Taylor’s a Feminist – But So Is James

Winter BootsFeminism is starting to piss me off.

So unless you’ve been living under a rock for last few days, you know that James Chartrand, mon esteemed capitaine, has recently come out as a woman. I’ve known about James’ true gender for some time, and we’ve had a lot of discussions about whether, in today’s day and age, such a choice is really necessary to command respect in the workplace.

After all, I’m a woman. James and I do the same kind of writing, and our male clients have been absolutely thrilled with the copy that both of us have written. So what made the pseudonym necessary for James and not for me? If I can do it, why shouldn’t James do it?

And isn’t it our job, as women, to keep on keeping on?

Not at all, and I’m willing to fight anyone who suggests it. There are a lot of differences between James and me when it comes to the question of women in the workplace, but the one thing we have in common is this:

No one, but no one, gets to tell us how women should behave.

The Generation Gap

One of the extreme differences between James and I when it comes to being working women is our backgrounds. It never really occurred to me that I shouldn’t be treated equally and paid equally in the workplace because I’m a woman. My mother was always the main breadwinner in our family, and her male peers (and all of her peers were male, because female company owners are still rare even in liberal places like the Bay Area) respected her immensely.

It would never have crossed my mind that I couldn’t do anything I wanted to because I was female.

I thought I couldn’t do anything I wanted to for other reasons. I actually thought I was never going to be as successful as my mother, powerful woman that she is. But the very idea that I couldn’t accomplish great things because I was a woman would have been laughable to me.

After all, the person I thought I couldn’t live up to WAS a woman.

That’s how my generation thinks. We’re much, much closer to the glass ceiling than our mothers. A study done in 2005 showed that women under 25 working full time earned 93 cents to every dollar a man earned.

Women over 25? They were still stuck with 79 cents to the dollar.

That means that if I take a salaried job today, I might be earning $32,550 while the guy next to me earns $35,000. And that’s not fair, and I would complain about it.

But it’s nothing compared to the $27,650 that James would be earning right next to me, under his female name.

James is 38 years old. I am 25.

That thirteen-year age gap makes an enormous difference when it comes to how women are seen in the workplace.

The Name Gap

James has chosen not to come out with his real name, and I am of course going to respect that decision. I will tell you, however, that it is a distinctly female name. It’s not a name that could be mistaken for a man’s.

My name, on the other hand, is gender-ambiguous. You can thank my mother (again) for that one. She specifically wanted to give me an androgynous name. I imagine at the time she knew just what a difference it would have made in her workplace to have been able to leave that question of gender unanswered when we were still at the resume stage of the proceedings. She didn’t have her own company yet, and she had been handing out resumes not that long ago herself.

And women still weren’t as hirable as men, 25 years ago. Not nearly.

So my name is Taylor, and if I had chosen to pursue a salaried job instead of a freelance career, I could have avoided the embarrassing situation many women find themselves in today – discounted because of their name, before their education and skills are even checked. Female names are less likely to get called in for interviews than male ones – to the extent that some resume experts often give the advice that women applying for jobs in a “male-dominated” field should consider going by their initials.

As a freelancer, I haven’t found it necessary to put any effort into keeping my gender ambiguous. The fact that I’m a woman is on my company’s website and all over my blog posts.

But by the time potential clients find that out, they’ve already passed that initial stage of deciding whether or not to keep on checking me out. We’ve passed the “resume” stage, and entered the “interview” stage.

At that point, we’re dealing much more with my merits than with my gender.

The Freedom Gap

As James put forth so eloquently in the essay, much of his decision to keep a male name had to do with being able to earn a sufficient income to support his family. If he earned twice as much as James, then that’s a done deal.

Makes sense. Many of you with families would gladly take on a job at twice your current salary even if it meant some sort of weird workplace problem. Let’s say your boss is a jackass who hates you. Every day he tries to humiliate you in some way that you can’t quite take to the HR department, but that makes you feel like crap.

But if it means being able to send your kids to a better school, to not have to worry when they grow out of their clothes, to buy them the Christmas present they want instead of the one you can afford, many of you would take the job anyway.

It’s not right, or noble, or fair. If you were the hero in a movie, you’d tell that guy to go stuff his condescension and his job. The hero would tell him he’s a human being who’s every bit his boss’ equal, and he doesn’t deserve to be treated like this. He’d stand up for what’s right, damn it, and there would be some very inspiring music playing in the background while he did it.

Except that’s not how it goes.

How it goes is that you get out the speech. and quit the job, and have to face your family when you go home. The family you’re supposed to be providing for. And explain how your pride was more important than their getting a new pair of good winter boots when they need them.

You’d swallow your pride. You’d keep on doing what you had to. And if you ever decided not to, it would be because your family told you it was okay to do it. That they understood, and they wanted you to. You would make that decision together. But you would never put yourself above them.

I, and I say this with a fair amount of smugness, do not have to do this. I am single. I am young. I am well used to living on a shoestring budget. I rent my home. I have few responsibilities and absolutely no dependents. I am responsible for me, and me alone. Hell, if I wanted to, I could live out of my car.

Which means that if I decide I’m okay with it being a little harder for me to earn the same income as the male freelancer down the street, then that’s my decision. Mine alone. That decision doesn’t affect anyone else in the world but me.

Which means I can decide.

Why Feminism Is Pissing Me Off

There have been a few blog posts and articles out there suggesting that James should have taken one for the team. That women have a responsibility to one another to keep fighting, to bust through the glass ceiling, to rip equality out of the hands of the men who are still (jeez, STILL) trying to keep it from us.

James didn’t help women, they say. He just stopped fighting.

Well, they’re right. He did. I can’t say as I see the problem with that.

The whole point of the feminist movement was that women should have the right to choose where their priorities lie. They should be able to choose to have a career, to live independently, to vote and own property and make mistakes and get famous and all the rest of it.

If they want to, though, they should also be able to choose to live exactly the way women had been expected to live for centuries – at home, taking care of the kids. They have the right to choose that life if they want to. And no one gets to tell them that they HAVE to get out there and hold down a job because women still don’t have equal pay in the workplace.

No one gets to tell a woman she has to do ANYTHING just because she’s a woman.

And that includes going by a woman’s name.

James chose to make his priority his kids, and that’s a damn fine choice. I choose to make my priority ME, and that’s because I have the extraordinary luxury to do so.

But neither of us is obliged, by virtue of our sex alone, to choose any differently.

The day we all recognize that will be a good day for women everywhere.

Let’s start today.

Post by Taylor

Taylor Lindstrom (fondly known as Tei) is a twenty-something copywriter and journalist from Boulder, CO. She’s the team’s rogue woman who wowed us until our desire for her talents exceeded our desire for a good ol’ boys club. She loves the color green, micro-point Uniball pens, and medieval weaponry.

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  1. Though my full first name is Alexandra, my parents have called me Alex since BEFORE I was born and I go by Alex. I am a feminist, and I have never told women they have to anything, including going by feminine names. I think it is sad that “James” earned so much more as a man, and that she shouldn’t have HAD to go by James, but she had that right. I’m only 15, I’ll be entering the workforce soon, and I’m going by Alex. Whether they think of it as a feminine or masculine name, hopefully, won’t matter. Maybe feminism will have succeeded by the time I work full time (which will probably be when I’m 18 or so, since I’m being discriminated by for my age when I’m not being discriminated against for my gender) so tat I can truly say “what’s in a name?” and have it hold true.

  2. I completely agree. There are still a lot of people out there that think this way and I’m quite surprised by it, but I guess it’s just how things are. I have no qualms about James doing what he wants. In fact, I thought it was awesome once I read the post over at copyblogger.

    There are no shoulds for me. James should do as he pleases and I accept that completely. Even though I don’t even know him I feel like he’s an awesome person. In the last few years I’ve learned more and more to just accept people as they are. If I don’t like them, I don’t have to keep hanging around.

    It’s much more relaxing and easier on the brain. Keep on rocking!
    .-= Henri´s last blog ..Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Job, Yet =-.

  3. I’m a self-identified feminist & I totally agree with you. And to be totally honest, I kind of think it’s unfair to say that “feminism” is pissing you off, when it’s a few bloggers. I took up for James when I mentioned something about the CopyBlogger post on Twitter, only to have a follower/friend tell me that the article disappointed her – that James should have stood up for female empowerment.

    Granted, I think she’s around the same age as me, but she’s a student who AFAIK doesn’t have a job & still lives at home, whereas I’ve had a job off and on since 16 and moved out at 18. Not due to any problem with my parents, mind you! My point is that I think I understand James’s situation better than she would. I replied with something about how “female empowerment” wouldn’t help feed her daughters. When you’ve got bills to pay and mouths to feed, you gotta do what you gotta do, period. I don’t know if that’s a concept that someone can grasp, until they’ve been to the point where they’re filling out the form for welfare or food stamps. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

    Anyways, I agree with what you’re saying, I just don’t know if I agree with how you’re saying it. Feminism has done and continues to do amazing things; anyone who says we don’t need it any more should look at rape/sexual assault statistics (or try watching a family member/close friend attempt to press charges for it. Speaking of experiences that made me absolutely infuriated…).

    Or maybe I misunderstood you? Very possible, as I already took my sleep meds and I’m on my way to bed. As this is my first comment here, I’m hoping I don’t make a total ass of myself!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Marvelous Monday! =-.

  4. Michael Martine says:

    To me, the real problem with old-school feminism was the idea that the biological differences between men and women should be ignored. It was like saying women couldn’t be women and win on their own terms. They could only “win” if they were allowed to be like men. Men are threatened by women who succeed by being female, by being women more so than by women who simply act like men. It’s all bullshit. Women win when the can be women and do what they want, without feeling like they have to behave like men.

    My ex-wife used to say that if men menstruated, menstruation would be a religion instead of the butt of jokes and object of a multi-million dollar industry. And I believe she is 100% right about that. It’s very illustrative of the forces at work here.
    .-= Michael Martine´s last blog ..Real Estate Blogs: Move Beyond Listings, or You’re Dead =-.

  5. Me piping in on this debate is probably going to piss off a lot of my feminist friends, but I’m going to do it anyway. I’ve had my fair share of discussions on the topic with both gender researchers and what I have to describe as “professional feminists” and you just put your finger right on the thing that has always irked me about them:

    Feminists put women in a cage. Or to put it differently: Feminism has become a dogmatic belief system rather than a fight for equal rights.

    Let it be perfectly clear: I think gender bias is archaic nonsense. Anyone who thinks that a person, solely based on gender, is better or worse at something than another clearly has issues. And the original feminists – the ones that fought for the right to vote, to own land and equal pay were right on the money.

    What we see today however is something all together different: Rather than talk about how men and women are equal, elements of feminism seems to be turning in on itself and trying to force women to be something they are not: gender less. Time and again I have discussions with feminists who explain to me that they are exactly like me – that there is no qualitative difference between them and me except for a few minor anatomical parts and that raised in the exact same way we would be the exact same. “Gender is a societal invention” they say and prepare to punch me in the face if I dare to disagree.

    These are the same feminists who turn on other women who game the system just like our friend James did. And it makes me sad. Not so much because they give a pioneer like James the cold shoulder (though that is upsetting in and of itself) but because they are devoting their lives to a philosophy that is self destructive.

    Here’s my take (the one that pisses people off):
    If you try to sell something to someone, you need to speak to them in a language they understand. In other words you need to make them empathise with you and your product and recognise that they too need the product. So too with womens’ right to be treated fairly. And who are the customers? Men. In other words, to achieve the goal of equal rights and salaries feminists have to make men identify with the women that are being supressed and “feel the pain” so to speak for themselves. Only when men understand that they are no better than women just because they can grow hair on their faces will they accept women as their equals. Makes sense, right?

    Problem is this type of thinking goes against two major principles in the feministic dogma: 1. Women should not “lower” themselves to men’s standard just to get their message across, and 2. Women who try to speak to men on their level are betraying their own gender in the process and are hindering the progress of feminism.

    In other words, what James did – basically pretend to be a man, prove to be not only an equal but more often than not supperior to other men in the same field (I read his stuff all the time and it is solid), and then come out with the truth – that he is in fact a she making scores of men realize that their assumption that women writers in this field are of lesser value than their male peers was terribly wrong – is a betrayal of the very principles of feminism.

    But in spite of what the feminists think, what James did is actually the best strategy for making men see that their attitudes are wrong and make changes. She made us identify with her as one of the guys only to reveal that she wasn’t. A solid sale strategy that will win many men over. But it goes against every strategy feminists have been trying to deploy. And that, in my humble oppinion, is why they’re so pissed.

    To me James is a new breed of feminists – one that understands that the only way to move the fight for equality forward is to game the system and then slap it in the face with the truth. And by making his story public James may well have created a watershed in the battle of equal rights: It’ll be morally hard for an editor to turn down or underpay a female writer because he now knows any number of his assumed male writers may in fact be women in men’s clothing.
    .-= Morten Rand-Hendriksen´s last blog ..Gorillapod review – the perfect companion for any camera? =-.

  6. this is so cool. I was wondering what the post over at copyblogger was all about.
    .-= Roschelle´s last blog ..Santa Claus – Is he or Isn’t he… =-.

  7. All I can say is … well said, Taylor!

    Like you, I’m 25 and *damn lucky*. I rent. I have no dependents. I do have a wonderful fiance who’s a full-time student, so I stuck it out in the day job a bit longer than I might otherwise have done before taking the freelancing plunge. (A year and a half on, it’s all good.)

    I can’t imagine how it must feel to have kids depending on you. And I admire anyone – man or woman – who fights for their family’s survival. I’m also aware of just how much things have changed for our generation (and, increasingly, how much my mother sacrificed for us. She’s a better writer than me, and I’d love to see her escape the “mom” role and take that further).

    James, you *are* a hero. And I pray your daughters will grow up into a world where names don’t matter and where they can be whoever the hell they want.
    .-= Ali Hale´s last blog ..You Need to See the Box Before You Can Think Outside It =-.

  8. James did what she had to do to get by and I don’t expect any woman to make a sacrifice to further our cause. The fact that she has called it out here has furthered awareness that in this day and age, us women are still discriminated against. Whether a lot, or a little, it doesn’t matter, it still happens.
    .-= Allison Reynolds´s last blog ..Settling For Less =-.

  9. If women struggle to get on an even keel with men in the offline world, how much harder is in online when we make judgements about people based on a fraction of the information? Especially in copywriting (and writing in general, as Salon pointed out earlier in the week – my husband freely concurred as a boy he would never have read Harry Potter if it had been written by “Joanne” instead of the more ambigulous J.K) The point is not about making some great feminist statement – it’s about doing what needs to be done to get the results you want. If being “James” worked – and work the hell it did – then bloody brilliant. Job done, money in the bank, food on the table, and crisis averted. I have two children and I would have done exactly the same. And I’m 34 – I don’t see myself as being part of a generation who expects to come against a brick wall, and nether do I expect my gender to not be an issue. Not that naive, sorry. It’s not anti-feminist it’s called getting on with it. Because every great marketer knows that it’s all about telling a story in the voice of a character your audience can relate to…and this just shows me why I would go running over hot coals to work with James, any day of the year.
    .-= Natalie The Tiny Soprano´s last blog ..Baby and Tomatoes =-.

  10. Mary E. Ulrich says:

    Isn’t this a great way to start the morning? Love, love, love the thoughtful discussion.

    Thanks Taylor
    How dare anyone say, “James didn’t help women…He just stopped fighting.”

    I would argue that James was “fighting” every minute of every day. That being a terrific parent and provider was ‘fighting.” Trying to figure out the business logistics of using only email… was “fighting.” Trying to move beyond the discrimination and not just take the welfare check and give up–was “fighting.” Look at the lessons he has taught each of us, including his daughters.

    Making change is a long process. We stand on the shoulders of our ancesters. Sure we have a hard road ahead, but James feel proud because you have added to the progress and are allowing Taylor, Alex, Roschelle, Michelle, Ali and others to move forward.

  11. As my mother used to say, “Honey, you have no idea what it was like when …”

    Judging from the ages of the respondents here, self-proclaimed and by photo, I’m probably the old broad here. No matter. What feminism was and still remains at its core is the belief that all of us should be judged fairly on our abilities and to have a banquet of choices available to us, no matter the gender.

    What James’ experiment has shown us is how far we all have to go.

    When I was nearly 13 and preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, my teacher – a wonderful retired old Orthodox rabbi who shlepped in from Brooklyn to teach Hebrew to unruly suburban kids – told me he thought I had the makings of a great scholar. I beamed. This was indeed high praise. “Too bad you’re a girl.” he added sadly. “What a waste.” was what I heard.

    I knew he meant it as a compliment. He saw potential that would disappear in a sea of dishes and diapers. He saw my energies being poured into a family rather than study. He couldn’t imagine I’d have a choice or that I could do both. Be a scholar and a mother? Who could imagine it?

    Gloria Steinem used to talk about a ‘click’ moment. That was one of my mine.

    James’ click moment was realizing he didn’t have to take the bullshit and smaller fees playing “Victor/Victoria” online. So he didn’t.

    The fact that James played the gender card to her own advantage to put food on the table is fine. The fact she had to do it at all stinks and shows how far we still have to go.

    It was said we are living in a post-feminist age. Hah. You can all see what a big fat load of crap that is. Don’t drink the kool-aid, girls. Be smart.
    .-= Roberta Rosenberg´s last blog ..How to Write a Spam Comment: The 30-Second Recipe =-.

  12. From the male perspective: What James has recounted has done more, in my mind, to underscore the existence of ongoing cultural bias than any of the gender-denying posturing (underscored masterfully by Morten above) that I’ve seen over the decades. I applaud James for giving us all a constructive and concrete opportunity to examine ourselves and think this through better.

  13. Hi Taylor – I had no idea that younger women had narrowed the salary gap so significantly. I guess it’s because your generation were brought up not to accept discrimination.

    I am 40 and the sad thing is, it’s not just men my age who are sexist – a lot of women are too, which makes it doubly hard. For example, I called a guy who’d expressed an interest in working for us, to see if he wanted to come for an interview.

    His wife answered the phone and she said there was no way he was coming to work for a woman. When he’d asked about a job, he’d assumed the business was owned by a man.

    A few years ago, I was forced to sell a franchise which I had built successfully, simply because I was no longer in partnership with my ex.

    When they were trying to pressurise me into selling, they actually told me that there was no way they would have taken on a single woman with two kids.

    No – I didn’t give in easily – I have a big mouth and I’m not afraid to use it. But eventually – fighting against assholes who will do anything to get rid of you gets really tiring – especially when you’re trying to run a business.

    So I applaud what James did. If I could find a way to be treated equally with no hassles, I would do the same.

  14. Like that old Virginia Slims commercial … We women have come a long way, baby, and yet … not nearly far enough. I’ve never considered myself a “feminist” in that hard-core, narrow-view, don’t-let-a-man-hold-the-door-open kind of way, but that’s mostly because in my heart I don’t think that should be necessary. We’re all just people trying to make it through the day, and if my arms are full, I appreciate someone holding the door … and am just as happy to open the door for a man with his arms full. The fact that we haven’t achieved real equality, though? So sad.
    .-= –Deb´s last blog ..I Am Woman, Hear Me Blog =-.

  15. I think anyone that jumps down James’ throat about not standing up for womens’ rights hasn’t had to think about their kids going hungry.

    There’s an animal right to protect your own, even if it means putting of higher causes for the time being.
    .-= Dan Cosgrove´s last blog ..How to Lose Friends And Alienate Students =-.

  16. I’m not sure I actually want to leave a response to this, but pursuaded myself that I should to note how utterly pointless this observation SHOULD be; but unfortunately isn’t. Despite being totally anti-feminist, due to reasons already posted, that it’s a movement to dissasocciate women from men rather than looking for true equality in society. (Chauvanism falls into exactly the same camp as feminism as I see it).

    Equality is one thing, but we can never forget that there are inherant physical and psychological differences between the sexes. I don’t think they should be portrayed as negatives. The strengths and weaknesses that are associated to gender can only be bridged with true unity. Theoretically it should offer only strength over any weakness’ . I know it’s a utopian, idealistic viewpoint but surely we as a race of human beings should be striving towards this over anything else?

    On James’ revelation, I’m quite sad that you had to do that. I completely understand why you did. It saddened me as it unfortunately made sense for you to follow that path. Either way you’re still the Men with Pens, keep on writing, I couldn’t care what you look like, your style is excellent! 🙂
    .-= David´s last blog ..Are you ready for Virtualisation? =-.

  17. Tei,


    I’m of the same generation as James, and I must say looking at you so clear-eyed at 25 makes me quite hopeful that change will one day come. (And, y’know, a little worried that it won’t and you just don’t know that yet, but thank goodness for your strong foundation. Believing things are different can make it so.)

    You can’t take one for the team unless the team is paying your salary. And even then you have to think about it hard.

    Dave Barry’s famous observation seems about right here:

    If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.

    Ah, and on names: my parents named me a good, strong, little-known Irish boy’s name. Well-educated Irishfolk from Boston that they were. The name means “warrior” and was meant to give me a distinct Gaelic strength that would last a lifetime.

    How time changes… sorry to all the others who share it with me for pointing it out, but now one might as well just write “bimbo” on your resume. 🙂 I could use a good pen name.


    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Inspiration Points: I Do Not Choose To Be a Common Man =-.

  18. Certainly, I agree that James has the right to make the decisions she feels are best for her and her family. But you analogy does make me sad. If everyone just did what they had to and swallowed whatever injustice came their way, then we wouldn’t progress as a society in the areas of civil rights, women’s rights or worker’s rights. Sometimes it takes a courageous person who is willing to take a stand despite the risk to effect meaningful change.

    But I do agree that not everyone can be that person, and that should be ok.
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..But the chaos is all so beautiful… =-.

  19. I’m of James’ generation, and let me tell you, sexism is alive and well for us. I just finished taking bids on a new roof, and the *first* question one of the companies asked me was, “Can your husband be there when we’re doing the work?” Sigh. I’d like to think that my two daughters won’t have to put up with this crap–the salary data that Taylor mentioned are very encouraging in that regard.

    As for James, my own androgynous name has come in very handy a time or two. When you’re a parent, you do what you need to do to put food on the table and get by. Sad, the form that James’ took, but them’s the breaks.

  20. Well said Taylor the Wise 🙂

  21. I don’t really know what to add here. I can honestly say that I’ve been turning James’ revelation over and over in my head the last couple days, swinging from sadness to anger to flat out “WTF?” I’m lucky to be closer to Taylor’s age, and I’m happy to see how much the wage gap has decreased. It gives me hope for my 3 daughters, who I did not have the foresight to give androgynous names to.

    I guess my main gripe with feminism (and I have a few) is that many feminists assume that there is only one way to be a feminist, one way to be a “successful” woman. If we’re fighting for freedom, isn’t the ultimate freedom that of being able to define for ourselves what “success” really is? If I’m living the way some of the most vocal feminists say I should be, then isn’t that just one more way of giving up my power to someone else? I consider myself a feminist, but often wish there was another word for it.
    .-= Colleen´s last blog ..2010 Perennial Plant of the Year =-.

  22. Oy- what a painful situation. I am so 100% completely and totally in support of whatever choices James wants to make. Like you wrote, it’s an issue of sovereignty- people get to choose how to live their lives. And women, unfortunately, have gotten the short end of the autonomy stick, as well as many other things.

    I’m honest-to-God curious how much of this is a marketing issue. When you get hired in a job, you don’t have a lot of negotiating room for your salary. But when you run a business, marketing and sales determines your pricing.

    I totally get it that James experience revealed that it was much easier to get paid more as a man for the same work. And I’m just curious if marketing, and choosing to present as a different gender is marketing, could make up that gap.


    And for me, it’s just a wondering with my own clients. It’s not a questioning of what James should or shouldn’t do. I’m just really curious what different options are available to self-employed women to make sure they are getting paid what they could.

  23. Taylor, I agree with you 100% and I think “James” knew what she was doing–I just love the Men W/ Pens title even more now. I also love that she came out as a woman as well–as it makes the point so well with the surprise factor. Thanks to you both. Rock on!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..When I Met My Muse =-.

  24. Bettina de Perez says:

    James – your blog – and the obvious passion you’ve ignited in your readers, makes my case that you have a best-seller on your hands. Send your original post, and the articulate and perceptive posts received in response to it, as your book proposal. I see the blockbuster book on the stands, the movie-rights sold, and the film going global.

  25. Seems this story is a lot more controversial than I thought it would be at first. Kudos to you Taylor for standing up and defending James’ decision.

    I think the problem with any “-ism” is that pretty soon the movement develops its own set of rules, which members are expected to follow “just because.” If you don’t follow the rules, you’re out of the group – even if the rules don’t fit with the group’s original mission.

    James, you keep on doing what you need to do. Don’t give up.
    .-= Jeffrey Tang´s last blog ..“For Every Trend…” =-.

  26. Tei, I think this is a great post. You’re right here beside me in all this, you’re a MwP team member, you’re a female copywriter, and seeing what you think about the situation and implications is very interesting, especially considering the differences between us. Age, lifestyle, goals, theories…

    Thank you for presenting another side to the situation and showing it’s more complex than we all realize.

  27. “Let’s say your boss is a jackass who hates you. Every day he tries to humiliate you in some way that you can’t quite take to the HR department, but that makes you feel like crap.”

    I recently had a “boss” like that. He said he wanted person of “A description”, which I was. Really, he wanted a person with “B description” which involved having a penis and three times my experience. My second day I wanted to be removed from the job. Being crapped on and “figuratively” slapped around doesn’t make for a productive employee.

  28. From my point of view I see a few common reactions – fortunately #3 (the sane one) seems to be the most prevalent!

    1. Poor victim James! The world is a horrible place for all women and let’s all celebrate the cult of victimhood. (extreme #1)

    2. The bitch has killed feminism forever! And let’s burn her at the stake for not taking on the woes of the glass ceiling. (extreme #2)

    3. James made a choice to advance the business and took a risk and is now dealing with the fallout / For good or for worse, she did was she felt she needed to for herself and for her family.

    I know that as “Alex” it often helped in the world of Professional Organizing to be seen initially as a woman, because it’s a woman-dominated profession, but it also made me sad because all too often my opinions (equal to that of many colleagues) were valued more *because* I was a man, often by other women, even within the field!
    .-= Alex Fayle ¡ Someday Syndrome´s last blog ..Course Changes on the Someday Journey: Reorienting Goals =-.

  29. @Taylor

    I’m still pretty shocked – and amazed – by the entire situation. I’m astounded, yet disappointed. I mean, I think it was totally clever BUT, I also feel like my bubble has been busted and now have to accept that James is actually a woman. I don’t know… It’s just all weird to me right now. I suppose as the shock wears off, it’ll be easier to adjust to. I’m not angry, just really blown away.

    Also, your mom sounds awesome!!!! Kudos to her!!

    And I skimmed through the comments… Morten said: “It’ll be morally hard for an editor to turn down or underpay a female writer because he now knows any number of his assumed male writers may in fact be women in men’s clothing.”

    I hadn’t even thought of that! Wow. Imagine if female writers get paid more now!! If that really happens, I wonder how everyone’s opinions about this whole thing will change.

    This is definitely an interesting story to follow, that’s for sure. 😀
    .-= Michele | aka Raw Juice Girl´s last blog ..Update on Eli’s Health – a Holiday of Hope! =-.

  30. isn’t the best “win” when we can infiltrate the (perceived) enemy and act and behave just like them (to show them that we are basically the same, if not a little more clever because we were able to stunningly pull off the impression of being like them without them ever suspecting it?)

    this brings to mind for me the on-going challenge in the GLBT community with marriage equality. we’re told to infiltrate, but not in a non-violent way. just show up and be yourself and let them see we have kids, family, milk to buy from the store and watch Dexter every Sunday night, just like them.

    the movie, Victor Victoria also.

    very smart. appeal to people before their preconceived notions kick in. i personally love that you came out, that you’re willing to talk about it… stuff like this is a game changer.

    maybe you have already become that powerful woman.

    a great movie would be how a woman finally gets elected as president, pretending to be a man.
    .-= mynde´s last blog ..Web Presence Essentials =-.

  31. Oh, geez, guys. I’m not even AWAKE yet.

    Alex – I hope that’s so. 15 and aware is a good place to be.

    Michelle – I suppose the generalization of “feminist” is as bad as the one of “women”. I really just meant all the feminist oriented brouhaha we were seeing. There’s real feminism, which is simply standing up for women’s equality, and then there’s crazed femiNazism, in which if you don’t spend every moment of every day fighting your heart out for the cause, you don’t deserve to tote around a uterus. My ire is directed more at the latter camp.

    Michael – I think you’re absolutely right there! It bothers me that you can’t say that certain traits are typically female and others are typically masculine, just as you can say things like introvert and extrovert. I think we should be able to say that this man has certain valuable female traits that would help him in a particular job, and vice versa – that a woman holds typically male traits that will help her succeed elsewhere. Especially when the scientific data is there to prove that there are similarities along gender lines. They’re not always true, but they are enough of the time to be able to state the bias. We’re all equals, yes. But we’re definitely not all the same.

    Morten – I think you may have hit it right on the money. Considering the situation, James wasn’t going to do a lot of good insisting that clients hire him just to prove he has was good as a man. The clients often weren’t even aware of their bias! It’s not like they looked at his proposals and said “Eh, chuck out the one from the woman, keep the one from the dude.” They just had a subconscious belief that women would be inferior. You can’t come at that problem head-on. You have to sneak up on it.

    Roschelle – lol, welcome to the madness!

    Ali – Power on, my young friend. I will get me one of those fiance fellows one day. They seem like good times.

    Roberta – You keep coming on here and reminding us we don’t even KNOW, Roberta. It’s easy to forget. I know I do. I had a lousy wake-up call in college when it came to race and religion relations. Having grown up in the Bay Area, I’d always seen those issues just like gender – we were all really different, but we were all equals. I didn’t really get that the fight wasn’t over until I met people in college who’d grown up in other environments and had VERY different views.

    Cath – It’s actually partially because older women (like, on the far end of the scale, just before retirement) are still getting paid their original wages, more or less, from when they entered the workforce. The theory is as those women die off (sorry to be so blunt) the pay scale will go up overall. It’s also because this generation of MEN has a much lesser bias. They may still have it subconsciously, as James has proven, but they don’t have the same “you’re a woman, you can’t have this job” prejudice. Which means that while men are still doing the hiring, when they’re actually face to face with a qualified, charismatic candidate who just happens to be female, they’re probably going to hire her. Not so twenty years ago, thirty, forty.

    But yeah, gotta hate when women actively work against us. That’s a bad one.

    Dan – Most of them, it would seem, haven’t. Perfunctory glances at these guys’ profiles suggests they’re more or less in my boat – pretty young, no dependents, not a lot financial responsibilities like mortgages. It’s really easy to say everyone should sacrifice everything for the cause if you have nothing – and everyone else has lots.

    David – That’s well put. See my comment above on feminism I hate and love.

    Kelly – I love the Dave Barry quote. He’s a clever man in his weird, booger-oriented way. Also, “Kelly” means “warrior”? I think I’m discovering that every single Irish name means “warrior” somehow. I swear this is about the sixth one. Except for Colleen, which I’m pretty sure just means “girl”. But someone’s going to come in here and tell me it means “warrior girl”. Oh, the fightin’ Irish. Your whisky is delicious and your names are to be reckoned with.

    Shannon – I think you’re absolutely right. We do need those people, and I hope to be one of them. I was just making the point that no one should DEMAND that I be one of them, just because I’m a woman. But the people who have given up everything for the cause in years before? Highest respect. Highest.

    Pat – Oh, I know. I’ve had this problem less and less. Usually not even ill-intended. The very nice, helpful, retired construction workers who work at the local hardware store here are always popping up to ask a single gal if she needs help. If I stand within six feet of a male customer, they think I’m covered. And they’re such sweethearts! They only want to help! It’s not their fault that their generation taught them women don’t know anything about tools!

    Colleen – Yeah, me too. And hey, I was just talking about your name a few comments back. That’s a little creepy.

    Mark – Woo, I’d have to defer to James on that one. I have no idea. Marketing is not my area of expertise.

  32. My wife graduated with a degree in automotive technology in 2004. After getting a job with a company who worked on the fleet vehicles for the telephone company for a month, we realized how far our society still has to go in regards to gender equality. The owner (and only other employee of the company) was intimidated that my wife knew more about modern cars, and terminated her.

    The termination alone was enough to boil my blood, but when i found out that he’d gone to every dealership and automotive shop in the area and blackballed her so that she couldn’t get a job in the field here i became enraged. She ended up having to take a desk job with an insurance company, and has worked there happily for the past few years, recently being moved up on the corporate ladder (just so you know there is a happy middle to the story, and she talked me down from my anger so i didnt’ do anything stupid).

    i’m about the same age as James, and there is no reason that our generation should see women as unworthy of receiving the same wages as males because far too many of us were raised by single mothers, who worked and still performed their parenting duties. The issue to me is that the older generation are still the ones in control of most positions of leadership, and their antiquated views on the gender dynamic are still driving these problems.

    There is no need to bang your head against a wall when you can go around or climb over that obstacle. For that reason, using an alias that deflects those obstacles should be applauded, not condemned. The advice given here, and on other blogs in guest posts by James (StoryFix is where i was introduced to James) have been filled with great information for those of us just getting our feet wet in the writing profession, and gender makes absolutely no difference in the quality of that advice.

    i’m sorry that vindictive people decided to betray your secret, and i hope that this time around the fact that you have two X chromosomes in no way affects your ability to take care of your family.

  33. Excellent perspective on the whole issue, and as I said on Copyblogger I totally support James’ decision to provide for her family, no matter what.

    However, I do have some food for thought: What about the transgendered/cross-dressing members of society? How do they present themselves online? If we take a stand one way or the other with James’ situation (she should’ve acted as a woman/she should’ve continued on as a man) what does that say about how people who don’t associate naturally with their biological sex should act? Should they choose ambiguous names, present themselves as their biological sex, or as the sex they feel most comfortable with?

    What does that say about us, if we aren’t comfortable with that idea at all? If it makes a difference in web copy and design whether the person behind the website wears suits or dresses, or both?

    .-= Kimberlee Ferrell´s last blog ..Pushing Past Your Writing Anxiety =-.

  34. To be honest, I used to let the whole gender issue really rile me up. But I’ve decided to make peace with it, most likely because I chose to take myself out of the situation where it really mattered.

    When I was applying for internships in my Software Engineering days (only about 3 years ago) I got a lot of interviews in the first round. A few girlfriends and I were discussing interviews, when a male professor walked by and said that we were likely getting a lot of interviews to fill the “female quota”.

    That just rubbed the wrong way, for a number of reasons. First, he had never looked at any of our resumes and had no clue what we were capable of. Second, we did end up doing well in the interviews and getting hired. Whether that was because of the “female quota” or not, who knows. My boyfriend actually used to say that women had the advantage in interviews, because we have more personable talkative natures & listening skills. (As opposed to other male computer geeks, in this case.)

    Okay way off course.. James did the right thing! Taylor did the right thing! We all do the right thing for us, because we couldn’t do it any other way. Stop fighting what is and make the best of your own situation already. 🙂
    .-= Nathalie Lussier´s last blog ..Raw Christmas Dessert Recipe: Meet The Raw Snowman =-.

  35. What I gleaned from this post is because you are younger, you think you get more respect.

    It may be true, but I hate that. I shudder to think of your reaction if James was 58.

    I also absolutely despise it when ONE person claims to speak for a whole friggin’ generation. What nerve.

    You need to stick close to James and observe. You have a lot to learn.

  36. @Tei,

    “Colleen” totally means “warrior girl.” At least, it does the way I wear it 😉
    .-= Colleen´s last blog ..2010 Perennial Plant of the Year =-.

  37. Huh. This story is confusing to me on many levels.

    Not the “I can buy food if I call myself James so I’ll call myself James” part – that’s about the only thing I DO get.

    But the “You’re betraying all women by using some male privilege” responses? The “I can sorta get why you posed as a guy but to pose as such a scumbag?”

    I’m a feminist. No ifs, no buts. And I have a pretty sensitive scumbag radar.

    James always struck me as a confident, open-minded guy with a healthy dose of self-mockery, playing off the stereotypical man.

    Now it turns out James is a woman, she strikes me as a confident, open-minded gal with a healthy dose of self-mockery, playing off the sterotypical man.

    Not a ‘ping’ from the scumbag radar.

    So, rock on James!

  38. Very well said, Taylor.

    Like you, I am single, with no dependents. I can’t imagine what James had to go through because our situations are so different. I am in his age bracket though and can appreciate the hardships and tough decisions he made to get to be where he is today. It’s certainly not easy, by any means. Especially a single mother who has children to provide for.

    It never even entered my head that I cannot compete with men because of my gender. Although I recognize the inequalities within the corporate world, I stand up and fight for what I think is fair for me as a woman. I would never lessen anyone else’s decision to “give in”, though.

    Great discussions on this important topic!


  39. Love it, Tei! I’m in a similar situation as you (25, single, renting). The only mouth I have to feed is my cat. I can’t even imagine having two kids depending on me.

    One of the things that bothers me — and has bothered me for the past two years, as I’ve gotten more involved in business — is this mentality that some women have. It seems they think that to build themselves up as women in business, they have to tear men down. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard “Oh, men would never come up with an idea like this! We can do so much that they can’t!” etc. etc.

    That makes me angry, because this whole thing isn’t about one gender being better than another. It’s about equality and choice. Yes, women come up with ideas that men wouldn’t, but men will come up with ideas that we wouldn’t. There are innate differences, strengths and weaknesses we both have, that balance each other when we work together.

    /end rant

    @Morten – Rock on. I totally agree. The comments on Copyblogger were astounding, as many people (men and women!) admitted that they were coming face to face with prejudices they didn’t know they had. (I was one of them.) It was a huge step.

  40. On the other hand, I just remembered something that may be a cause for hope:

    (From the New York Times Metropolitan Diary; a column for readers’ stories, poems, and anecdotes of life in the big, bad city):

    ” Out for a walk with a 9-year-old companion, I passed a bus placarded with posters for Diana Ross’s new album. As we crossed 79th Street, my young friend asked, ”So, who’s Diana Ross?”

    I replied, ”She’s one of the original Supremes.”

    ”Cool!” my friend exclaimed. ”Even before Sandra Day O’Connor?” Quite possibly the most glorious and hopeful mistake this child has ever made. HELEN ZELON ”
    .-= Jodi Kaplan´s last blog ..How to Turn Your Clients Into Raving Fans =-.

  41. A.M. – Yeah, it’s weird how people set up their minds to expect a certain person. They lay out all the adjectives but if you don’t fit the image for whatever reason, they still don’t like you. This has been proven for unattractive people, too. If he got a guy with all of your qualifications, but that guy was extremely unattractive, he’d probably be displeased with that guy too.

    Alex – I think you’re absolutely right. The two extremes are neither of them helpful. And yes, men’s advice is often considered more valuable than women’s. No idea why, especially since you’re in a field that’s evidently considered more “woman”‘s territory!

    Michele – I know the feeling. I hope you’re able to come on back and hang with us even though it’s weird. Sorry about that. 🙂

    Mynde – This is an excellent point, and one that I’m not sure many people are seeing here. Simply yelling “I’m just as good” over and over isn’t likely to make anyone change their mind – but getting tricked into accepting a woman’s work as a man’s and only then discovering the real origin, well, that’s likely to make you think. “Well, I DID really like it when I thought it was a male author. I still really like it. Maybe a woman CAN write, after all. Huh. I’ll have to think about that.” I’m not saying it would change anyone’s mind right away, but at least they’d have to consider their prejudice then.

    Adam – I know a few stories of similar rage-worthiness with women in certain fields. What’s even worse is that even if your manager isn’t a prejudiced person, he can’t change the customer’s perception – and he might have to make a choice for the business that he’s completely opposed to morally. It’s a terrible situation.

    Kimberlee – I’ve been considering that too. Would anyone be offended if James had just been a cross-dresser? Gone into work every day dressed like a guy? I have no idea, but it’s interesting to think that some of the anger may simply be because he was an online personality, and not an in-person one.

    Nathalie – I really, really hate affirmative action for this reason, and this reason alone. While I get that sometimes you have to force prejudiced people to accept minorities into their workforce, and that this can sometimes have really good results, so often it means that those same minorities (we’re talking both women and minority races, here) get no respect in their job at all. “Oh, they’re not here because they’re good. They’re here because we had a quota to fill.” That just makes the stereotype that we can’t do our job without a man’s help that much worse.

    GoingLikeSixty – Hm. I’m not even sure where to start with this one. I do, in fact, think that younger women get more respect in their workplaces than older women do. The data backs me up on that one, as well as my own experiences. I don’t think that’s GOOD, I just think that’s the current environment and when making workplace decisions, one’s age is something one considers. I’m also not sure what you mean by “my reaction if James was 58”. I think James is awesome, no matter the age. I was just pointing out that society has determined a much, much lower pay rate for older women than younger, and that meant that James had a much bigger wage discrepancy to consider when deciding whether or not to live under the female stigma.

    “I also absolutely despise it when ONE person claims to speak for a whole friggin’ generation. What nerve.” – I’m getting this from a self-professed “Boomer Blogger”? We speak from our experiences, and yeah, we are aware of our collective generational issues. I’m not claiming to “speak” for my generation. I’m saying my generation has different issues to contend with than James’. That’s a fact, not an opinion. If I came out here and said my opinion was the opinion of all of my generation, then I’d understand your statement. As it is, I think it’s unmerited.

    “You need to stick close to James and observe. You have a lot to learn.” Well, that is in fact why I’m here, working with Men with Pens. To learn from James’ experience. And in case you missed the point of the post, which it seems you have, it’s about sticking by James.

    Maartje – That happens a fair amount, actually. Even before the outing, there were people who thought James was a misogynist. Which was kind of amusing, when you think about it.

    Karen – Thanks for the support, Karen. It’s nice to get the nod from someone who made the decision to work as I do, but who has dealt with the difficulties of James’ generation. We’re all in this boat together.

    Michelle – I think you’re very right. And I actually really hate the idea that “men” and “women” should be lumped in together. I tend to chafe at it. There are definitely male and female traits, but the idea that me and a bunch of smart, talented girlfriends might not be CAPABLE of coming up with the same idea as “men” – who are these men? Are they as smart as we are? Are they in the same field? Do they, in short, know jack diddly? I’m not willing to say I can’t come up with something that a man could until I know who this fella is.

    Jodi – Aw, that’s a great anecdote. I like that. Nine year olds will show us the way.
    .-= Tei – Men with Pens´s last blog ..Taylor’s a Feminist – But So Is James =-.

  42. @Tei –

    Would anyone be offended if James had just been a cross-dresser? Gone into work every day dressed like a guy?

    Um… but I do, sort of.

    I’m frequently told by people that my attire isn’t appropriate – new sneakers, jeans, a man’s shirt, a baseball cap – for a woman.

    I’m frequently asked when I’ll grow my hair out. When I’ll start showing some leg! Why I don’t buy something “pretty”.

    Because I’m comfortable in my goddamned sweats and baseball cap. Because I feel good in them. Because I feel like I’m ME in them.

    The thing is, it makes other people uncomfortable because THEIR definition of what a woman should wear, do and show off in life isn’t the same as mine.

    That, my friends, is sad.

  43. Surely the name Taylor has helped you? And the statistics say that being young helps you too. But that seems odd to me in the virtual world. All things seem so much more equal there.

    James talked about being treated poorly when starting out as a writer online. I have to say that never happened to me once. I have always marveled at how gracious, kind and thoughtful my clients are. Is this an indication that virtual equality is almost here?

    I always believed I could achieve anything, woman or not. Maybe it’s not that I just need to be patient and continue building my portfolio and networking… Maybe I should try on a mustache… Would Jesse make more than than Jessica for the same work?
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Quality Content for your Website =-.

  44. Interesting topic!

    Call me naive, but I have to say that I never associated my struggles to get a fair rate with gender discrimination. I just took it for granted that such struggles were part of the business landscape and faced by all freelancers. In retrospect, I wonder…

    Now, I have faced blatant face-to-face discrimination in face-to-face interviews and even one case of workplace sexual harrassment in the offline world. But, those were so obvious that even I couldn’t miss them…

  45. No dice. James didn’t just stop fighting – she actively became the thing that women are fighting against. And no, I don’t mean a man. I mean that, from what this article says (and it has links to back up its points), she became an active sexist:


    I fail to see why this was necessary, or a choice worthy of respect. Just taking a male pen name is something I could not blame her for. I can certainly understand her need to support her family, and in fact, the act is potentially revealing and has the power to make a feminist point. Her participation in blatant sexist behavior, on the other hand . . . is a poor choice from anyone, regardless of gender, but is much worse coming from someone who had suffered under sexist attitudes herself.

    When this story broke, my reaction was disgust at society, and gratitude at James for speaking up. Well, forget that.

  46. I’ve been watching this story unfold with growing interest. I’ve been aware of Men with Pens for a while, but what finally got me over here was James’ story on Copyblogger, because it resonated. I’ve run into the same problems as James, and considered bringing my significant other into a previous solo web design business so I could use his name to get a foot in the door.

    Mark Silver got to the core of it: sovereignty. It’s what women have been fighting for for decades, and the fight is clearly far from over. It’s what James exercised when she chose to use a pseudonym. It’s what she exercised when she chose the best way to take care of her kids.

    Ironically, it also seems to be what some self-proclaimed feminists are offended by.

    I was in art school in the mid-80’s when I first heard the words “the personal is political.” I’m profoundly reminded of those words now.

    It’s tragic our society is still in a place where someone’s gender – or ethnicity, or age – is used to pass judgement. When we do that, we limit not only their potential, but our own. We make ourselves small.

    Congratulations on your success, James. May it continue for a long time.
    .-= Stacey Cornelius´s last blog ..A little Christmas shopping insight =-.

  47. Easy Steps to Success says:

    Good or bad, it’s a fact of life that packaging is important. The question (and danger) is always how far one is willing to take this sort of thing?

    If you are strong enough to know where to draw the line, great! If not, it’s a process that can eat you and your family up alive. On the one hand, it’s survival. But then at some point you have to keep it up, ironically, because of success or else risk some serious fallout. It’s a common problem not limited merely to the issue of using a pen name. Tiger Woods publicly proclaiming his commitment to wife and family first before his secret life broke loose is what’s got everybody so mad at him. He didn’t need to go that far. But maybe he did to keep his sponsors happy because his huge popularity was based not merely on his golf skills but also on his wholesome image. Homosexuals who come out of the closet very late in life are another example (E.g. Meredith Baxter, who played the mom on 70s hit show Family Ties, just came out this year and she’s 62!)

    As a writer trying to establish my style and how I want to break into the business I struggle with this very issue. I want to write literary fiction but I’ll never make any money at it because frankly that genre doesn’t make anybody rich anymore (if it ever did because what we now think of as literary fiction was actually mainstream fiction back in the day). So I’m opting for mainstream fiction till I make enough money to write whatever I want (sort of how everybody transitions from pop music, movies, books and then to more artsy stuff later on in life). But, then, success is the artists own enemy. Why? Because fans hate you when you change.
    .-= Easy Steps to Success´s last blog ..Rich Dad’s Prophecy – Part 10 =-.

  48. Jessica – Man, I hope so. Of course, the clients he got weren’t so much the issue as the clients he didn’t get – and of course you never know if someone’s reasons for not hiring you have to do with your qualifications or any other factor. That said, James has told me repeatedly he really wouldn’t recommend this route for other women. Let’s not all start changing our names here!

    Laura – Many of those struggles ARE par for the course. James mentioned in his essay that he had to get past that initial hump too. He had to learn how to market better and so forth. It was after he’d found a strategy that worked – but wasn’t working as well for his female name as his male one – that he realized there was another problem here.

    Alex – I respectfully disagree. I’ve read the article and I disagree as well with the perceived “chauvinism” in their points. The redesign of the website is the third design this site has ever had, and it was an experiment to target a more go-getting business base. I fail to see why a smoking bullet should be sexist. They cite using pictures of naked women – those were to promote a fantasy-oriented role-playing game, and if you would be so kind as to find me any website featuring fantasy art in which 99% of the women don’t have their breasts on full display, I’d be much obliged. Incidentally, it didn’t seem to stop the female role-players from coming out in force. At launch, the women far outnumbered the men.

    As for the lovely point that James once “bashed” mommy bloggers for discriminating against a male in their midst – um, that is rather the definition of sexism, isn’t it? I don’t really see how it’s chauvinistic to say that no gender should discriminate against the other simply because they ARE that gender. Women shouldn’t do it to men. Men shouldn’t do it to women. How is that chauvinistic?

    Stacey – That’s well said, Stacey. I can’t think of much to add but I was struck by your wording and didn’t want to just pass you by. 🙂

    Easy Steps – This is a VERY good point, and I’m pretty sure James would agree with you. He’s been a little appalled at all the women who want to try having a male name now. He hated keeping it up. He never expected to have to keep up an entire persona on the blog – he started using it just as a name on the bottom of his emails to clients. Then the popularity of Men with Pens kicked in and suddenly he had to be not just the name, but the man behind the name. The man behind the name is the exact same person, of course, but we’re talking about using the right pronouns and such, modifying every story slightly so that he’s the “father” of his kids, for example. It’s a whole different ballgame.
    .-= Tei – Men with Pens´s last blog ..Taylor’s a Feminist – But So Is James =-.

  49. You’re making up feminist “dogma” that doesn’t exist. Stop blaming feminism for individual people’s rather ignorant assumptions.

    As far as using a male pseudonym being new–women have ALWAYS written under male names.

    Whether it is Charlotte Brontë writing as Currer Bell in the 1800s, Alice Bradley Sheldon writing under the name James Tiptree Jr. in the 1960s and 1970s, or a HUGE number of women who today write under their initials (including me) there idea that this is something new is at best silly. Heck, I know people who STILL haven’t really noticed that PD James is a woman.

    Frankly, this is a big non-issue. So what?

  50. Easy Steps to Success says:

    And what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code fame started his writing career by using the pen name “Danielle Brown” when he wrote 187 Men to Avoid: A Guide for the Romantically Frustrated Woman. The book’s author profile states: “Danielle Brown currently lives in New England: teaching school, writing books, and avoiding men.” But the copyright was attributed to Dan Brown.
    .-= Easy Steps to Success´s last blog ..Rich Dad’s Prophecy – Part 10 =-.

  51. Taylor, you say anyone would work for a jackass boss for twice the pay. Well you’re wrong. That’s what women do. Women will also work for 79% of what they are worth. In both cases, a man will tell the boss to f*** off and go find another boss. You can get the kid a pair of snow boots at Good Will for a couple bucks, but you can’t get your dignity back by continuing to work for someone who treats you or pays you like crap. That’s why women make less than men, they’ll trade their dignity for security. And maybe that’s the right choice for them. It’s certainly their right to decide.

  52. The author claims that being a woman put her at a huge disadvantage in the writing business, despite the fact that women utterly dominate mid-level writing positions across corporate America. She offers up a sob story about going on welfare and coming up with a number of alternate personas to get work. According to this woman, portraying herself as a man did the trick and got her better jobs.

    One thing I’d like to know is whether she claimed she was a man when she applied for welfare and small business loans. Somehow, I don’t think so.

    She took to calling herself “James Chartrand,” and founded “Men With Pens,” a masculine-themed site, banking on masculinity to sell herself. Now Ms. “Chartrand” is riding high, portraying her success as some kind of feminist coup.

    Women have tremendous advantages these days. Not only do they dominate university enrollment, they are given preference in business loans as well. Everywhere they turn they are being given unfair advantages, so it’s really no wonder that some people might prefer to hire a man in the same business. After all, if a man established himself, it’s pretty obvious he did it on talent, rather than loads of undeserved help. But that means nothing now — women can simply take advantage of all the programs geared to help them and then claim to be men. So simple, so unfair.

  53. I’m glad to see that people are stepping up in support of James and her actions. It’s about time sexism in the web industry got scrutinized and it looks like the news media is picking up on this. Maybe we’ll finally see a tide change in how women are treated in our line of work!
    .-= Morten Rand-Hendriksen´s last blog ..Does feminism have a place in the web design world? =-.

  54. @AC – Thanks for your opinions, but honestly, if you’re going to put them forth, it’d be really nice if you actually read my statement and checked your facts. Since you didn’t seem to be able to do that on your own, allow me to help you out with that:

    1. You wrote, “The author claims that being a woman put her at a huge disadvantage in the writing business.”

    Please point me to where I made that claim, because I’m pretty sure I haven’t anywhere said that being a woman put me at a huge disadvantage. What I have stated over the past few days is that the treatment between using a male name and a female name was remarkably different. And yes, better while using ‘James’.

    2. You wrote, “She offers up a sob story about going on welfare and coming up with a number of alternate personas to get work.”

    Ah, yes – I recall you wrote this and other very incorrect facts somewhere on the web. I chuckled then and I’m doing the same now, because I’ve never been on welfare in my life. I have filled out an application, which I didn’t (thankfully) have to send in. That’s not a sob story – that’s a success story.

    I’ve also never claimed to having come up with a number of alternate personas. I have, in fact, never created a persona, but simply took myself and gave myself one single different name for business purposes.

    3. You wrote, “One thing I’d like to know is whether she claimed she was a man when she applied for welfare and small business loans. Somehow, I don’t think so.”

    This is good! Finally you see the light and the truth! Because indeed, you’re correct – I have never claimed I was a man during either of those transactions because I’ve never had to take out a business loan! (And we’ve already covered the welfare application, but just in case you missed that, I’ll repeat – I’ve never applied for welfare.)

    4. You wrote, “Now Ms. “Chartrand” is riding high, portraying her success as some kind of feminist coup.”

    Clearly, you and I hear and read different things, because I’ve actually said quite the opposite, that I am not championing feminist issues or considering myself anything but someone who’d really like to get back to work. Unfortunately, I have to deal with idiots like you (who hide under anonymity and can’t share true names either – how ironic), so here I am.

    5. You wrote, “Women have tremendous advantages these days. Not only do they dominate university enrollment, they are given preference in business loans as well.”

    Really? Please, tell me which city gives women preference in business loans, because where I live, I know people who have been flat out denied loans and told, “If you had a husband, it would’ve been much easier for you.”

    6. You wrote, “It’s really no wonder that some people might prefer to hire a man in the same business. After all, if a man established himself, it’s pretty obvious he did it on talent, rather than loads of undeserved help. But that means nothing now — women can simply take advantage of all the programs geared to help them and then claim to be men. So simple, so unfair.”

    Two-fer! You win again, and I agree! Exactly why I chose to use a male name!… Wait, did you just prove everything I’ve been putting forth? I think you might have…

    Now, you can certainly go spout your nonsense elsewhere, with my blessing – I wish you much luck garnering respect for your views. But if I ever see you coming to comment crap like this again here at my blog, I will delete your comments and block you. (Well, at least that much. Maybe more. Right now, I have more important work to do.)

  55. That James’ business took off after taking a man’s name indicts not James but the world in which she is forced to operate. Both men and women absorb cultural myths about gender from the youngest age. I do not except myself.

    Taylor, you are still at the start of your career. Many of us now over 40 felt the same optimism and defiance you did. Let us revisit your progress in ten and twenty years’ time and hope that the working world treats you better. I fear it will not.

    It’s common to blame “feminism” for a host of ills. That is mendacious since feminism comprises numerous, often contradictory, strains of thought. Please use your mad writerly skills and be precise. Who *exactly* is pissing you off?

  56. For what it’s worth, I am a 30 year old woman and I work as a Managing Editor for a large web publication. I am completely appalled at the idea that “James” faked who he/she is/was because being a woman wasn’t working out. It’s just pathetic in my opinion. It makes the writing here worthless to me. If you’re writing from the first person, professing to be one thing while really being something else entirely, that makes you a fraud. Feminist ideals aside, that’s the main issue here. People who lie on the internet should not be rewarded for their lies. “James” is being rewarded with all of this attention. And, for the record, I don’t believe that her business took off after taking on a man’s name. I think she changed her approach with her mindset. And that’s what made the success. To attribute it to a name is selling herself short. Which, apparently, she’s very good at. This is a sad, sad person. Pathetic really.

  57. First of all note the e-book title available under the “Our Books” tab, above: How To Create Believable Characters. Nice work, James!

    Second, based on my (peripheral) experience with commercial writers over the years it’s not that uncommon for a single writer to work with mulitple pen names. For instance the local edgy alt-weekly might rather not use the same writer who also writes the gardening tips for the local flower and garden newsletter and ad copy for the local university alumni office. So folks use different names — big deal? And if you use different genders? Also big deal.

    Some things I do get uncomfortable though. For instance that a lot of people prefered to hire and read copywriting from James… as long as they thought he was a man. Taylor’s protests notwithstanding published research says academic reviewers consistently give higher ratings when a single letter in a submission is changed, changing the author from, say, “Joan Smith” to “John Smith” or “Jean Fitzpatrick” to “Dean Fitzpatrick.”

    That James got pulled in when she dropped that hook over the side isn’t a problem for me at all. What is a problem, though, is that despite thoroughly faking it she built a website that’s… well, more aggressively “masculine” than I, a thoroughly red-blooded, XY-chromosomed man, am able to manifest. Which, if I was conflicted all Hemingway/GQ/Details-like about what “being a man” might mean probably wouldn’t be doing me a lot of favors. So in other words it’s not so much that James was “selling out” women as that she was helping to continue setting up men with, in this case, literally made up standards of what constitutes an authoritative male voice.

    Bottom line: getting jobs with fake names is fine; taking your fake name and using it to perpetuate what you perceive as the name’s gender attributes isn’t so hot.

    @Taylor: Since I’m a stay-a-home dad, a primary caregiver, shopper, cook, bedtime manager, and laundry shuffler who’s substantially supported by my working partner and spend an awful lot of time thinking about gender issues I ought to be fine with your implication that I have “certain valuable female traits.” Except that’s as silly as it sounds. Those aren’t female traits, they’re studiously-ignored manly ones, just like James’ fondness for ball caps and sneakers are willfully-disregarded womanly ones.


  58. @James: I was serious, by the way, when I said “nice work.” You created a genuinely compelling character. (My post on your original Copyblogger post was titled “Copyblogger Author Practicing What She Preaches about Compelling Post Titles: ‘Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants.'” You unquestionably know your stuff. 🙂
    .-= figleaf´s last blog ..One Tiger Woods, His Eight or More Partners, One (More) Reason Evolutionary Psychology Still Needs Work =-.

  59. @Figleaf – What most people don’t realize because it hasn’t been mentioned much is that this site design was the third in the life of James Chartrand. The original site design was plain, sky-blue with a man and a laptop in jeans. The second, sky-blue and gold, with just a man (headless) standing while wearing a suit. Both were downplayed, quietly corporate and pretty… well.

    NONE of us liked them much. The new design was actually the concept of Dave, one of my team members, based on our foursome joint desire for a look that felt cool, grungy, edgy, casual and not feminine. Two guys, two girls, four people loving it – because it FIT who WE were as people, and fit our personalities.

    So when two men are involved in creating a site design that males bash because it’s not reflective of an image that those men don’t enjoy… well, what’s a gal to think?

    And thank you on the compliments for the ebook, though I’ll disagree that I created a character. I simply was myself, under another name.

  60. JR Tomlin – They’re making these statements and calling them feminism. I’m not just deciding that, they’re saying it themselves.

    Also, I’m not sure who you’re arguing with when you say that using a pen name is nothing new. We’ve been saying that. Everyone agrees.

    As for it being a non-issue . . . well. You have only to look at the comments on this post, or the Copyblogger essay, to realize that it is an issue for a great many people.

    Mike – When you say that all men would do one thing, that’s sexist. It’s equally sexist to say all women would do something else. But as for leaving an anonymous comment full of sexist remarks . . . well, that’s just undignified. Though I’m sure it’s more secure. What was that about trading security for dignity again?

    AC – You cut and pasted your comment direct from your blog, but you also choose to not give a link. That’s – oh, what’s the word. Ballsy of you.

    “If a man established himself, it’s pretty obvious he did it on talent, rather than loads of undeserved help.” Is it now? Good thing there’s no such thing as a good old boys club, a fraternity, or nepotism.

    ugsome – You know, I agree with you. I hope I still feel as good about my position in the world as a woman in 40 years. I don’t really know how that will turn out, and I agree fully that it may well be that it’s worse later in life. We’ll have to wait and see. I certainly didn’t mean to imply it was smooth sailing for me. As for who exactly is pissing me off, I really don’t intend to call out particular people by name. That’s unnecessary and it’s catty. There were a slew of comments along these lines, stating that James had an obligation to the feminist movement to keep fighting for better rights. There were a few blog posts as well. I’m not responding to an individual so much as I am angry about these women pretending that telling James exactly how to live is “feminism”. You’ll note that I call myself a feminist, in the title, and at the end of the piece.

    .-= Tei – Men with Pens´s last blog ..Taylor’s a Feminist – But So Is James =-.

  61. I think there is an interesting logical fallacy floating around in the feminist criticism of James’ actions that is being overlooked:

    They say that James should never have “betrayed her sex” by pretending to be a man because by doing so she is damaging the feminist agenda. The problem is if James didn’t do what she did – if she continued on as a woman – we wouldn’t be having this discussion about sexism and gender bias in the web world and it wouldn’t be all over the news. Instead we would have an underpaid woman working to support her family and a debate about how much people should spend on chocolate over the holidays. I don’t see how this would serve the feminist agenda at all. But that’s just me.

    Additionaly, even if James’ original actions were questionable (a statement I do not agree with), her decision to go public, call out the bigots and shine a light on this problem is about as gutsy and feministic a move as I’ve seen in a long time.
    .-= Morten Rand-Hendriksen´s last blog ..Does feminism have a place in the web design world? =-.

  62. Morten for President. That rocks.

    Wait. I forget. Can I still have a sense of humor here?

    And Morten—your post is pretty darned thoughtful. Loved it.

    Until later,

    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Inspiration Points: I Do Not Choose To Be a Common Man =-.

  63. I just subscribed to this blog. I am already a copyblogger subscriber and after reading one of James’ post would often check this blog out. However, somehow, the title “Men With Pens” and its distinct ‘masculine’ feel kept me from becoming an active reader! I just realize how biased I was on every count. As a (female) writer, it shouldn’t matter to me whether the blog gives a masculine or feminine vibe. But here I was, happily subscribing to copyblogger which has a more androgynous title (and look) but not MWP. This from a 28 years old married working mom who very well knows what discrimination is in far too many aspects of life. James’ coming out blog has been profoundly eye opening and I am going to be grateful to him for a long long time. I hereby hope to never judge a book by its appearance ever again (while praying that the same works for me) 🙂

  64. @Kelly: We are all sisters and brothers, born of our mothers. We come into this world just as we leave it – equals in our human voulnerability. I don’t see why we should make the in between harder by creating an artificial crevasse between the sexes. That in itself is reason enough to be a feminist, even for a man.
    .-= Morten Rand-Hendriksen´s last blog ..Does feminism have a place in the web design world? =-.

  65. Tracy (aka spiritwolf32) says:

    Wow, I think I have just added a few more people to my “Damn I love them” list.

    @Taylor/Tei – I am so glad James has you.

    @Morten – I think I have loved every comment that you have posted. Especially the one you posted at 2:46am which I think was your first one. I was bouncing up and down yelling(and I think I woke up some people “Damn, that’s what I wanted to say but couldn’t think of the words” well said.

    There were so many other people too but it would take me forever to read them all and mention them.

    I for one and 1000% behind James and one of his/her biggest supporters.

  66. @ AC I think that your post is far more indicative of your own gender issues and inherent sexism than it is of any (ahem) mistakes made by James.

    “Now Ms. “Chartrand” is riding high, portraying her success as some kind of feminist coup. ” I know that James has already highlighted this but it irked me so much I decided to do so again. She was pretty clear that this exactly NOT what she was doing.

    I would also like to add that the entire debate around this issue has depressed me enormously. Initially I was riding high on the brilliance of James’ decision and her boldness. Now, I am staring sadly at the outcry on the web and wondering if there is any hope for us at all.

    That James said sexist things, or used pictures of naked women, that she “betrayed” some feminist principle. What a load of rubbish. What if James fancied women (as a woman)? Would her using naked women be offensive then?

    Finally. To you ball bashing, cage making feminists out there. You are doing us a far greater disservice than you can possibly imagine. So what if a woman wants 30 kids and to bake and look after her home! If a man did that he’d get a feature in Vogue and a medal. The whole POINT of feminism is to allow us to be who we choose, not to be offered a whole new set of rules that we have to obey. It has always upset me that women seem to be far more interested in taking each other down and calling out each others faults than in suporting one another. Certainly many of the articles that have sprung up outside of this story are testament to that.
    Sigh. Forgive the rant.

  67. In this day and age, I can’t understand how people can be so closed minded, not mentioning any names (well I couldn’t anyway as James quite rightly pointed out, though I’m not sure ‘idiot’ was the right phrase to keep the conversation level headed despite it being relatively true.)

    @Morten, you are absolutely correct. It is high time that conversations like this were consigned to the history books.

    I still believe that men and women alike still need to lose the victim mentality and just go out and do what you want, if you’re pushed back (and we all are) try, try and try again. If you do the same thing over and over again it stands to reason you will never get a different result. How can anyone fault someone for trying something different and seeing a different result?!

    One confused David.
    .-= David´s last blog ..Are you ready for Virtualisation? =-.

  68. Taylor, thank you for posting your thoughts on this matter!

    I wonder if James even looked at this as a feminist thing? To me, it was survival! However, her “coming clean” was brave and is illustrating an interesting social phenomenon.

    The data proves that women get paid statistically lower than men for the same job. However, I do believe that assuming a male identity is like being in hiding.

    My path has been completely different than James’s, however. If I were in a similar situation, would I do the same thing? I honestly don’t know. With where I’m at today, I don’t understand it at all. But I don’t have kids, I’m not the sole breadwinner, I was never “treated like crap”, I can barely count on two hands the number of rewrites I’ve had to do over my six year career, and I got tired of copywriting and switched to internet marketing before this question even came up.


    I think this is a splendid opportunity for James to use this and turn it into something positive for everyone. 🙂 For example, how could she take what she learned while “being a man” and use that to help other writers? I’d be very interested to read a memoir or something about what she learned during the experience of assuming another identity.
    .-= Katherine´s last blog ..How to Get Quick Traffic to your Blog or Website =-.

  69. When this whole “James is a woman” thing came to light, I had a few reactions. I was shocked to find that someone I’d developed an online relationship with had chosen to keep such a big secret. I was curious about who James “really” was. I was disappointed to recognize ingrained gender biases in myself. But, I wasn’t mad.

    Until now.

    I am so p.o.ed that because of this experience I am now aware of the existence of AC and his vile blog. Thanks a lot, James.

  70. Wow – James’ confession and this post just blew me away. I suspected that this attitude still existed, but to read about James’ experience writing as a woman and a man was downright disturbing. More power to her for doing what she needed to do to make her career work.

    At the same time, please don’t blame “feminism.” Feminism is a movement, an idea – men or women who tell others what to do are jerks – not “feminism.” They are people holding onto a philosophy with both hands, demanding that others do what they think is right because they are too uncomfortable with the new and wide open world that liberation has created. Feminism is about opening up new possibilities to both men and women, not limiting them by gender – and James’ experience just goes to show you that we still have a long way to go.

    Thanks for opening my eyes.
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..A Few of My Favorite Things: Year-end Round-up of Online Ocean & Climate Science Sources =-.

  71. Do people read this stuff?
    We’re living in a depression –
    children of single parents are going to lose.
    Children of both genders – WITHOUT INHERITED WEALTH – WHICH IS USUALLY STOLEN WEALTH – are going to face enormous challenges to conduct their lives and live in the world today and tomorrow.

    This is a power struggle and don’t the rich just love all this talk about who’s earning a few bucks less or more – so we stay online and off the streets and at a safe distance from their throats! I think they do – they love that we’re wiling to spend valuable time quibbling, instead of revolting for EVERYONE to earn a decent living, get free education, get free health care by participating in our culture and society as a democracy – like many nations have advanced to.

  72. You are misrepresenting the feminist argument somewhat. The majority of posts out there do not criticize using a male psuedonym. They understand or support it.

    Those who do criticize are questioning what “James” did with this male persona: posted somewhat sexist imagery and comments, especially the condescending rant about mommy bloggers “whining and bitching”. Which they feel wasn’t necessary to maintain the facade, and they’d like an explanation as to why she did that.

    I’m sure you recognize it’s a valid to ask why a woman passing as a man would feel the need to include chauvanism as part of the charade. It comes off as dishonest how neither of you admit this is an issue. Doing so would make critics more sympathetic.

    Instead you attack feminists for daring to ask critical questions about the larger story. And you are somewhat dishonest by leaving out major issues they’re discussing.

    Feminism does not mean accepting every choice without questions and questions are not the same as condemnation.

    The critics out there are bothered by what seems like trying to have it both ways, decrying sexism as herself after having her male character say and do things which perpetuate it.

    What hostility which is out there is more about evasive and self-serving rhetoric, rather than choice itself.

  73. James wrote: ” I have, in fact, never created a persona, but simply took myself and gave myself one single different name for business purposes. ”

    So if you had been writing as a women, you would have posted naked pictures of women and wrote the exact same rant about mommy bloggers and talked about how Taylor was perky, knew how to cook and other such terms? Would you use the same pens sexual double entendre?

    Come on, you did more than just use a name. You created an entire fake character and chose what he said. That’s a persona. Not wrong, but worth questioning why you had him say what he did.

  74. Louise,

    In the country James is from, they’ve got health care figured out. So naturally, her Monday was looking a little boring…


    If you’d care to (or if any of the detractors would care to) go back to the actual sources of the mommy-blogger rant, in which James was flogged elsewhere on the ‘net, you’d find that said bloggers were in fact, whining and bitching. It ain’t condescending to point it out if it’s so.

    And as has been pointed out several times in other places, if James is a woman who enjoys a picture of feminine flesh, due to pride in her own or love of others’, would you be so rude about it—or applaud her for being bold?

    Plus there’s never been a naked woman here. Scantily clad, or oddly clad, sure. And some scantily clad dudes, too, which I believe on more than one occasion I have heartily applauded.

    For me, Tei is more witty, brisk, and incisive than perky. But I don’t know her well. Sandy Duncan was perky. Is perky a problem?

    And as to cooking, I hope she can. Because the town she lives in is a mighty expensive place to eat out every night.

    Some of this talk is just so tiresome.


    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Inspiration Points: I Do Not Choose To Be a Common Man =-.

  75. Elliot Ross says:

    Taylor – I was flabbergasted by this post!

    I subscribe via RSS to both MWP & CopyBlogger – so yes, I saw that post.

    My only thought at the time I read it was that James should do about 5000 words for Harvard Business Review on that real life, empirical study.

    Beyond that?

    I enjoy reading the writing.

    It was not until this post that I realized that there was a tempest in a teapot – people getting their shorts in a knot over nothing.

    What is in name?

    Heck – the majority of the romance novels were written by men under female names.

    Maybe we should all change our names to be gender neutral – so we all can be appreciated based on our talents as individuals – which is true equality.

    I think it is too bad that someone would choose to expose that type of info – but on the flip side – there is probably a bit of relief too!

    Best Regards

    And all the best on supreme work that I can only dream of emulating!

    .-= Elliot Ross´s last blog ..I’ve Had My Knuckles Rapped Before =-.

  76. I totally agree with Michelle on this one. I am also a feminist (though I should hope by now we all are) and think James is pretty cool. “Taking one for the team” is a ridiculous notion, especially when there is such an obvious bonus by stopping the fight. And the thing that makes it even better is that it was just an experiment at first, to see how it would roll. The fact that he automatically started making more money, well, who would then decide, “oh, never mind, I’m going to toil all day in the name of female empowerment, regardless of whether or not my kids have something to eat.” Seriously? I think not.

    But like Michelle said, just because a few angry feminists can’t see that doesn’t make the movement any less powerful. And at the risk of sounding bitchy, it’s posts like this that make many people hate feminists that much more. So before you go hating on feminism as a whole, please check your wording before you ruin it for the rest of us.

    PLUS, the fact that James did “come out” has boosted feminism in my opinion. If it weren’t for him, the fact that some employers still exist in the middle ages is now a little bit more visible. Hopefully this will HELP the movement 🙂
    .-= Marian Schembari´s last blog ..Should We Lay Off By Seniority? =-.

  77. Feminism is constantly being redefined. I often call myself a dress-wearing feminist (even though I rarely wear a dress) because I see no reason why a woman shouldn’t be able to walk into an office wearing a floral-print, flowing wrap and be taken just as seriously as, or treated equally to, any man. Being equal does not in any way mean being the same.

    Some women are going to feel betrayed. Others will feel empowered. Many will say, “See! we knew it!” Few will feel indifferent. All of these feelings and viewpoints are different but equally valid, and I think they should all be respected. Because that’s the only way women will ever achieve true equality, by respecting one another’s thoughts and feelings, and by engaging in thoughtful, meaningful, and respectful discussion.

    I’m glad that with each generation, women are getting closer to equal pay, but the fact that women under 25 are only earning 93 percent of what men are earning is just not right.
    .-= Melissa Donovan´s last blog ..Fostering Creativity for Better Writing =-.

  78. Valerie Alexander says:

    “No one gets to tell a woman she has to do ANYTHING just because she’s a woman. ”

    I agree. That means I support James’ freedom to make choices and it also means I support others’ freedom to express their opinions about it. Criticizing a choice is not the same as trying to eliminate the freedom to make that choice. Nor are the opinions of a few people indicative of an entire movement. It’s just a dialogue … and I must say it’s been a riveting one so far.

  79. Feminism has been pissing me off for years. Men and women are different, from DNA to the way our minds are wired. All of this is crap we are the same and the differences should be ignored have created more problems than it solved. As a recent Newsweek article outlined, in spite the strides academically and professionally women are more unhappy than ever, so was it worth it?

    As for James, I take it as the actions of a highly intelligent person who knew what the deal was and made a wise business decision. You can rail against the injustice of all until the end of time, not much would change.

    Now if you take action, like James did a great many things can change. About ten years ago a well known female CEO stepped down to devote herself to her family, the imitable gall!

    The thing as reference in this post you should have the right to do whatever you want without all the baggage of gender based role definitions…..ah but we are far from a perfect world.

    The feminist heads were rolling and many said she should take one for the team. Of all the people who completely understood why she did it were men, those dirty bastards!!

    Great post!
    .-= Glendon Cameron´s last blog ..How I got $5000.00 for a $150 Unit – Don’t hate the playa, hate the Game! =-.

  80. I know in the computer field, a lot of women try to handle the gender bias by “banding together” and having support groups and stuff like that. I’m sure that helps some people, but I have to admit that I’ve never found it that useful. I had some friends drag me to one or two of the meetings, and all I heard was a bunch of talk about “female empowerment” and stuff like that. I guess I think that James’ method seems to work better, honestly. If you can hide your gender long enough to prove that you can work as well as or better than the guys, then let them know you’re a girl, I think that empowers women better than just sitting there and taking the treatment that gets dished out to every woman.

    I can’t really do that at work, but I was very fortunate to find a place of employment that actually respects me for the work I do. That wasn’t easy, honestly. When I was looking for an internship while in college, I had one interviewer for a company mention to me that they were interested in me because they had to fill their quota of females. I was utterly shocked that they would outright tell me to my face that they were looking at me not for my skills but because they had to fill the numbers. I declined the second interview with that company because it was clear to me from that interviewer that they would likely never take the time to notice me for what I could bring to the company.

    I have spent a lot of time online (on IRC) helping people with various computer problems. I’ve found that, if I go on there with a gender-neutral name, people listen to me and discover that I actually know my stuff. When they eventually learn that I’m female, they are usually quite excited to meet a girl who knows what’s going on, and I’ve had a few admit that they wouldn’t have expected a girl to know what was going on, but they were glad that I had proved them wrong.

    Anyway… that was long and rambling… sorry!

  81. A riveting post and insightful comments, all. In some ways, it’s very sad and pathetic that the gender bias still exists in a society that, at times, claims to have ‘progressed’ beyond the suffocating views of the 1800s.

    While I accept that perhaps an action or two may be seen to have gone too far for some, for me, they were necessary for the situations in which they were made. Decisions are made, whether for better or worse, for the circumstances that face the decision-maker, and if that choice meant taking on another persona, so be it. I don’t, however, condone taking it to the extremes. But, IMO, that was not the case here.

    I merely applaud and congratulate James for doing what had to be done and succeeding at it. May you continue to be successful.


    P.S. A derail, but this entire situation reminds me of the Whoopi Goldberg film, “The Associate”. While certainly fiction, I think that film illustrates James’s trials and subsequent outing and success, in an entertaining yet expressive way.

    P.P.S. My real name is unpronounceable to most in the English-speaking world; the Net pseudonym causes less problems. =^)

  82. I am a new reader to the blog. Very interesting views of the times. I am also a woman (37), married, mom of 2 boys (5 & 2) with a business now 8 years old and thriving. I praise my husband every day for being my ‘facilitator’, he never hesitates to pick up even more at home so I can continue to run a business that now supports all 4 of us in comfort. While we work together on the business I am the acknowledged ‘front man’, it is more in keeping with my nature, not his.

    I have over the years gravitated to networking organizations that support working moms and women business owners and the majority of my clients are female. When I first entered the work force I blindly assumed I’d be treated equally and was pretty shocked to find I wasn’t. This was emphasized to me when I started my family and great concern was expressed as to how I was going to manage it all. A question that was never asked of my husband.

    All I can say is Hooray! to all of the men who treat us as equals without question. The partners who help us be the best PEOPLE we can be without question or expectation for themselves.

    Equality of the sexes needs to honor our differences and use our strengths. It’s not about sameness, it’s about respect. I am not meant to be just like you or the man sitting next to me. I am me, and I need to reach MY potential.

  83. “That’s how my generation thinks.”

    This is what hacks me off.
    I never, ever, claim to know or say what “my generation thinks.” I have had a recurring theme on posts to this effect, along with http://www.thesavvyboomer.com/ We shudder at all the sites/blogs that have been launched by Xers aimed at Boomers and that are now failing because they claim to know a “generation.”

    This was my point about the age too… if James was 58, you probably wouldn’t even consider her worth knowing, let alone working with, let alone thinking you could learn from her.

    Ageism is more rampant and damaging than sexism.

    That’s why I adopted a persona for my free-lance writing and social networking that is much younger than my real age.

  84. @GoinglikeSixty – I think I illustrated rather well the tangible evidence for thinking my generation has a different opinion of the gender divide than older generations. Perhaps I ought to have phrased it differently, but I hardly think I was claiming to “speak for a generation”, as you put it.

    Furthermore, if you’re so adamant about people not speaking for others, I’ll thank you not to speak for me. “If James was 58, you probably wouldn’t even consider her worth knowing” – where the hell did that assumption come from? One of my dearest friends and most trusted confidantes in the world is nearly 70. She’s an old friend of my parents and I’ve known her since I was a child, and as I became an adult we began to speak to one another as peers. I would easily count her among my most trusted and admired friends.

    My father is in his fifties. He’s damn well worth knowing. So are my uncles and aunts, several other family friends, and two friends I have in town (both in their sixties). If you’re going to get your tail in a twist because you think I might have suggested that my generation has a different attitude toward gender, than it’s rather hypocritical to think you know anything at all about my personal attitudes toward age.

    As for the idea that ageism is much more rampant and damaging than sexism – I have no idea what the evidence is to back up this point, but I think it entirely possible. I’ve certainly heard any number of stories from those friends and from the news at large about people being forced into retirement or unable to get a job simply because of the date on their resume that says when they graduated college. Add in being female and you’ve got yourself a double whammy.
    .-= Tei – Men with Pens´s last blog ..Taylor’s a Feminist – But So Is James =-.

  85. Fighting is ultimately futile, whether it’s about feminism or whatever. Even when you “win”, you lose a lot of valuable assets such as trust, rapport, etc. There is a saying, “Whenever you fight, you lose.”

    If this case has anything to do with feminism, I think James did a favor to it by uncovering the existing social lies.

    I do admit, however, I’m not good at observing movements, like feminism. I only see individuals.
    .-= Akemi – Yes to Me´s last blog ..Motivation vs Inspiration =-.

  86. Thank you Taylor and James!
    I think this discussion brings to light many of our prejudices and our judgmental opinions.
    By “our” I mean all of us.
    Can anyone say they haven’t judged someone else on the basis of their name, their clothes, their car, or where they live?
    I would like to proudly hold my head high and say that I haven’t, but that would be a boastful lie.
    Thanks to my name “Tyrean” I’ve learned just how much people can assume based on a name . . . gender, ethnicity, age, background.
    I happen to be female, caucasian, 38, and “middle class” from a “working class” childhood. I grew up in a small town, and live in a suburban city that pretends to be a small town.
    And yet, people often assume very different things about me based on my name.
    However, I like my name so well (arrogant of me, I’m sure) that I would truly have to be desperate to take a different name.

    Having said all that, again I thank you James, and Taylor for spear-heading this very real issue.
    .-= Tyrean´s last blog ..Parry – Riposte =-.

  87. “PLUS, the fact that James did “come out” has boosted feminism in my opinion.”

    Important fact here: James didn’t come out. She was forced out by another blogger who disagreed with her.

  88. This was deleted because it violated site policies on commenting, but after a request from another reader, I am publishing it. It provides a good example of exactly what we’re discussing here on this post and exemplifies, in detail, why feminism gets nowhere.

    Author: rlh
    Well, that’s great, a bunch of men telling women how to do feminism. About as welcome as a woman telling an MRA how to do men’s rights.

    If you aren’t a woman, and/or have only read a criticque or two about Dworkin, One of those unfun femnists, then you should shut the fuck up about what you think feminism is.

    The problem feminists have with a woman who pretends she a man to get ahead is:

    1. That a woman still has to pretend she has a dick to get decent paying jobs. You can’t see the problem with that, maybe you should start reading feminism 101.

    2. That whoever this “pretend like i have a dick” writer is sold her tribe down the river and became a misgoynist to get more money. See here:


    so, “james chartrands can shove it up her ass about how fucking feminist she is.

  89. @rlh: You make me sad. With your comment you’ve provided the debate with an archetypal display of militant feminism so extreme that had a man posted it he would be immediately rediculed for making stuff up.

    Your definition of feminism is the most dogmatic and dangerous kind – the one that does nothing but hurt the cause. The belief that feminism is the absolute and exclusive domain of women is probably the most misunderstood and self destructive stance any woman can take for the simple reason that for women to have equal rights with men, men have to understand that women are their equals. By isolating the political philosophy they way you describe you make that transition impossible.

    As for your blatant attack on James I have a question to ask: What is the main purpose of the feminist movement? The answer is to bring attention to the inequality between the sexes and promote equal rights for women. What James did by writing his article was bring the subject of sexism and gender bias to the forefront in a way militant feminists like yourself can only dream of. Think about it: When was the last time there was a serious discussion about womens’ rights in mainstream media? And when was the last time men were confronted with their own bigotry in a way they couldn’t ignore?

    The sad part about your comment is not that you lash out blindly at a person that has brought a new wind to your cause, but that you are a bigot.
    .-= Morten Rand-Hendriksen´s last blog ..Does feminism have a place in the web design world? =-.

  90. I’ve loved this discussion. And envy writers who can choose a male pseudonym. I’m a filmmaker, and there’s no hiding gender in that collaborative industry. Is this one reason that here in New Zealand—as elsewhere—the stats are so bad? Women write and direct about 10% of our feature films. And it’s not entirely our fault. Some women say we’re not tough enough, or persistent enough or obsessed enough to get our films made. But Queen Bees in the industry prefer to support golden boys. And certainly powerful men do the same thing. So, I’m working hard to make “Development” my feature about women filmmakers in Wellywood: http://www.development-the-movie.com, to entertain and to highlight the issues. And if you, Taylor or James, can suggest a new strategy for success I can use in an environment where I can’t be a bloke, though I’m getting stronger by the day, I’ll give you a prominent credit! What else would you have done James, if you couldn’t hide your gender, to maximise your opportunities in a public forum? Thanks again, & every good wish!
    .-= Marian´s last blog ..Bub Bridger =-.

  91. sierraseven says:

    In browsing through the various branching links and references on this very interesting situation, I’m sorry to say that I read several posts and the accompanying comments on the “Spearhead” blog. I started with the entry regarding James, and unwisely went to the entry about female arousal. Frankly, although I realize one does not absolutely have to have opposable thumbs to navigate the internet, I did not know that there were such devolved individuals out there. Color me naive. Yecch.

  92. Look, I agree with you. I agree completely. I wouldn’t dream of judging James for doing what she had to do. So please stop pinning that opinion on “feminism”. Feminist bloggers are individual people, just like women or men. Individual people are allowed to say what they like. “Feminism” as a movement has been dragged through the mud, and I have no interest in seeing yet another group of people gathering to pat themselves on the back for seeing how annoying, how useless, how self-contradictory those uppity feminists are. You can state your feelings without smearing the very movement that James’ story proves is still necessary.

  93. Also, I do think it’s awful that the persona of “James Chartrand” was so sexist. But there you go: white, sexist men get ahead. I’m glad we’ve all figured that one out, and I’m glad James has come clean so the perpetuation of sexism of her part can end.

  94. Marcos - Brazil says:

    You are a disonest and lying person. I would never hire such a person, man or woman for any project.

  95. Taylor, I am so F-ing with you on this. Feminism (and you know the kind of feminism I mean) is currently doing NOTHING for our generation. (I’m 25 too.) Yeah, it’s great we can vote and ask for raises and whatever, but thanks to the angry feminist attitude of the women of our bosses’ generation, we have to deal with the assumption, every time we point out anything, (and I don’t mean pointing out their biases or demanding equal pay, I just mean saying, “Hey you guys didn’t leave any beers for me”) that we’re “just being feminists”. It annoys the sh*t out of me.
    On the other hand, I’ve noticed extremely clearly that the only way to get ahead in a male-dominated field (ad creative), is to act like a man and assume you’re going to get what you want. Which – thanks our feminist moms – we mostly started off doing anyway. I’ve seriously considered doing what James did and I have to give her some serious mad props. That takes more balls than most men have. (Also, tragically confirmed my suspicions.)
    And btw feminists – f*ck taking one for the team. None of us will ever get anywhere unless we take sh*t for ourselves.
    .-= Thea Kinyon´s last blog ..The best advertising doesn’t sell. It makes shit better. =-.

  96. Darvel J. Silda says:

    The only qualm I have with this article is the author writes about the “Virtue of our sex” when I believes she really means ‘virtue of our gender’. Sex is, in my opinion something we engage in, while gender is what we are. Namaste!

  97. Well said.
    I’m 54, am building my own business, was raised by an independent Yankee woman who expected me to fulfill my dreams without withdrawal that becomes a reality when finances and family are a part of choices. The biggest part. I’ve been selfish… I’ve chosen to keep myself for myself and follow my dreams. I understand James, he is really like my little sister in many ways… and I rent a house, fly by the fiscal seat of my pants to keep building my dream and I feel more akin to Taylor … and yet… I am from the gen before James. I guess.
    It’s well said here, Taylor.
    James is ok with me
    a feminist, small business owning
    fly by nighter.
    .-= Gwednolyn H. Barry´s last blog ..Free Music =-.

  98. -Marcos

    Well at least your bias is not hidden. You miss the larger point, in the world of the creative many folks male and female use pen names, screen names because one, their real name may not work or in the case of James certain work you will not get.

    As a black person who ran a successful online business, I had quite a few “oh you are Glendon” looks it is you when someone came to pick something up. Also several clearly I am not buying from you sales reversals in person on the phone it was I want it, then when they met me it was no I do not want it. If you never felt this type of discrimination it is patently hard to explain.

    As in the case of James, I think the success of her business by virtue of a name change speaks volumes to the level of inherent discrimination in the world. I know things are better now, but we still have mountains to scale.
    .-= Glendon Cameron´s last blog ..Frederick Douglass Gets His Groove On =-.

  99. There have been a few blog posts and articles out there suggesting that James should have taken one for the team.

    That’s not how I read those posts. Granted, I haven’t read every single post on this issue, but the main takeaway I’ve seen – and the problem I myself have with what James did – is not that she took a male name. The problem is that she trafficked in overt sexism, which is quite different. Taking a male name as a way to get by is understandable – do what you gotta do to survive, after all. Adding to the sexist culture that makes it so a woman has to take a male name to get by is a whole ‘nother can of worms. James didn’t just do what she had to do to survive, she built on and added to what makes it difficult for women to get by. And THAT is pretty shitty. I don’t think you have to be a feminist to see it, just a decent person.

  100. Anonymous: You only have to read some of the comments in this post to see people explicitly stating that James should have taken one for the team. And yes, there are countless articles that say the same thing implicitly or explicitly.

    I have a bigger problem with your comment though: Your claim that James “trafficked in sexism” is based on an overtly biassed and factually incorrect article published last week and perpetuated throughout the web. Rather than just blindly believe what other people say about someone, do your research: Dig through James’ writings over the years and see if you can find concrete examples of this blatant sexism. Trust me, the wors you’ll find are some good-natured comments on women that could just as well have come from a woman as a man.
    .-= Morten Rand-Hendriksen´s last blog ..Does feminism have a place in the web design world? =-.

  101. N. G. McClernan says:

    Yeah, the world is full of misogynist assholes who still pay women less than women, which is the cause of this whole issue and what does Taylor say? That FEMINISM is pissing her off.

    You still don’t get it, do you? Your brain has been soaking in sexism for so long that the fault of any injustice ultimately has to be those who fight for women’s rights.

    And who are these mysterious old school feminists who did all those bad things like denying biological differences? They are the standard straw feminists used by people who STILL don’t get it but can no longer be blatantly anti-feminist.

    It’s sickenng.

  102. N. G. McClernan says:

    Yeah, the world is full of misogynist assholes who still pay women less than men, which is the cause of this whole issue and what does Taylor say? That FEMINISM is pissing her off.

    You still don’t get it, do you? Your brain has been soaking in sexism for so long that the fault of any injustice ultimately has to be those who fight for women’s rights.

    And who are these mysterious old school feminists who did all those bad things like denying biological differences? They are the standard straw feminists used by people who STILL don’t get it but can no longer be blatantly anti-feminist.

    It’s sickening.

  103. Wow! I only read a third of the responses here and I am just so glad that there is still a raging hot-bed of discussion on such topics out there. I sometimes feel like any kind of explicit feminism is the elephant in the room.

    You know what I find interesting right now? The debate about acknowledgement of sex difference. When I was 16, I was informed by a medic that one third of my life was to be dominated by periods from hell was my “cross to bear”. For years I was pissed off about the crassness of his approach. Now I know he was just telling it like it is…(Insensitive maybe)

    Thank God am finally hitting menopause because keeping up in a male world with this kind of affliction is hell sometimes. Yes I had choices about being cauterised or a hystericalectomy, but is that the answer? I don’t think so; not for me.

    My point is this…as humans, we do not as a species tend to generally make allowance for difference, be it being a woman in a man’s world, an ethnic minority, so-called disabled (by the rest of us!), being a red-head, vegetarian, etc. We are just too tied up in our everyday lives to really comprehend the vastness of human experience, even in spite of best efforts.

    The older I get, the more I think the idea of total equality is just another myth maker which can conversely disempower those with differences to norms they are surrounded by. I have campaigned and will continue to campaign for equality of access to whatever is going, if it doesn’t harm the planet, but access needs to take account of the specific conditions individuals find themselves in – with all our plethora of dilemmas and anguishes – this is at the heart of James’s predicament.

    James is a realist and a survivor as well as being an idealist. When her kids are older and she is on a stronger footing, she’ll be fighting like the rest of us… Am glad for myself that she was outed though because every time a story such as this erupts, people talk …and thank god. Your debate validates me even when if we don’t necessarily agree … : )
    .-= Denise´s last blog ..What To Look For In A Top Home Based Business =-.

  104. If going by a male name got you more money more power to you then.

    I wish you all the best and continue with what you are doing.

    One question are you going to continue with the male name or use your real name when you are writing from now on?
    .-= Julio´s last blog ..Cop brings a gun to a snowball fight =-.

  105. I, too, have issues with some of the tone that James has taken at various times, if even half of what the “feminist” articles have said is true. I am a writer and very interested in James’ experiences when she changed her name. However, it messes with the scientific method if the writing is different once the name has changed, even if it’s a slow drift. Talking about your balls is just, well, not what you would have said as a woman; it sets a tone that is very different. And so it really isn’t the same stuff as what you would have written otherwise — and can’t be counted in the comparison.

    Aside from this, I think it’s a fascinating experiment to fool the Boys’ Club and then turn around and make them see they’ve been fooled. As someone said earlier, it’s guaranteed to make some of the people who have been buying James’ writing sit up and think a little about their biases. As far as I’m concerned, that *is* feminism: shaking the world up a little and making people really think about what they think. And, hopefully, changing the world a bit in the process. Step by step. In commendable ways or not. When everyone, everywhere, is stopping to think about what they’re doing and/or saying beforehand, then we will have won, because even if they disregard that inner voice, at least they will be aware that they made a choice. That’s more than half the battle.

  106. it’s not hard to see how a male CD’s mind works. ‘He looks like me when I had my hair, he’s cool, therefore if I hire him I am still cool’. Choice of beer means more than ability and experience. I’ve seen plum jobs in my specialism go to young male writers, who then complained to everyone in the bar that they had no clue where to begin. It’s not just women writers who lose out here.There are decent clients paying top dollar for trashy, half-made work, and this is a big part of why.

  107. Heather,

    I’ve talked about my balls on my blog. And I don’t hesitate to use the term (when the conversation has turned to the courage/risk-taking mix that is “balls”) when I’m in conversation, either. So I can’t go back and restart this blog to see if James would have, but some women have no problem owning a word with such powerful, brave, hard-nosed, and slightly nutty implications. I can’t think of another word that works nearly so well to create a total understanding of that concept and I’ll be darned if I’m going to leave all the rockin’ words for the dudes.

    Mine, by the way, are brass. James’, I’m pretty sure, are titanium.


    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Full Ownership =-.

  108. “Talking about your balls is just, well, not what you would have said as a woman; it sets a tone that is very different. And so it really isn’t the same stuff as what you would have written otherwise — and can’t be counted in the comparison.”

    Getting More Jobs: Are You Cocky Or Do You Have Balls?
    Author: Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz

    Do We Really Need Brass Balls?
    Author: Sonia Simone of Remarkable Communication

    And Kelly’s already mentioned that she’s talked about balls on her blog before. I don’t think that’s a topic that’s limited to men.

  109. You’re right, of course, and I agree about using “balls” in a metaphorical sense; that’s become part of the parlance of courage. I’m talking about a different sense, as in saying you are being left out of a discourse because you have balls (as in, are male). This is much more literal — and literally not true — and therefore slightly borderline if you are wanting to keep to the moral high ground.

    The issue with me is not with the name change, or even with writing in a masculine style. It’s with the idea of becoming the name change to the point of speaking in an untrue way. And I think, on occasion, if the quotes are true, James did cross that line.

    Let me be frank,here: I’m a browser at this site. I’ve only been here a few times and don’t have the whole backlog of all of James’ writing in my head. I do think James is a generally very professional writer. He didn’t know at the time of writing that this would all go where it went. We’ve all got to have a voice, whatever voice we choose. I’m just sayin’.

    And, like I said, I think the end result (waking people up to this problem) is really great.

  110. Michelle,

    You gave me a laugh. I’ve probably talked about balls at both of those blogs also. I suppose believing women have the right to be as full-throttle as men is part of my funky brand of… personism.

    Until later,

    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Full Ownership =-.

  111. Great post, Taylor! I agree with what you, and many of the commenters, have said. I’m 29 and I think feelings on this subject have much to do with age and personal experience.

    I grew up on a farm and my parents got married right out of high school. That was the norm in my hometown, especially for that time period. My mom owned a business and worked from home, but stopped when my youngest sister was born. I think women, more often than men, have to make difficult decisions when it comes to career vs. family.

    James did what he had to do, as anyone would to support his or her family. I think we can all agree that James is to be commended for finding a way to successfully support his family. I just think for us women it’s hard to hear the stinging truth that he had to do this to get ahead. I’ll never forget learning in my high school sociology class that women make less on the dollar than men. It made me angry. It still does. I’m not mad at James, I’m mad at the fact that this pay disparity still exists.

    My mom is a strong woman (she turned 52 today – Happy Birthday, Mom!), and taught me to be one. She told me that I could be anything I wanted to be, and I believed her. I still do. In the end, that’s what matters.

    All that said, I’ve always thought James is a great writer. Knowing that James is a woman doesn’t change that. However, knowing more about him, has made me want to follow his story (and this blog) much more closely. Thanks for being real, James!
    .-= Laura Click´s last blog ..Social Media in the Courtroom =-.

  112. “That’s how my generation thinks. We’re much, much closer to the glass ceiling than our mothers. A study done in 2005 showed that women under 25 working full time earned 93 cents to every dollar a man earned.

    Women over 25? They were still stuck with 79 cents to the dollar. ”

    Guess why it is like that! Because men over 25 get promoted. Women less often. That’s called the glass ceili…oh…you mentioned that already. I think you misinterpret this stat when you say that this brings women closer to the ceiling, this effect proves the existence of THE CEILING!

  113. Survival first, then the luxury of protest.
    .-= Dot´s last blog ..Comment on Snowstorm! by Hot news-Hot relax =-.

  114. Two more thoughts:

    – Since you’re writing on *Men* with Pens, people may assume that the *men* are keeping you in line. 😀

    – You’ve probably heard this, but does this mean that Harry’s not a man either? 😉
    .-= Dot´s last blog ..Comment on Snowstorm! by Hot news-Hot relax =-.

  115. I think I know how James feels right now. I wanted to enter a female name in the form field to make this post. But that wouldn’t be honest, would it?

    Some of the many negatives about feminism have already been pointed to here. But for me the most unfortunate thing is the dishonesty practiced in the second wave as a matter of routine.

    There is no gender wage gap. Women earn less because of their choices. No matter how much we try to attribute it to sexism, welders will still earn more than child care workers, and there is nothing preventing more women from becoming welders. Hasn’t been for years.

    The alleged wage gap for the same work repeatedly quoted here has been debunked as many times as it has been ignored.

    Like any reasonable and fair minded person, I support the objectives that feminism claims to advance- equal treatment under the law, access to education and employment based on ability. Equality of opportunity, but not a guarantee of outcome.

    In this environment, there was never a need for deception, either in the fabrication of boogymen that supposedly control the free market, or in the identity of the people making that allegation.
    .-= Paul Elam´s last blog ..Who are River Smith and Heidi Raynor and What Kind of Cult are They Running? =-.

  116. Yeah feminism is pissing me off too. All those LIES about unequal wages. Women freely choose to make less! And then have the gall to complain about it! Just ask Paul Elam.
    I for one am sick of those feminists and their dancing with their boogeymen!

  117. That is about typical for a response. Sarcasm over substance.
    .-= Paul Elam´s last blog ..Who are River Smith and Heidi Raynor and What Kind of Cult are They Running? =-.

  118. Yes, you are absolutely right, recently it is very difficult to women to live.


  1. ichannel says:

    Copywriter at MenWithPens comes out as female…

  2. […] site, banking on masculinity to sell herself. Now Ms. “Chartrand” is riding high, portraying her success as some kind of feminist coup. Wonderful. With men in prison and out of work all over the country, we have to face the theft of […]

  3. […] success as a “man.” Nor is the glass ceiling going the way of the dinosaurs, as Chartrand’s female co-blogger Taylor insists: A study done in 2005 showed that women under 25 working full time earned 93 cents to every dollar […]

  4. […] post about, but this post really caught me. It seems that James of the popular writing blog Men with Pens, is actually a […]

  5. […] James’ co-blogger, Taylor, also a woman, comes to her defense, “There have been a few blog posts and articles out there […]

  6. […] skäl som gjort att hon börjat skriva under manlig pseudonym, också. Särskilt gillade jag inlägget från Taylor, på bloggen Men with Pens, om att de feminister som bashade ”James” hade […]

  7. 2009 Writing Blogs in Review | PoeWar says:

    […] James Chartrand came out of the closet wearing women’s underwear and packing heat. That’s right, our favorite he-man Harley-riding, gun-toting, profanity-spewing, mommy-blog-bashing, front-man for Men with Pens turned out to be a woman. Hearts were broken. Words were spoken. A hubbub ensued and now James is hiding out somewhere in the Canadian wilderness, which is pretty much where she lived anyway. Sadly, that takes the number of regular male commentators on my blog from three to two. […]

  8. […] In the days following Chartrand’s revelation the debate has been raging on the web. But not over what you think. The most inflammatory debates have been over whether James really is a feminist or if she betrayed her sex by taking on the role of a man. And this latter stance, professed loudly and often obnoxiously with vile accusations of gender abandonment, is the one taken by militant feminists. In fact this type of reasoning is one of the staples of feminism and is, in my opinion, one of the main reasons feminism, and with it equal rights for women, is not gaining ground as rapidly as it should. To put it plainly I believe feminism has become a dogmatic belief system rather than a fight for equal rights. And I think that’s why a lot of women who want to call themselves feminists also hate feminism. […]

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