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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

Eating, living and breathing in beautiful Portland.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hi, My Name is 37 Percent Masculine

According to a recent article in The Observer, a United Kingdom newspaper, research showed that names do have an effect on people and give them a pre-conceived idea of how that person is going to behave.

The research also showed that girls with very feminine names like Isabella, Emma or Anna will more likely steer clear of math. The study conducted by psychologist Albert Mehrabian, gave the most popular girls' names taken from 1.4 million birth certificates a "femininity rating," with Isabella having the highest rating of 1.21 and Alex the lowest rating of 0.28.

My name, Ashley, is right there in the middle with a supposed predominantly less feminine view, according to this study. In other words, on a scale of 100 (although I'm not sure what the scale range was for this study because Isabella received a 1.21 femininity rating, but let's just say for the sake of normal scale increments we'll use 100) my name is 37 percent manly.

Personally, I always think of Gone With the Wind's McDreamy, Ashley Wilkes, when I think of my name as originally being masculine. One of my friends whom is a male is also named Ashley, and it honestly feels a little weird calling him by that name.

The shift in masculine/feminine names also is just a reflection of societal changes. What may have been masculine nearly 150 years ago is now a popular name for females, giving it more femininity. An example of this are the names Taylor or Morgan.

It is also true that names provide a powerful image of a person and influence peoples' reactions toward them, which is likely connected to the image of a particular person in one's memory. I know this is bad, but I would not name my little girl Christina or Jennifer because these were the names of people that I knew from childhood, which just give me bad memories.

Labels: Ashley Wilkes


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