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Is This Name Allowed For Girls?

Can I use Camden as a girl name?

- Cautious Mama

Your choice of the word "can" in your question speaks volumes. On the simplest level, of course you "can" choose the name Camden for your daughter. In the U.S. and most of the English-speaking world, there are no lists of approved names; no rules. You can choose absolutely any name you want.

But that's not a satisfactory answer, is it? Your question "Can I" shows that you sense there are unwritten rules to the wild and woolly name game. Perhaps you're really asking...

- DOES anybody use Camden as a girl's name?

Yes, occasionally. Last year, 124 American families named baby girls Camden. That places the name in the same borderline popularity group as names that have fallen out of fashion (Monique, Ginger); names that are traditional but seldom heard (Alba, Davina); and words that make splashy names (Emerald, Halo). It's rare, but not unheard of.

- When people hear the name Camden, will they assume it's a boy?

Yep, they will. Boy Camdens outnumber girls by almost 20 to 1, so you should expect the name to be heard as masculine.

- Is it bad to give a girl a male name?

It's a mixed bag. There are some studies that suggest that a masculine-sounding name can actually give girls an advantage in school and the workplace. Some people just like the androgynous style, too. On the other hand, a girl with a male name will have to deal with frequent confusions; find her name on the wrong cabin lists for camps; etc. And what message does it send to our daughters to say that the route to success is to be taken for a boy?

- Are my relatives who crinkled up their noses and said it's a terrible name right?

They're neither right nor wrong, they're just expressing their personal taste (rather impolitely, tsk tsk).

Rather than taking offense, take their reactions as useful info. You now know that the name you're considering will be somewhat controversial, and that not everyone will react well to it. If that bothers you, be glad you got the advance warning and look for a new baby name. If not, may I be the first to welcome little Camden!

Comments

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December 31, 2012 1:10 PM
By Sabrina (not verified)

If I had had a daughter I was going to name her Camden! I think it's a great boy name turned girl name.

December 31, 2012 1:24 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I have a coworker who was one of those 124 parents who named their daughter Camden. I had never heard the name before meeting her, and now that I've heard of others naming their children (several males, one other female) I consider it a unisex name, like Reese, which is what my sister-in-law will be naming her daughter. If you love the name, use it. I, myself have a unisex name and have chosen 1 name for my first child, a unisex name.

December 31, 2012 5:43 PM
By Juli (not verified)

I live much too close to Philadelphia to consider Camden a suitable name for any child, boy or girl. It's the name of a city in New Jersey, and it's Not A Nice Place. You don't go for a walk after dark in most of Camden.

If I did encounter Camden as a person's name, I would automatically assume that that person was male, and young, and I would pity him.

January 1, 2013 5:35 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

my baby girl will be named Elijah, so don't worry!

January 1, 2013 11:34 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know that it's fashionable to use boy names on girls, but I despise it, sorry. what's wrong with femininity? I think it's a sad message to send our girls. Girls and women can be feminine, strong, and successful all at once. I feel like naming girls a very masculine names sends a message that being a girl isn't good enough.

Personally, I don't care for Camden on either gender because of the iffy city in New Jersey. How about Carys or Arden? Tailored and simple, not too common, but not masculine or a bad city.

January 2, 2013 12:35 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know a family with a girl with this name. They spelled it Camdyn. It fits her and I don't think of it as a boy name. But I like Campbell for a girl too.

January 2, 2013 3:32 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Not sure how Camden is a "boy" name. Seems pretty unisex to me. And like others, since I know Camden, NJ I don't think it is a great name for anyone.

But there's also Camden Yards, the London Borough of Camden, and people with the surname Camden.

January 3, 2013 12:54 PM
By Maureen (not verified)

My best friend has a girl Camden, now 2 years old. We call her "Cami" Or Camden Rae (her middle name).

Its pretty and cute!

January 3, 2013 12:57 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Sits in there with Cammy, Camila, and Cameron, so feels like it has a girly prefix with the Cam.

January 3, 2013 1:01 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My first thought when I heard the name Camden was that it was following the trend of naming kids after urban locations (e.g. Brooklyn). However, based on my experiences with Camden, NJ, I would never choose it for my kid! It's not a very nice place. (No offense to Camden dwellers.) Would you name your kid Newark or Oakland?

For some reason, I'm also drawn to place names (India, Geneva, etc.) so I shouldn't really talk...

January 3, 2013 1:11 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I also know a girl named Camden...in fact, I knew it as a girl's name before I ever heard of it as a boy's name! To me, it's more girl than boy.

January 3, 2013 1:12 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It's 2012. If your daughter is being put in a boys' cabin at camp based on assumptions about her first name, FIND A NEW CAMP. As someone who works with children professionally, I can tell you that we are used to androgynous and gender-bending names and just do not make assumptions about a child's gender based on their name.
And once you or anyone else give a girl a name, it is no longer exclusively a boys' name. She's a girl and it's her name--that makes it a girl's name. This business about the negative message that a girl must ape a boy to get ahead is just silly; who says she's going to try to pass as male just because she has an androgynous name? Perhaps she'll go by Cami. I'm much more worried about what it says about our cultural misogyny that people will undoubtedly stop using Camden for little boys if it gains any traction as a girls' name.

January 3, 2013 1:33 PM
By ValenzMom (not verified)

I know a lady who's baby girl is named Noah! And what about the actress who played the mother in "Little House on the Prairie"? Her name was Michael Learned. Or the woman who the King of England abdicated his throne for - her name was Wallis Simpson. There have always been women with masculine names throughout history. It isn't just a modern "thing." Name your child what you want and she will make the name HERS!

January 3, 2013 1:43 PM
By Paula (not verified)

I am a South Carolina native who has lived in Tennessee for 26 years. Both of those states have towns named Camden, and to my knowledge, they are NOT "bad" places! Camden, Tennessee, has the distinction of being the location of the plane crash that killed country star Patsy Cline in 1963, the only thing "bad" that I know about either place, and that's not the fault of the city!

My cousins, also SC natives, had a female cat named Camden who lived to old age.

I say name your daughter what you want, regardless of what others say!

January 3, 2013 1:52 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

The name Noa (no h) is a Hebrew female name and Michael Learned was on "The Waltons". But yes, women with "masculine" names is not new.

January 3, 2013 2:29 PM
By LennonAngeli'sMom (not verified)

I know of a little girl named Camden...about 9 years old. I thought it was a cute name for a girl but I'm biased since my daughter's name is often thought of as a masculine name.

January 3, 2013 2:30 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It's a nice name but personally I would not saddle a child with a confusing name. Life is complicated enough.

January 3, 2013 2:32 PM
By groovyfirechick (not verified)

My grandmother picked my name. It's Meredith. Traditionally a boys name it's now become a girls name. (I'm female) I didn't like my name when I was a kid because it was so different but I love it now that I'm an adult. I go by Meri which I started calling myself in high school when I was trying to blend it somewhat with my classmates who had "normal" names. My fiance and I are in discussion about names for kids as we are planing to have them in the future. By the way my sisters are named Jean Marie and Susannah. :)

January 3, 2013 2:41 PM
By LennonAngeli'sMom (not verified)

...and if you're not from the north east, don't sweat it! I have never heard of Camden, NJ! But if you live there, I'd reconsider!

January 3, 2013 6:34 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I thought of Camden Town from E Nesbit's "Five Children" series. Never heard of Camden NJ until today. How about Camena? (Pretty but uncommon name. I emt a girl called Camena and appropriated her name for a character in my book "Trinity Street".

January 3, 2013 10:29 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know 3 Camdens, and all are female (ages 9, 5, and newborn). One goes by Cami. I can't think of it as a boy's name now!

January 4, 2013 6:44 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Oh gods - I am SO over this ugly trend of giving girls masculine names. Your daughter deserves a feminine name.

January 5, 2013 7:01 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

While I prefer names recognizable as one gender or the other, but I don't see it as a black and white issue. The main problem I have with Camden is two "celebrities" chose it within months of each other. I wouldn't want to be seen as following trends.

January 7, 2013 9:48 AM
By Jan K (not verified)

Great answer/s Name Lady!

January 8, 2013 11:22 AM
By Ruby (not verified)

"Can I" gives me the idea that the mother-to-be is worried about the controversiality of the name. The only Camden I know is a boy, so it struck me as odd to think of it on a girl. You can count me as someone who is a girls-be-girls-and-boys-be-boys kind of namer, and I know there is a plenty of anti-androgenous feeling online, but I can't imagine someone disrespecting you or your child in real life over the name. Yes, online and with friends and associates people may complain over "girls stealing boys' names," but people complain about everything, anyway. Mean-spiritedness will find an outlet one way or another. I wouldn't worry about it.

If you love the name Camden for a daughter, go right ahead (not that you need my approval ^_~ ). I don't have to understand the trend for me to respect the mother and her choice. I am not anti-androgenous, and I suspect that most people aren't, as well.

January 8, 2013 1:08 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

A girlfriend named one of her daughters Camdyn. No one mistakes the name for a boy's.

January 8, 2013 1:10 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Camden is a gorgeous place in Maine. I imagine if naming a child after a location, one is not thinking of Camden, NJ!

January 8, 2013 1:21 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, you CAN! The so called "TREND" has been happening for hundreds of years...

Alexis
Ashley
Avery
Blair
Cassidy
Courtney
Dana
Emery
Kelly
Kelsey
Kendall
Lesley
Lindsey
Mallory
Marion
Meredith
Morgan
Paris
Sascha
Schuyler/Skyler
Shannon
Tracy

January 8, 2013 1:59 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My friend just had a baby girl and named her Kamden. We were surprised at the name choice, but that is who she is and she's beautiful.

January 8, 2013 10:36 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I have a 6 year old niece named Camdyn!

January 14, 2013 1:21 PM
By Lily (not verified)

This obstinate silly myth that some countries have 'lists of approved names from which parents must pick the name (OR ELSE!)' is complete nonsense. Although many countries have some kind of restrictions (when names are obviously violating the wellbeing of the child - eg extremely offensive (through historical or other associations) or utterly grotesque names (like Moron, Beerfestival, XYZY etc.) that doesn't mean parents have to pick names from a book or list. Even if the name is practically unheard of, or a new coinage, as long as it's recognisable as a name /within the mentioned ethical standards), it normally is no problem whatever (esp nowadays) to have it registered as an official first name.

January 15, 2013 5:40 PM
By elleireland (not verified)

I'm mostly feeling sorry for anyone from Camden, NJ.

Love the suggestion of Carys (or Charys), also some of the others....Kendyl, Campbell.

But to me Camden sounds girly. Just a matter of time before the girl Camdens outnumber the boys.

January 26, 2013 2:27 PM
By Julie (not verified)

I think Camden is a cute name. For either gender. I actually think it's far worse when parents take a traditional boy's name but adds an 'y' to "make it feminine". (Like Camdyn... Or Jordyn, Tristyn, Mackynzie, etc.)

I also think it's sad how girls can get "boys' names" and that's ok, but boys getting "girls' names" is seen as really, really bad. It seems like that if a "boys' name" has been getting really popular for girls, then parents of boys feel they have to (and are adviced to) stop using it. Feels unfair to me. Why can't a name just be a name, and belong to the people who wears it instead of belonging to a certain gender?

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