Michelle Branch and Gender-Neutral Names

In an interview with Parents.com’s Allison Winn Scotch, singer Michelle Branch talked about life with her six-year-old daughter, Owen. If you’re anything like me (meaning, a nameaholic), your first observation upon reading the interview was… she named a girl Owen?

Now, a boy’s name for a girl is not unusual. I’d just never thought of the name Owen as gender-neutral. It is a cute name though, and when I give it a little time to sit I can definitely see it on a little girl.

This got me thinking about gender and names. The most unusual name in terms of gender that I’ve ever heard is Kevin, for a woman. And she was a woman, mind you — born decades before the whole boys-name-for-a-girl thing. Followed closely behind are two women named Michael and Tyler (no, not Taylor). My reaction to all three circumstances was similar to the one I had for little Owen — at first, the names seemed crazy, but after knowing the bearers for a little while, it totally fit.

What’s your take on gender-neutral names? Does your child have one? What’s the most out-there example you’ve ever seen?

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