While having a few posts go viral, I’ve noticed some distressing trends.
Despite having my name on basically every post I make, readers still seem to be confused about my gender. It would be one thing if they were not presuming pronouns, but it seems like, really, everyone just assumes that writers (especially for pop culture and gaming) on the internet are men.
It’s unclear to me why this is. I’ve always thought of writing as something relatively gender neutral, but I guess that the topics of pop culture and gaming critique is considered to be somewhat masculine. The fact that I am into gaming and criticizing (or even just commenting on) pop culture when I am not specifically talking about women will often lead to readers calling me “he” in the comments. My name nor picture is hidden on any of these articles. I think most people’s first assumption would be that I’m a woman. However, most comments come from a place of hate and (often) not reading the article at all. If a commenter hasn’t read the article, does their comment really matter?
My answer is that it does and it doesn’t. It’s adding to the discourse around the article, and, despite what everyone is told, people do read the comments. When the comments are all unfounded criticisms and people telling others to read the article before commenting, has it actually made an impact? This hasn’t completely taken over any of my articles yet, but it is certainly a present factor.
The other disturbing accusation is that I’m somehow hiding my gender or my commentary is less important because of it. On more than one article, I’ve seen comments more or less along the lines of “a woman wrote this.” This isn’t hidden information. Moreover, it comes with the implication that my writing is less valid. If a woman writes about gender, the assumption is that she is inherently biased. Meanwhile, many still see men as unbiased beings. If a man writes about gender, he is listened to, for better or worse.
When it all comes down to it, however, this doesn’t affect my day-to-day life. Sure, I am a firm believer that women should be more easily visible in pop culture and gaming, but being misgendered doesn’t hold the same weight as it does to someone who isn’t cis gender. The trend of assuming gender doesn’t stop at women being recognized for their writing contributions. It extends far into the LGBTQIA+ community. Unless the writing is ghost writing, the author’s name identity is there for the reader.