Challenging The Notion of 'Unprofessional' Baby Names

Challenging The Notion of 'Unprofessional' Baby Names
Challenging The Notion of 'Unprofessional' Baby Names
5 min read
#unprofessional names

Choosing a baby name is one of the most exciting and personal decisions a parent can make. However, there's a common perception that certain names, particularly for girls, are "unprofessional" or "too cutesy" for adults. In this blog post, we'll challenge the notion of "unprofessional" baby names and explore why this mindset is not only limiting but also harmful to women in their personal and professional lives.

The Misconception

It's not uncommon to come across comments like "it's fine on a baby, but that child is going to be an adult one day!" or "why can't you just name her Sunnitrianna and call her Sunny?" when discussing certain baby names. The underlying assumption is that these names are too informal, childish, or unconventional for a grown woman, especially if she aspires to have a successful career.

This misconception often stems from the belief that women need to have every aspect of their lives perfectly polished to succeed, including something as personal as their first name. It's a double standard that men rarely face, as they are less likely to have their names scrutinized for professionalism.

The truth is, a name does not determine a person's abilities, intelligence, or potential for success. By labeling certain names as "unprofessional," we are perpetuating a harmful stereotype that limits women's opportunities and reinforces the idea that they must conform to narrow societal expectations to be taken seriously in their careers.

Real-Life Examples

Despite the misconception that certain names are "unprofessional," there are countless examples of successful women with unconventional names. Take, for instance, the U.S. Senate. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) all have names that some might consider "too cutesy" for a politician. And let's not forget Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), whose name not only breaks the mold but also features a unique spelling.

In the realm of science and space exploration, NASA's newest astronaut class includes Jasmin Moghbeli and Zena Cardman, both of whom have names that defy traditional expectations of what a scientist or astronaut should be called.

Even in the corporate world, where conformity is often prized, there are Fortune 500 CEOs with unconventional names. Patti Poppe, the CEO of PG&E Corporation, and Phebe Novakovic, the CEO of General Dynamics, are just two examples. And let's not overlook Penny Pennington, the Managing Partner of Edward Jones, whose alliterative name might raise eyebrows among those who believe in "professional" naming conventions.

The Problem with Judging Names

The issue with judging names based on perceived professionalism is that it perpetuates a harmful cycle. When people make comments like "well, I wouldn't hire a Maisie/Penny/Buffy," they are actively contributing to the problem. By limiting opportunities for women based on their names, we are reinforcing the idea that women must conform to narrow expectations to succeed.

This mindset not only harms the individuals being judged but also robs society of the unique perspectives and talents that these women could bring to their fields. It's time we recognize that a person's name does not define their abilities or potential, and that judging someone based on their name is a form of discrimination.

Embracing Unique Names

Instead of fixating on the perceived "professionalism" of a name, we should embrace the individuality and self-expression that unique names represent. A name is a gift given to us by our parents, and it is a fundamental part of our identity. By celebrating the diversity of names, we create a more inclusive and accepting society where people are valued for their skills and character, not their adherence to outdated naming conventions.

Encouraging parents to choose names they love, regardless of whether they fit traditional expectations, is a step towards breaking down the barriers that women face in their personal and professional lives. When we teach our children that their names are a source of pride and strength, we empower them to pursue their dreams without fear of being judged or held back by something as arbitrary as their name.


It's time we challenge the notion of "unprofessional" baby names and recognize that a person's name does not determine their worth or potential. By embracing unique names and celebrating the diversity of identities, we create a more inclusive and equitable society where women can thrive without being held to impossible standards of perfection.

As parents, we have the power to break the cycle of judgment and discrimination by choosing names that reflect our values and aspirations for our children. And as a society, we have the responsibility to look beyond our biases and appreciate the individuality and strength that each person brings to the table, regardless of their name.

So let's move forward with open minds and hearts, and create a world where every name is valued and respected for the unique story it tells.