By now you probably know that James Chartrand is a pen name. It’s the pen name of a single mom who found more respectful and lucrative gigs using a man’s name. When she contacted me to tell me the truth, I was in shock. The Men with Pens blog is awash in machismo. Never in a million years would I think a woman was behind it. I’m not angry with James. As a mom I’ll do anything to make sure my family is provided for. Anything. Thankfully James’ decision was relatively safe compared to other lucrative choices available to women.
In the days since “James” made his confession, I’ve done a lot of thinking about this. One of my struggles as a blogger is to be taken seriously. I work damn hard to build this blog and while I’m not necessarily looking for fame, I wonder why it’s so much harder for a woman to receive respect as a professional blogger.
I remember during my first couple of years as a blogger, every now and then someone would come up with a list of top 25 or top 100 bloggers. There were only one or two women on each list, if any. Eventually women would complain and a few bloggers would hastily throw together lists of “top female bloggers.”
I mean, really.
You’re either a blogger or female blogger?
At SXSW I remember watching a flash session of community managers from brands such as Best Buy, Crocs and Jet Blue. There was not one woman in the group. I’ve attended “super sessions” of “make money online” bloggers, with no women sitting on the panel. Each time, I wondered why there was so much testosterone. Is it because the presenters didn’t know of any woman in these niches? Is it because the women said no? Is it because no women were asked? I would love to know the answer.
I remember sitting on a BlogTalkRadio discussion panel and the theme was “social media divas”. While on the air I wondered why we were refered to as “divas.” Men are considered “gurus,” “experts,” “ninjas” and “rockstars.” Women are divas. The person who put together the session confessed he though it was a cute term. Would anyone look for a cute term to describe a male blogger?
Every now and then someone refers to me as a mommy blogger. I don’t blog about parenting. I don’t talk much here about being a mom. I don’t pimp laudry detergent or diapers. Yet because I’m a woman and I have a child and a blog, I’m considered a mommy blogger.
What’s wrong with “Blogger?”
Why so many labels? Why do I have to be a female blogger or a mommy blogger? Why do I have to be a “darling” of the blogosphere or a “diva” of social media. Why can’t I just be a blogger? Why can’t I be held in the same respect and regard as the males in this field?
So let me ask you this. Do you think the male bloggers and social media “experts” receive more respect than women?