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Men with Pens run by woman named James Chartrand

December 16, 2009

Does Gender Matter on the Web? James Chartrand Thinks So, writes Jessica Bennett in Newsweek (12-15-09). The Canadian woman who started the Men with Pens blog did so because she knew people took men more seriously. Her pay rate doubled, and "what got me the most was not necessarily that I got more money, but that nobody questioned it. Nobody told me it was too expensive. Nobody asked me to bring it down. And even today, when I use my real name and I do business, there is always, always, ďIs that the lowest you can go?Ē
Chartrand herself explains the deception in the essay Why James Chartrand
Wears Womenís Underpants
. "Taking a manís name opened up a new world. It helped me earn double and triple the income of my true name, with the same work and service. No hassles. Higher acceptance. And gratifying respect for my talents and round-the-clock work ethic. Business opportunities fell into my lap. People asked for my advice, and they thanked me for it, too. Did I quit promoting my own name? Hell yeah."

Taylor's a Feminist, But So Is James, writes one of the Men with Pens bloggers, in a defense of the deception. Other reactions include those of Amanda Hess in Washington City Paper: James Chartrandís Constructed Masculinity Goes Far Beyond the Pen Name. Hess quotes Jessica Wakeman, of The Frisky, who argues in Blogger "James Chartrand" Outs Herself As A Female that "Chartrand just contributed to the stereotype that male copywriters are more talented than women copywriters when thatís obviously not true. It takes everyone to change sexism, racism, heterosexism, etc., not just those of us self-proclaimed 'activists' who feel up to it."

One final confession from James on the "Canadian" Men with Pens blog: I am not Canadian.