We’ve all experienced our issues with the glass ceiling, but few of us have taken the most logical next step: just pretend you are a man. However, thanks to remote workspace, consulting and online communities, that may be a bigger possibility, especially once more people read the story of James Chartrand. Thought to be a respected male online personality, “James” unmasked himself recently as *gasp* a woman!
Previously a struggling single mother trying to make ends meet, James claimed she worked at a variety of online and work from home situations. It was only once she began working under an assumed male identity, though, that the real money started coming in.
“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. Did I quit promoting my own name? Hell yeah.”
In a world where women traditionally earn less than men for performing the same work, is it in your best interest to seek every advantage you can find? Or, as others think, is it a betrayal to the gender not to try to adance us as a whole?
I’ve been coming at this from both sides. Assuming the story is true, I’m bothered less by the fact that she made more as a man than the fact that she stated she would not have come out at all had she not been threatened with “outing.” I, too, once blogged as a “man,” or at least gender neutral, in the hopes that maybe my writing would be taken more seriously, or I could get further into some super secret blogging circle of influence I always assumed was out there.
But once I really began to find my way and my voice, I knew that annonymity didn’t do me justice. To write was to connect, and that couldn’t be done as a psuedonym.
Of course, some still thought I was male even once I became totally transparent. I guess that’s always the default assumption when writing about politics.
We can get up at arms about the pay gap, or whether or not this is a blow for or against gender discrimination. But in the end, what makes me saddest is that if this story is true, the woman is still afraid to give out her real name for the safety of her family. “I have kids,” she says. “I’m not interested in making myself vulnerable in that way.”
That’s the biggest crime.
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