Which Really IS Easier??

I think this is a question many of us have been wondering about lately. Who really is easier to name–boys or girls?

[name]Just[/name] to get this topic started:

On the one hand, there are obviously SO many more options for girls’ names. But does that make it easier --because you have more to choose from-- or harder --because there are so many names to take into consideration and choose between?

And on the other hand (the boys’ hand!) is the exact opposite of the girls’ argument. There seem to be so few choices for boys–either that or parents feel confined to the same old choices. (Maybe because of the rise of unisex names? It seems that once a name becomes unisex people just don’t think of it as a “real” boys’ name anymore–so boys’ parents think they’re only safe with the classics? Or do parents just feel more adventurous with girls for no reason at all? Sorry–just thinking out loud here!) So, if you go with the argument that less choices makes for less confusion, then boys are easier. But if you agree that having more choices makes for a better palette…

Anyway, feel free to post your own thoughts on this (confusing!) subject!

Well, [name]Joanna[/name], a conundrum indeed, and no easy answer to this one. I have six children- three boys and three girls, and I found it harder to name the boys. In fact, [name]Douglas[/name] was without a name for some weeks!

I am not sure why this is - there are SO MANY wonderful names for girls, and I think husbands/partners (in general) are more willing to let you run riot with a daughter’s name. My three girls were named well in advance of the birth, with a little bit of final tweaking. With the boys he wanted far more of an input, and would not countenance anything “too fancy”. I think I already told you about loving the name [name]Ruaridh[/name] (pronounced [name]Rory[/name] - the actual Gaelic spelling) and wanting one of my boys to have this name, but [name]Allan[/name] would have none of it. He said it reminded him of a red-haired shot-putter in a kilt at the Highland Games (and what exactly is wrong with that, I wanted to know)?

This is only my experience, of course. Everyone will be different.


Personally I find I can be more decided with boys than girls names.

There are several boys names that I know I could definitely use on a baby and be completely happy with. But with girls, there are so many choices (and popularity is much more of a factor) that I can never seem to settle on any definite choices.

I don’t think that there is a black and white answer. I think it comes down to tastes and preferences. [name]Pam[/name] and [name]Linda[/name] pointed to a study in their advice “6 Ways Not to Fight About [name]Baby[/name] Names” that found that men are more likely to prefer common or old-fashioned names for both boys and girls and that women are more likely to prefer common or old-fashioned names for boys and unusual names for girls. Of course, I do not think that is completely true either. For example, if my husband and I have another girl someday, he wants [name]Kairi[/name] and I want [name]Georgiana[/name]. (Side note, since I will likely have years to work on the issue, any suggestions to make my husband love [name]Georgiana[/name]?) So, this may have something to do with it.

Also, even when not dealing with an opionated partner, you may be more set in the naming style for one sex over the other. Your tastes in girls’ names may very well change over time, likely with the changing trends (or as many posters point out, just from being here on nameberry). Or the same could be true to boys names.

For me personally, I don’t think that either is particularly easier for me. My tastes in girls’ names change often and I have never been able to decide what boys’ names I like enough to use. Starting at a young age I loved to pick out names. As long as I can remember, I have alwats had at least 3 girls’ names on my list, but they always changed. And I never had a single boys’ name on my list until I met my husband, which was his suggestion.

[name]Both[/name] are difficult for me since I am VERY picky. But I have an especially hard time with girls, since there are so many girls names that I just loathe…

In my experience, boys names are far easier to: 1. get DH on board with and 2. decide on one we love.

Let me just say, though, that naming any child is not EASY for me. I take it pretty seriously, and can be very picky about both boys and girls names. I think, though, that mine and DH’s taste in boy’s names are much closer than our taste in girl’s names, so we agree on one much more quickly!

We are pregnant with our second baby, and through both pregnancies we have yet to pick one girl’s name we like for either! We have, however, chosen 4-5 boy’s names between the two of them! Luckily, the first baby was a boy. We’re still waiting to see which gender this baby is for sure!

This is a great topic for discussion and would make an excellent blog. But in my PERSONAL experience, with boys you’ve got one big choice – traditional or unconventional, like meat or fish – and from there it’s relatively easy. With girls there are so many different possible styles and images that it can be more baffling. On the other hand, to me, there are many more “good” girls’ names that they’re more fun and interesting to dream about and play with, which makes them “easier” in a different kind of way. Less effortful.

…though I’m pretty sure effortful is not a real word.

My husband and I have had a much harder time picking out boy names for some reason. I think (as someone already mentioned) that my husband definitely gets more involved with the choosing of names for our sons. With girls I think he trusts my taste a little more and if he doesn’t despise it, then it will go on the list. I even suggested a name that he originally didn’t like at all, told him to think about it for a couple days, and by the next day he loved it. That has NEVER happened with a boy name. He is very quick to say yes or no…and thats that. I am moderately picky about names and I do find it harder to find boy names that I love. So between the two of us the boys have been the challenge. I remember with our first baby we had a whole list of girl names and only 2 boy names we could agree on. We’ve had two boys…and now both our names are used up!!! We have a couple years before we plan on having baby #3 so hopefully by then we will have come up with more options for boys just in case!!! (girls are still more than covered)

My husband and I have had a much easier time picking out boys’ names. We become decided on a boy’s name early on and never change our minds. There are only a few boys’ names that we are really in love with.
On the other hand, I am in love with so many girls’ names that I can’t decide which one I love the most. [name]Kent[/name] has stodgy taste in girls’ names. His favorites are the names he’s already used to. He loves my name - [name]Susan[/name] and our daughter’s name - [name]Laura[/name]. Well, those have already been used. He also loves [name]Veronica[/name] and [name]Anna[/name]. That’s about it. His idea of a middle name is [name]Lynn[/name] or [name]Ann[/name]. Of course he wouldn’t put [name]Anna[/name] with [name]Ann[/name]. At least I don’t think he would!

I think it can differ from one person to the next.

Personally, I found it easier to name my sons ([name]Julius[/name] and [name]Tobias[/name]), because I know what my ‘boy name style’ is (traditional/old-fashioned names which aren’t overly popular).

However, with girl names, there is so much choice. I also like traditional/old-fashioned girl names, but I also like what I would call ‘exotic traditional’ names (i.e. [name]Christabel[/name], [name]Henrietta[/name]), and I also like some hipster/yupster names. I can even get a bit more adventurous with girl names, and have considered [name]Lilac[/name] and [name]Mimosa[/name] (amongst others), so narrowing down a girl name is difficult.

Interestingly though, with my daughter’s final names, I have actually fallen back to the whole traditional/old-fashioned type ([name]Helena[/name], [name]Esther[/name] and [name]Josephine[/name]). I think the main reason for this, is so all the names ‘fit’ together!

I don’t consider one gender any harder to name than the other. Then again, I’m one who would often be willing to consider a unisex name for a boy even if it is also being used on girls. (To the OP on the skirts/pants comment: I know of someone who is breaking that stereotype and not in a “crossdressing” sense; if you want to learn more run a search for “unbifurcated garments” on the Internet.)

This post got me thinking about a blog post I recall hearing a couple of years or so ago at another baby naming site about how which gender you find harder to name largely depends on your style. Like someone else said there are fewer “middle ground” names for boys than for girls, and thus the ones who find boys harder to name often have the style where they’re looking for an established name that is neither too quirky nor too common. Those who stick to classic and common names, as well as those who are willing to go for something eccentric don’t typically have a similar gap. “Modern” style namers may or may not find boys harder to name based on a few factors, one of which is whether or not they’d be willing to use a name that is also being used for girls on a boy; however these types of namers usually aren’t as stumped in coming up with a name for a boy as the middle-ground-established namers that I described above.

I think this is my problem exactly. I am having a horrible time with a boy’s name! I like traditional/classic names that aren’t too overused. Or aren’t used on my friends and relatives’ kids . . . it doesn’t leave much to choose from. My husband and I never struggled before because we had [name]Henry[/name] picked out and our first child was a girl – second is [name]Henry[/name], and when we named him that, we didn’t know it was going to be so popular. This time, we are completely stuck - he is basically vetoing the only two I am considering, but not coming up with any alternatives of his own . . .

Girls are much much easier for me because there are so many classic, pretty and underused names to choose from!

For me I would have to say that is easier to name boys. I only have two girls and coming to a final decision for their names was an adventure. My husband and I had agreed fairly easily and quickly which boys names we liked during both of my pregnancies.
[name]Both[/name] our naming styles for boys are the same. We like strong, classic boys names that are more professional than say creative.

For girls names, I’m not sure my husband has a style. He knows what he doesn’t like that’s for sure. He doesn’t like any one or two names enough to really pin point what he may like next. I’m definitely more of a “day dreamer” when it comes to girls names. Girls names are like little girls clothes, they themselves are much more fun and interesting than those for little boys. Some names have more ruffles or beads and some are more tailored that will never go out of style.

I’m not too sure which are easier to name – boys or girls – but I know that, when it comes to anagramming, I tend to find girls’ names easier to anagram than boys’ names. There are more possibilities for anagramming a girl’s name that I wouldn’t normally try with a boy’s name lest the boy’s name should turn out too “pretty.”

– [name]Nephele[/name]

Why is it that the majority feels that it’s ok to name girls unusual names, while it’s not as accepted for boys??

I’ve heard so many people say it…including my SO. Names girls anything you like, but the boys names need to be “normal” (I hate that word!) and, well, usual.

I have actually seen studies done (at least in the US) that have shown that boys that have uncommon or unusual names have a harder time socially and psychologically. They tend to have higher incidences of depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems growing up.

The same was not found for girls. Girls with uncommon or unusual names found them to be a source of identity and uniqueness.

I’m not sure what they classified as an uncommon or unusual name, but this seems to make some sense. [name]Every[/name] guy I know with a “different” name wishes he had a more common one, but every girl I know with a “different” name loves it!

I can believe that. We wear our names as we wear our clothing. Women can get away with wearing just about anything, and be viewed as “cute,” “sexy,” “daring,” etc.

If a man tries to get too creative and unconventional with his clothing, his masculinity may be questioned in our society.

– [name]Nephele[/name]

I did a post about that on my blog (at http://millennialkelly.blogspot.com), and personally I think that it’s as much if not more of a generational issue as a gender one. The double standard of wanting boys but not girls to have common names is the most pronounced not among today’s parents, but among Boomers and Jonesers/older Xers. Today’s parents giving birth (younger Xers and Millennials) seem in general to be more willing to go out and be unusual when naming a boy than their parents were (hence some posts on the Nameberry blog in the past discussing that). I also notice a similar trend among whether people prefer themselves to have a common or unusual name; far fewer people around my age or younger wished they had a more common name than someone from my parents’ generation (and that’s probably why in general more babies these days are getting “unusual” names than before). Not to say that gender isn’t a factor, but you should look at others as well (e.g. more boys than girls still to this date are given the top names on the SSA list, but for both genders the percentages are quite a bit lower [by a bigger factor than the gender one] than they were when many of us Nameberryites were born). At least personally (being an early Millennial) I don’t have much more if any hesitation about going out on a limb when naming a boy than naming a girl.

In regards to that story that I assume is the one mentioned by someone else earlier in the thread about boys with non-traditional names not faring as well, I want to mention that whoever did the study mathematically skewed the results (if it’s the story that I’m thinking about and the one I mentioned before in my blog). If I recall correctly the most popular name got a 100 and a name with half as many bearers got a 50, a quarter of the most popular name was a 25, and so on. What that does is overweigh the results of just the few most popular names (whether that be good or bad) and underweighs the result of the less common names (which in this case gives the author a false or at least skewed conclusion). The mathematically correct way to conduct this experiment is instead of the aforementioned scale use the actual percentages to compute the results (if that is a bit unwidely taking the reciprocal of the precentages will yield the same results, this time with a higher value corresponding to a more unusual name).

Also, those who are doing such studies need to separate the concept of black or other unfavorably-ethnic names from those that are merely unusual (with the former there have been valid studies about resume response with such names, etc.).