Why isn't it common for a girl to be named after her mother?

Why is it common for a son be named after his father (like my ahole of an ex who was), but for girls it is not so common to be named after their mother? I sometimes wish I was named [name_f]Amber[/name_f] after my mother because I look and act so much like her, but it is what it is I guess. [name_f]My[/name_f] aunt (my grandma’s older sister) was named after her grandmother. It is however common for girls to have their mother’s name as their middle name, but I just don’t get it.

I share a middle name with my mother! I think the tradition for men is old and wouldn’t be invented nowadays. People just do it for tradition. It would be helpful in some respects if your parent was very prestigious. :woman_shrugging:


I don’t think it was ever as common as male juniors but it definitely has been done! [name_f]My[/name_f] family tree, including my mother and grandmother, include female juniors.
Girls names also seem to change over time, to fit the times. [name_f]My[/name_f] mom personally despised, very vocally, being a junior but gave her daughters names that sounded more “in” with the times that we were born. Male names don’t tend to change as much or go out of fashion. It wouldn’t be weird to see a son named after his dad [name_u]William[/name_u] but it would be a bit unusual to see a little girl with a dated mom name.


IMO, men’s egos are bigger.


I think it’s fair to say it stems from misogyny. Men’s names were viewed as important so they passed their name down to their sons so they could continue the family legacy. Women were passed off to their husband and were supposed to honor his family instead of the one she came from.


This is a great point, since boys’ names historically don’t change styles as often.

There are actually several generations of women’s names passed on in my family, but each generation takes a new nickname (e.g. Katherine: mom is Kathy, daughter is Katie, granddaughter’s middle name is Kate). That’s an easy way to pass on a name and update it. But it works best with classic names, not with more popular, trendy names.


It was incredibly common in the 19th century! So many daughters bore their mothers’ and aunts’ names. I imagine it’s faded out as girls names have expanded. Boys names are too, but I find I meet many more boys with traditional names than I do girls, juts in general. :relaxed:


I have wondered before if the higher number of male juniors as opposed to female juniors is a reason why boy name trends move slower, but the other way around makes a lot of sense too! My guess is that both are at least partly caused by a third “hidden variable” that I’m going to call “traditional gender roles”. The sexist notion that men (and therefore their names) are more important than women is certainly a big part of that, but there’s many more aspects to it, like a man having to continue in his father’s footsteps whether he wants to or not, or the expectation that every woman is special and thus can’t share a name with someone else.


I had a friend growing up who had the same name as her mom. Her brother had the same name as their dad.

It’s not as common, but it still happens!!

Personally, I think children should have their own names. I’m not a fan of naming them after either parent :woman_shrugging:
(as a first, middles are different!!)



Anecdotally: you definitely aren’t wrong, but here’s a semi-exception in case someone else finds it interesting too. So my grandparents had 11 children together, and they each named a kid after themselves (first and middle the same); their oldest daughter and their youngest son.


Along with the reasons others have mentioned, it also makes more sense to do it with boys for the family lineage. If you name a girl after the mother, there is a possibility that the girl will get married one day and no longer have the same full name. With guys it still continues the family line.


Patriarchal ways of tracing lineage and property inheritance. As a boy you could be [name_u]John[/name_u] [name_m]Paul[/name_m], [name_u]John[/name_u] [name_m]Paul[/name_m] Jr., [name_u]John[/name_u] [name_m]Paul[/name_m] III and so forth. Especially when an inheritance comes into play, such as when people were nobles. But for much of history, women couldn’t inherit and didn’t even have their own surnames. They were considered property and had their father’s surname until they took on their husband’s. Someone named [name_f]Sarah[/name_f] [name_m]Paul[/name_m] would give up her maiden name to become [name_f]Sarah[/name_f] Givens, for example. Then if she named her daughter [name_f]Sarah[/name_f] Givens [name_m]Jr[/name_m], the daughter would eventually get married and take on a different last name so she wouldn’t be a [name_m]Jr[/name_m]. anymore. I think the whole point of naming boys after their fathers was to emphasize the patriarchal lineage and that lineage has never existed for women because women weren’t given their own identities, they were just extensions of the patriarch in their lives. If women had their own surnames and could pass property and titles down to their daughters over generations, you’d probably see them pass down their names too. But since we live in a patriarchy, you just see people do it occasionally for sentimental reasons and it remains rare.

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