Male blogger outs herself as a single mom

by singlemomseeking on December 14, 2009

I noticed this interesting thread on Twitter today —  re: “Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants” — so of course, I clicked over to read the post.

You’ve really got to read the post in its entirity because it’s incredibly touching and honest. In short, a successful writer at one of my favorite blogs, Copyblogger, starts with this:

“You know me as a regular Copyblogger contributor for just shy of two years. And yet, I’m a woman.

This is not a joke or an angle or an analogy — I’m literally a woman.”

She goes on to tell her story: she was a single mom with two young daughters who’d left an an unhealthy relationship. “The welfare application was on my kitchen table. It was filled out and signed…”

You’ve really got to read the whole story here, about her crappy jobs (writing gigs that paid $1.50 per article!) and the day that she “tossed out a pen name, because I didn’t want to be associated with my current business, the one that was still struggling to grow. I picked a name that sounded to me like it might convey a good business image. Like it might command respect.”

She sums it up: “My life changed that day.”

Most of her fans are applauding her for being so honest. Others say they’re angry because there’s still such a gender divide in the workplace. Some, however, have responded to say that her story sickens them.

Of course, I’m now following her on Twitter — Men with Pens — and I laughed when I read her recent Tweet about “coming out:”

“The funniest part? Commentators who used to write that I knew nothing about women. Mmhm.”


What do YOU think?

On a practical note, I can’t help but wonder how she handled phone calls with clients. (Didn’t folks ask to chat with her on the phone, and then wonder why James was a woman?).


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Gabi December 28, 2009 at 11:34 am

WOW! I guess I’m oblivious. I really thought those stereotypes and prejudices were over. But I say Kudos to her for doing what she needed to do to make life what it should be for her kids! Very cool!!!
.-= Gabi´s last blog ..Evan =-.

Reply December 20, 2009 at 1:43 am

One word: Cool


Travis December 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm


Wow, I’ve been to CopyBlogger many times, and saw it years ago. It doesn’t even change my perception of the work and the talent that went behind the writing and the site.

Of course, I’ve never been the type to be biased. I’ve hired women when I’ve managed a tech department. I picked some really good talent, who are still their today.

I personally would like to read/hear the stories behind some of the details of her work.
.-= Travis´s last blog ..It Could Start A Fire, It Could Light Up The Sky =-.


BigLittleWolf December 17, 2009 at 7:03 am

I have experimented – writing as a man, writing as a woman, and writing with a gender neutral name, wherein my gender was not indicated in the content of the writing.

The “responses” were surprisingly different. From a gender-neutral author, the assumption was that I was male. Writing as a man, there was no question I was a male. Men gave my writing more authority, when I wrote as a male. Women responded in a similar fashion to what I wrote, regardless of what sex they thought I was.

Draw your own conclusions.

I say bravo to copyblogger for finding a way to provide for her family. Period.
.-= BigLittleWolf´s last blog ..Three little words =-.


Vanna December 16, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Ahh, sociology. It’s not just gender, it’s race too. I mean names like emily and Bob would generally get a faster response while names like Jamal and Janelle are kept waiting.


Avigail74 December 15, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I’ve been in “James” position—where I was broke, lived in a shabby one bedroom apartment facing the alley, got out of a very, very tough marriage–I know that feeling—Survival—you’ll do almost anything to keep your children safe with a roof over your head. You may lie a little bit, you may turn your story around a little bit, you may tweak things on your job application a little bit–just to get a job—so you can live in a place with a roof over your head–so your girls can eat food on a table. I get it.

I also get that it’s still a man’s world. I experience it all the time at work—I’ll say something radical—no turns their head–but when a man says the same thing as me—everyone turns their head to listen in awe. We’ve got a long way to go baby!
.-= Avigail74´s last blog ..Gypsy Family =-.


Lance December 15, 2009 at 8:58 pm

That’s amazing. There’s a book in there somewhere. If I had been in those circumstances, there’s no question I would have done the same thing. You gotta make it, no matter what. Take on a pen name of the opposite sex? Sign me up. Writers have been doing this forever.
.-= Lance´s last blog ..A Tale of A Compromise =-.


singlemomseeking December 17, 2009 at 11:23 am

@Lance: I did notice on Twitter that someone said she should write a book. I’d read it for sure.


MommaSunshine December 15, 2009 at 3:43 pm

I think it’s sad that we still live in a society where gender matters so much.
.-= MommaSunshine´s last blog ..Hopes, Dreams and Goals For 2010 =-.


Maggie December 15, 2009 at 12:19 pm

It amazes me how the male / female thing still exists in American society. My gosh, there are female doctors, lawyers, CEOs but there is still an issue with us being taken seriously. What the heck!

I think it’s great this fab gal got through! You go girl!
.-= Maggie´s last blog ..My eldest is getting picked on at school and it breaks my heart =-.


MindyMom/Single Mom Says... December 15, 2009 at 8:58 am

Wow, very interesting. I do think there is some validity to being taken more seriously and being more successful as a man writer – even when you are a woman. I will definitely go check out her story.
.-= MindyMom/Single Mom Says…´s last blog ..Getting What We Want =-.


Coachdad December 15, 2009 at 12:02 am

I have to go read this now! The opposite of “Tootsie”?
.-= Coachdad´s last blog ..Break needed so I can work again =-.


T December 14, 2009 at 9:49 pm

What a great story! I’ll have to read more!
.-= T´s last blog ..The Bear and the Butterfly =-.


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