Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Are They Really "Unisex" If They're Only Used On Girls?

When discussing unisex names online, I'm always surprised at how many people are shocked or sympathetic for their poor old Uncles Kelly or Courtney or Marion. It must have been so hard growing up with a girls' name! :p
I'm not going to get into how I feel about girl-names and "weakness", so bypassing that, do people not realize just how many of our established feminine names actually used to be commonplace on boys?
So, a list of feminine/unisex names that were formerly exclusively masculine, or are feminine in the U.S., but masculine in other regions:

  • Addison
  • Alexis (masculine in Europe & South America)
  • Ariel (masculine in South America)
  • Ashley
  • Aubrey 
  • Avery
  • Bailey (still masculine elsewhere*)
  • Beverly
  • Blair (still masculine elsewhere)
  • Brin/Bryn/Brynn (still masculine elsewhere)
  • Brook
  • Cameron (still masculine elsewhere)
  • Camille (still unisex in France)
  • Carol/Carroll/Karol (still masculine in Eastern Europe)
  • Charlie (still mostly masculine elsewhere)
  • Clair
  • Courtney
  • Dana
  • Elliott (still masculine elsewhere)
  • Emerson
  • Emery
  • Esme
  • Evelyn
  • Finlay/Finley (still masculine elsewhere)
  • Florence
  • Francis/Frances
  • Gale
  • Harley
  • Harlow
  • Harper
  • Hilary
  • Jamie (still mostly masculine elsewhere)
  • Jan (masculine throughout Europe)
  • Jean (masculine in France)
  • Jewel/Jewell
  • Jocelyn (still masculine in France)
  • Joyce
  • Kelly
  • Kelsey
  • Kendall
  • Kennedy
  • Kim (still masculine in Scandinavia)
  • Kristen (masculine in Scandinavia)
  • Lacy
  • Lauren
  • Laurie
  • Laverne
  • Leigh
  • Leslie
  • Lindsay
  • Lynn
  • Mackenzie (still masculine elsewhere)
  • Madison
  • Marion
  • Meredith (still masculine in Wales)
  • Morgan (still unisex elsewhere)
  • Page/Paige
  • Pearl
  • Quinn (still mostly masculine elsewhere)
  • Reece/Reese (still masculine elsewhere)
  • Remy/Remi (still masculine elsewhere)
  • Riley (still masculine elsewhere)
  • Robin (still masculine elsewhere)
  • Rory (still masculine elsewhere)
  • Sasha (still unisex throughout Europe)
  • Shannon 
  • Sharon (still unisex in Israel)
  • Shea/Shay (still mostly masculine elsewhere)
  • Shelby
  • Shelley
  • Shirley
  • Stacy
  • Sidney/Sydney (still masculine in the Netherlands)
  • Taylor
  • Teagan
  • Tracy
  • Vivian
  • Whitney

* for the purposes of brevity, "elsewhere" = "every English-speaking country apart from the U.S."

Still haven't decided if the U.S. is leading the trends, or is just crazy.


  1. Love this! My great grandpa's name was Vivian Marion! :)

  2. My Grandpa was Claire! (spelled with the -e)
    (this is Faerieq17 from babycenter, I'm not stalking you or anything, I promise)

  3. Glad to see you stand up for Jamie - I got some weird comments after I named my son that in April!

    1. If you're a fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander novels, as I am, Jamie is all man!