Woman who gave her daughter a male middle name sparks surprisingly fierce debate

Would you give your daughter a traditionally male name?

Rachel Hosie
Thursday 17 November 2016 10:20

In the world of celebrity, anything goes with baby names.

It all started with Bob Geldof’s daughter Fifi Trixibelle. Then came along Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter, Apple. And, after Jamie Oliver’s wife Jools gave birth to Petal Blossom Rainbow, we were so used to such untraditional names that the world gave little more than an eye-roll.

Back in Normalville, however, people aren’t so open-minded when it comes to naming their offspring, as one expectant mother recently found out.

With two daughters already and a third child overdue, a mother floated the idea online of calling her baby Iris James, were she to give birth to a girl. But she said that her own mother is enraged at the idea because the expectant mother’s brother is hoping to have a son and name him James.

Since airing her suggestion on Mumsnet, the mother has been bombarded with responses, some from those who loved her name, and others who clearly didn’t.

“Why lumber your daughter with a boy’s name? Pretty ill thought out,” wrote one anonymous internet-user.

Similarly, another person thinks the name James would be wasted on a girl as the daughter “will be too embarrassed to tell people what her middle name is,” emphasising that James “is a BOY's name.”

Other women shared their own experiences of having traditionally male names. “My middle name is Ross and I have always hated it,” wrote one. “I got teased at school for it, and even though I am in my mid thirties people always make unpleasant comments when they find out.”

But as another person pointed out, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have a young daughter called James, adding: “If a celeb has done it surely it is a green light for us mere mortals to do so also without criticism.”

And others were all for it. “James is my daughter’s middle name. I think it's lovely and a bit different,” wrote one woman, although she admitted not many people agreed with her.

The general consensus was, however, that expectant mothers should never announce their chosen name until the baby arrives because people will only try and change their minds. So now you know.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments