Do I Have a Boy's Name?

Filed under: Baby Names

My name is Tracy. I have been told by many that it is the male version of the name -- that the female version is supposed to be either Treacy or Tracey. I am a woman. Can you clear this up for me?

- Tracy

Treacy? Oh dear.

You've fallen victim to America's love-hate relationship with androgynous names. Parents of girls flock to unisex surnames and even traditional male names, but then a lot of them edge away. "We thought Aidan would be cool for a girl," they'll say, "but we spelled it Aidynn to make it more feminine." If you wanted something feminine, one might ask, why did you choose a boy's name to begin with?

Now these timid, semi-androgynous names are rebounding on your cross-gender classic.

Let's take a tour through your name's past. Tracy is a surname that came to be considered an elegant first name. At one time, it was also used as a nickname for Theresa. That kept the name's male/female ratio pretty even until the 1900s, when swanky surnames came into vogue for boys (think Sidney and Murray). Then a few decades later the name entered a new style jetstream alongside the likes of Stacy and Kerry. Just as with those names, girls eventually grabbed the Tracy lead. By the late 1960s more than 10,000 American girls were being named Tracy every year, and a couple of thousand boys for good measure.

That's Tracy, T-R-A-C-Y. Some parents did try to make the name more girlish by spelling it Traci or Tracie, but they were the minority. As for the other spellings people have tried to force on you, Tracey is an alternate spelling for both males and females and Treacy is another surname hardly used as a given name at all.

So Tracy, your spelling is the standard one, for women and men alike. Bear it proudly. Extra 'e's, 'i's and 'y's don't make anybody more of woman.

Do people harp on your name? Share your experiences here. And if you have your own question to Ask the Name Lady, drop her a line!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.