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Why do people online think I'm a guy?
Old 11-08-2010, 11:42 PM   #1
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Why do people online think I'm a guy?

In the last couple of days I've been referred to as "he" by two different people responding to my comments on "Should Public Pensions start Later?" and IIRC by someone else recently on another thread. This has happened at least once at bogleheads, too. I signed my introductory post with an obviously female name, my profile says I'm female, and I've mentioned in passing any number of times that I'm a woman. So why do people online mistake me for a man?

I don't understand this, and I'm starting to find it more than a little disconcerting. Does anyone else get mistaken for the opposite sex online?
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:54 PM   #2
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Don't feel bad, my birth name is gender neutral. I have been assigned male roommates and placed in male PE classes by paper processors in my youth. Some people on the board know I am female, others don't. Being addressed as the wrong gender has never bothered me because it was either irrelevant or inadvertent. Now if they called me stupid, that would bother me!

I think some assume I am male because I can be assertive and when a student was in a then male dominated major.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:58 PM   #3
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I honestly wasn't sure, my apologies for the confusion. For people with ambiguous screen names, I look for things like them having feminine avatars, talking about their DH or boyfriends. However, once they are foolish enough to engage in political debates on the internet, I assume they have to be guys, cause woman are generally too smart to do it.

Of course, I guess I could just click on the profile and see for sure , but people often don't fill these out.

I thought Brat was a guy also and her about me doesn't even list gender.
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:34 AM   #4
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I don't know that I typically check my assumptions about the gender of those to whom I correspond with ...it's possible though....maybe more so if for example their avatar suggests a gender ... but choclate chip cookies could go either way for me.

Why is this disconcerting? Do you sense it's made a difference in your interractions with others on the forum?
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:22 AM   #5
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There are no women on the internet. Men are men. Women are men. And children are FBI agents. I thought everyone knew this. You're welcome. ;-)
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:38 AM   #6
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LOL...
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:12 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
I signed my introductory post with an obviously female name, my profile says I'm female, and I've mentioned in passing any number of times that I'm a woman. So why do people online mistake me for a man?
Like clifp said, it might be because you started a debate thread.

It happens the other way too. Recently, Birdie Num Nums was mistaken for a woman. It could be because of his screen name.

I usually check out the poster's gender before I reply. For frequent posters, that is usually not necessary due to my uncommon superior memory.


PS. For example, I see that aldo is reading this thread, and I remember that he delurked to quote a one-liner joke from Groucho Marx.

PPS. When I first came here, I though Khan and CuppaJoe were men. But most people made the same mistake because they were "hiding". They came out of the closet later.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:32 AM   #8
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You could choose a more girly avatar or sig line. I wouldn't have known you were a woman based on your posts but I'm usually way too slack to actually go read someone's profile unless I think you are a spammer.
I dunno, my name is Sarah. That's kinda hard to get wrong, plus I've got a reasonably feminine pic as my avatar. Maybe you could try that?
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:39 AM   #9
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Its the virtual penis that appears in every one of your posts. Can't you see it?
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:53 AM   #10
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Your new avatar:

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Old 11-09-2010, 08:59 AM   #11
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:04 AM   #12
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If it matters, you can use a signature line that identifies your gender, like some people do. Or an avatar. Or enjoy the confusion--by now most people realize Khan is not a man and the confusion was fun (I was one who defaulted her to a he).
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:10 AM   #13
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"Why do people online think I'm a guy?"

I guess they aren't paying attention? I have always thought of you as a woman, if that makes you feel any better. Absolutely, unequivocably female, an outspoken woman with strong and interesting opinions.

In contrast, I thought that both CuppaJoe and Khan were men, at first, when really they are women as well. It is sometimes difficult to tell, online, especially when a woman is confident and secure in her own identity and also primarily discusses topics other than lingerie, cooking, pets, and bacon, for example.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:29 AM   #14
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... lingerie...
Really? Here in this forum?

Oh, I remember now that someone suggested that as a way to recycle used dryer sheets.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:51 AM   #15
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It's the internet. You can make all the assumptions you want but honestly, how much do you really know about any one member? For example... I could be a pencil necked 17 year old boy. How would you really know?

A nice pink signature could help with assumptions:

Forget love...I'd rather fall in chocolate!


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Old 11-09-2010, 09:56 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
So why do people online mistake me for a man?

I don't understand this, and I'm starting to find it more than a little disconcerting.
Why is this important to you?

To paraphrase MLK:
A posts should be judged by the quality and content of the post, not the sex of the poster.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:57 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
You could choose a more girly avatar or sig line. I wouldn't have known you were a woman based on your posts but I'm usually way too slack to actually go read someone's profile unless I think you are a spammer.
I dunno, my name is Sarah. That's kinda hard to get wrong, plus I've got a reasonably feminine pic as my avatar. Maybe you could try that?
My avatar comes from a childhood nickname. My mom used to call me "Cookie" when I was a little girl. I always thought it was much too cutesy to be a man's avatar.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:58 AM   #18
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I never realized it was a cookie, strangely enough. Thanks! That IS cute now that I know what it is.

One idea for an unequivocably feminine avatar is to use a photograph of a sexy model/actress, like I usually use for my avatar (not using it today, today I am using a 1965 photo of myself). But when using a sexy model or actress as an avatar, be prepared for a lot of PMs from guys who think it is a photo of you and want to get to know you a lot better.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:58 AM   #19
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For example... I could be a pencil necked 17 year old boy. How would you really know?
No, not you! I happened to run across something, and due to my superior memory again, was able to make the connection.

Don't worry, I am not a stalker.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:59 AM   #20
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So why do people online mistake me for a man?
I don't understand this, and I'm starting to find it more than a little disconcerting. Does anyone else get mistaken for the opposite sex online?
Frankly I hadn't even thought about it. Would that admission be more or less disconcerting?

It's a challenge to write in a gender-neutral style, and I try to do it whenever I remember to.

I don't believe that I've ever been mistaken for the opposite sex online. But when we're at taekwondo, my daughter tells me that I kick like a girl...
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