Gender-neutral baby names are right on trend

By Mieke Vlok
02 July 2015

Baby name trends are ever evolving and according to according to a survey conducted by BabyCenter; 2015 is shaping up to be; “the year of the gender-neutral baby”.

2014’s top baby names were Noah and Emma – and although these gender specific names are still popular they are making way for unisex names like Reese, River, Quinn and Pheonix.  A mid-year survey of nearly 185,000 baby monikers registered with BabyCenter has revealed that parents today are more open-minded about gender specific names than ever.

“The older generation may be taken aback by gender-neutral names and think a name should announce the child’s gender,” says writer of Cool Names for Babies Pamela Satran. “But individual’s college age or younger are more comfortable with the idea that gender is a fluid concept and that a name with an indistinct gender identity is more than fine — it’s preferable.”

But far from just random personal preference, experts believe that the trend comes as a result of a change in societal norms. “As usual, baby names are reflecting a larger cultural shift,” says BabyCenter’s Editor in Chief Linda Murray.

“Millennials are an open-minded and accepting group, and they don’t want their children to feel pressured to conform to stereotypes that might be restrictive.”

Toy retailers are following suit and many are steering away from the pink for girls, blue for boys ideal. Toys’ R Us in Sweden recently issued a gender-neutral catalogue of their products while the UK branch of the store is phasing out separate girls and boys aisles instead categorising toys according to age.

Of course, as with any hot trend, Hollywood is also fully on board; Mila and Ashton named their new daughter Wyatt, while celeb super-couple Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively opted for James for their little girl. But considering that the gender transformation of Caitlyn Jenner has been one of 2015’s top news stories the trend shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

SOURCES: BABYCENTER.COM, YAHOO.COM

Compiled by Lindsay De Freitas

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