Madison, Whitney, Ariel and Paris used to be boy names. Thanks to pop culture, all four are now considered girl names.
Madison became a girl name after Splash came out in 1984. The other three were basically unisex until Whitney Houston, The Little Mermaid and Paris Hilton made them unfashionable for boys.
In each case, all it took was one female–real or fictional–to tip the scales.
So maybe we should start keeping track of pop culture females that have male names. This might give us some clues about which male names will be the next to fall. Even better, it will help those expecting baby boys to avoid names that might not be considered boy names much longer.
Here’s what I’ve got so far:
- Blake, actress on Gossip Girl.
- Elliot, female character on Scrubs.
- Leighton, actress on Gossip Girl.
- Quinn, female character on One Tree Hill; female character on Glee.
- Reed, female character on The O.C.
- Remy, female character on House (though I don’t know if her name is ever used on the show).
- Rory, female character on Gilmore Girls.
Blake, Elliot, Reed, Remy and their variants have never ranked among the top 1,000 girl names in the U.S. Leighton ranked for the first time in 2009 (at 669th). Rory has ranked three times since 2003 and Quinn has been on the list since 1995, but both are still more popular for boys.
There are also female TV characters named Addison (Grey’s Anatomy) and Peyton (One Tree Hill), but Addison has long been more popular for girls, and Peyton has been headed in that direction for years.
What others can you come up with?