ----------------

    The only thing(s) I can say to the unisex vs. feminine name is that despite my strong feminist orientation I'm acutely aware that for good or ill (often ill), society is terribly gender oriented, and I wanted to find a balance between making life easier for our child while still instilling feminist values (girl or boy). 

    As to going from unisex to feminine, maybe choose one that's only so far along the spectrum, so as to make it clear she's a girl but without having the gap be extra wide? Good luck!

    Nice ;)

    I agree, here.. If DD # 1 has a name like Taylor and you name DD # 2 something like Britney, I think that would be a little extreme and it might one day bother DD # 1. My name is Erynn (still pronounced Aaron, still considered a "boys name" by all children ages 4 to 14... lmao) and my sister's name is Shannen - my sister never got the "That's a boy's name" shtick from her classmates, though Shannon is traditionally unisex (and even masculine, during some periods)... but our names were both vague enough that I never had any ill-will toward her for having the "better" name. Had she been named something like Michelle or April, I might have been bitter about it. 

    image  image

    image image

    *Spontaneous* OHSS diagnosed 08.06.2012
    Right ovary removed 09.04.2012 via vertical laparotomy
    Essure implant placed on remaining tube 06.13.2013; successful followup scan 09.30.2013


  • This is sort of a dilemma we've had.  Yes, DD #1's name is a boy's name, but I didn't pick it because I have a thing for boy's names for girls, simply because I taught a little girl with that name, loved the girl, making me love the name.  And as spunky and stubborn and strong willed as my daughter is, I think the slightly more masculine/unisex name is fitting on her.

    Because her name is a 'boys' name, we are trying to stay away from anything too overly feminine, but if it was a super feminine name that we loved for a specific reason, I wouldn't be opposed to it.  I try and think of it as naming each child individually.  Obviously you want a good 'sib set', and don't want to irritate either child with the name you chose, but if you have a good reason for why you named DD#1 what you did, and DD#2 what you did, then I think it shouldn't be a factor.  KWIM?

    I'm not sure I made any sense...  :)

  • Thanks, gals! I really appreciate your feedback. 
  • image Rynleigh:

    I agree, here.. If DD # 1 has a name like Taylor and you name DD # 2 something like Britney, I think that would be a little extreme and it might one day bother DD # 1. My name is Erynn (still pronounced Aaron, still considered a "boys name" by all children ages 4 to 14... lmao) and my sister's name is Shannen - my sister never got the "That's a boy's name" shtick from her classmates, though Shannon is traditionally unisex (and even masculine, during some periods)... but our names were both vague enough that I never had any ill-will toward her for having the "better" name. Had she been named something like Michelle or April, I might have been bitter about it. 

    Funny - the only Shannon I knew growing up was a boy, so it was a long time before I knew it could be a girl's name. :-)

    And about unisex names and discrimination in the employment process - you're completely right that it's only true for the application and not the interview process. I even started to write that and then figured I was getting too long-winded. :-) In Germany, it's no longer required but still expected that you include a picture, your birthdate, marital status, religious affiliation, and whether and how many kids you have on your resume. Awesome. I'm way more concerned about that kind of stuff (particularly the kids since then they assume you want more or that you'll have to miss work when they're sick, etc) than about my name. But then, Germans assume Kelly is feminine, so it's not as much of a problem here!! :-)


    BFP1: DD1 born April 2011 at 34w1d via unplanned c/s due to HELLP, DVT 1 week PP
    BFP2: 3/18/12, blighted ovum, natural m/c @ 7w4d
    BFP3: DD2 born Feb 2013 at 38w4d via unplanned RCS due to uterine dehiscence

  • image kelly321:
    image Rynleigh:

    I agree, here.. If DD # 1 has a name like Taylor and you name DD # 2 something like Britney, I think that would be a little extreme and it might one day bother DD # 1. My name is Erynn (still pronounced Aaron, still considered a "boys name" by all children ages 4 to 14... lmao) and my sister's name is Shannen - my sister never got the "That's a boy's name" shtick from her classmates, though Shannon is traditionally unisex (and even masculine, during some periods)... but our names were both vague enough that I never had any ill-will toward her for having the "better" name. Had she been named something like Michelle or April, I might have been bitter about it. 

    Funny - the only Shannon I knew growing up was a boy, so it was a long time before I knew it could be a girl's name. :-)

    And about unisex names and discrimination in the employment process - you're completely right that it's only true for the application and not the interview process. I even started to write that and then figured I was getting too long-winded. :-) In Germany, it's no longer required but still expected that you include a picture, your birthdate, marital status, religious affiliation, and whether and how many kids you have on your resume. Awesome. I'm way more concerned about that kind of stuff (particularly the kids since then they assume you want more or that you'll have to miss work when they're sick, etc) than about my name. But then, Germans assume Kelly is feminine, so it's not as much of a problem here!! :-)

    WHOA re: the pic/birthday/marital/religious/kids thing!

    WOWZA!

    (And I grew up thinking Shannon was a girl's name, but my first jr high boyfriend happened to be a guy named Shannon. The only boy w/ that name I've ever known. Heh.) 

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