A very prominent blogger in the field of online marketing and copywriting came out this week. As a woman. “James Chartrand” of Copyblogger, it turns out, is female, and only assumed the male pseudonym when she discovered how much more successful she could be when readers, editors, and the people with the power to pay her believed she was a man:
One day, I tossed out a pen name, because I didn’t want to be associated with my current business, the one that was still struggling to grow. I picked a name that sounded to me like it might convey a good business image. Like it might command respect.
My life changed that day
Instantly, jobs became easier to get.
There was no haggling. There were compliments, there was respect. Clients hired me quickly, and when they received their work, they liked it just as quickly. There were fewer requests for revisions — often none at all.
Customer satisfaction shot through the roof. So did my pay rate.
Taking a man’s name opened up a new world. It helped me earn double and triple the income of my true name, with the same work and service.
No hassles. Higher acceptance. And gratifying respect for my talents and round-the-clock work ethic.
Business opportunities fell into my lap. People asked for my advice, and they thanked me for it, too.
The comments at Copyblogger in response to Chartrand’s post outing herself are enlightening, too, for all the many similar stories they reveal. And don’t miss this Jezebel thread on the story, especially the comments there. Or this comment, on another Jezebel story, about gender discrimination on Broadway, and how the same play with a male name on the byline is better received than if it has a woman’s name there. Or this Salon story on the outing, and the letters in response.
I’ve been despairing quite a bit lately that FlickFilosopher.com isn’t doing better than it is, especially when I see sites — which shall remain nameless — that are only a few years old and that feature writing so boring and uninspiring that I forget I’m reading it while I’m reading it, and they’ve got Alexa.com rankings so much better than mine (which means much higher traffic, which means more ad revenue). I do realize that I’m a bit too thinky to ever get traffic on a level of an Ain’t It Cool News or a C.H.U.D., and that I just don’t have the staff to be pulling off a Cinematical or a Cinema Blend. But I think I should be doing better than I am.
And I do wonder, sometimes, if part of the reason that FlickFilosopher.com isn’t doing better than it is is because I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I’m female. You cannot possibly imagine how disheartening that idea is.
But since I simply cannot figure out what I’ve been doing wrong in relation to these other sites, perhaps it’s because I haven’t considered the very basic: I’m not being read like a whole lotta other crappy male writers are merely because I’m not pretending to be male.