Perhaps you already know that “Stacey”, “Courtney”, “Hilary” and “Evelyn” used to be male names. What seems to happen is that a few parents give their daughters that name which gradually makes it more socially acceptable for follow-on parents to give their daughters those names. At some point, it becomes more female than male and then parents start avoiding that name for their boys.
Why parents would want to avoid giving a name that sounds female is obvious enough. What I’d like to know is more about why parents giving their daughters male-sounding names.
It seems that Irish/British surnames-turned-boys-names are particularly popular when it comes to girls’ names. Is there anything to that?
I remember reading a Steven Levitt article where he said that stereotypically black names tend to be associated with quite bad socio-economic outcomes. Although having a name like “Precious” or “Diamond” or whatever special spellings thereof did not help them, the main reason they did badly was because they were disproportionally likely to be born of single, uneducated teenage mothers who themselves were doing quite badly. The mothers wanted their children to have names that made them seem special as a way to compensate for not having much else.
Does the same phenomenon apply to parents who give their daughters male-associated names? Is it mainly lower-class or very young , unprepared parents? The opposite? Something else?