Is This Name Allowed For Girls?
- 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!