I Applied for Jobs Using a Man’s Name Getting Treated Better Than My Real Female Self
In the recent months, I used a man’s name applying to the same places I once asked for work under my real female name. Shocker! People were more respectful to me as the male alias. I researched names of men who weren’t actual journalists for a fair experiment, deciding on one common enough nobody would doubt because it belonged to a pro athlete, corporate men, and everyday students. I waited some time between female named me and male named me applying for work to go under the radar.
My experiment proves sexism is alive and well. The #metoo movement camouflages it, but it exists and shall exist well beyond my lifetime. Because I apply under a female name, I am undeserving of employment. I never experience sexism like this dealing with people I meet in the entertainment industry. Everywhere else? Oh, yes. You probably do too, or if you are a man, your sister is, your mom is, your female BFF is, and your girlfriend is.
The manly me was given rejection letters written respectfully, long and short. They didn’t have a freelancer budget but thanked him for his time, as most of the rejection letters went. Some people WITHOUT him sending previously written clips offered to add him in a freelancer database for when they need someone. They took his word for it! Only ONE editor asked me questions about my work history and samples.
What happens under a female name? Ghosting. Lots of ghosting. People under my female name seem to see my messages and go, “Ah, female applicant. Trash that e-mail.” When I do hear back, they don’t take my word for it as they do with manly me. I get quizzed by people about my writing credentials and after that, “Can we SEE the samples of your work?” if they didn’t notice I already sent them. I have to resend the clips. But, mostly? Ghosting. For me to be treated like a human being with a decent, legitimate explanation in a normal, professional rejection letter? I have to use a man’s name. How awful!
Post #metoo, lots of bizarre excuses as to why they couldn’t hire me that sound like stuff in the Monopoly game’s Chance cards, people being curious asking me nosy new neighbor type personal questions that had nothing to do with the work I was seeking, or my personal favorite, the majority I deal with like I said, people ghosting me.
Before the #metoo movement, it was that in combination with people telling me off crudely and bizarre sexual stuff. People asking me out, asking me to date their relatives as if I asked, telling me sexually explicit things, asking me sex themed questions, refusing to hire me because I didn’t go out with them, asking me if I was single, well, what didn’t happen?
Mind you, this is all for applying for freelance journalism. Mainstream, non-Hollywood side employment because I shouldn’t have to give up journalism because some people think I don’t deserve to work in the profession. I am not going to stop seeking work because of a few, OK, many setbacks. Nor should you quit pursuing it. Pursue it more to prove people wrong!
Yes, in 2019, people judge us based on male versus female names, ethnic versus standard “American” names, smart versus dumb names. You see these articles online thinking, “These aren’t real surveys of American hiring structures,” but they are, oh yes indeed, they are real. Look what happened to me. Call it my Mulan moment. I don’t understand why I am being punished for being female when in fact, if people who don’t want anything took the name to know me, they could learn the inner me aligns more closely with a stereotypical male personality. They don’t. Because I am Nic. Nicole. Nicole the female applicant.
I hope this changes.
Edit from tonight: I can finally reveal I made a SECOND fake men’s name with the same results to prove I wasn’t imagining sexism! Posting my findings because it seems “Nick” is a hot ticket. He has barely applied to the number of freelance journalism gigs I am regularly rejected from and, like fake name 1, already on waiting lists to write for some folks. Nick, with one exception, doesn’t have to prove he can write or mention where he has written for the most part. He doesn’t need to because existing as a male applicant is good enough! See for yourself.
Secondly, I wanted to include my reply to someone on my Twitter pals who wondered if my being on social media could lead employers to discredit my qualifications. Not at all, I argue, because they regularly employ people who on social media go on political rants, pose in really “sexy” if any clothing, have tattoos, post their alcohol binges, and use crude language. People needn’t hide who they are to get employment and tattoo shaming sucks, but I and my social media feed are vanilla compared to all that. The biggest incident on my Twitter in the past year? People debating pro and con CGI versus practical effects with me until two people of the many positive people turned rude whom I blocked. Nothing says “rebel without a cause we shouldn’t hire” like a girl who voices her opinions on good and bad usages of CGI! #rollingmyeyes