Does your assumption about someone's gender change how you view their parenting advice (ridiculously long)?
I’m female. I’m a married mom of four kids. I used to post here as “mom as 4”. After being seriously harassed by a couple of creepy people, I started a new account with a male avatar (with a gender-neutral name) with the sole intention of ending the harassment. It worked beautifully; the harassment stopped. [Interestingly, my questions and answers, which previously were perceived as totally unremarkable, suddenly began to be showered with compliments. I could write an entire book on what I’ve learned about how people treat someone based on their perceived gender. ]
In my defense, such as it is, I’ve never once said I’m male. Never once. I’ve said explicitly on this board that I don’t reveal everything about myself online and that though I wouldn’t lie, I would and do allow other people’s misimpressions of me on here to stand uncorrected. I’ve never answered a single question directed towards dads or men, or to which I thought my gender was somehow relevant to evaluating my answer (and I’ve answered hundreds of questions directed towards moms and women).
Every single thing I’ve ever said in any question or answer is true; every opinion I’ve given is my own; every fact I’ve shared about my experiences with my kids is real; my exchanges with all of you, whether I like you or not, have all been utterly genuine. My face doesn’t match my avatar, but I am exactly what you’ve seen in all other ways. The avatar was never for a second intended to deceive real users, just to put off creepy trolls. I’ve kept my email off largely because I thought that developing that kind of personal relationship ethically required revealing my real gender. It was never my intention to seek out or make friends on this board at all; that has happened quite by accident. I honestly never expected to be particularly noticed on this board, and even if I were, I didn’t think my gender would be relevant. I’ve had dozens of conversations with real-life friends who assured me that my gender was irrelevant to my opinions and there was nothing wrong with using a male avatar on an anonymous site like this one; I’ve even had multiple exchanges with people on this board where virtually everyone said that they wouldn’t care about something like that. I allowed myself to be reassured by those exchanges, but at this point I’ve decided I should not have. I shouldn’t have done it, and I regret it.
So, there it is. I am “desmeran,” but desmeran is not a guy. I hope nobody cares. If you do care, you have my apology. And if you’re all sufficiently irked, or if the “boy who cried wolf” effect is strong enough that you find it hard to believe anything else I say, then I can acknowledge that I brought that on myself, and I suppose that will probably be a good impetus for me to finally go do something more productive with my day. If you want me to stay out of your questions, please make that clear by blocking me, and I will honor that.
Off to change my avatar and absorb some well-earned criticism.