Men With Pens

Women have been using pen names to overcome the difficulty in gaining a reputation as a respectable writer. Jill Walker points to a modern example of how one woman found that opportunities presented themselves in greater numbers when she took on the name “James” . She was able to create a successful writing persona, and built a blog on writing and design advice called Men With Pens.

The example is more poignant when one considers how machismo the site is. Walker points the obvious phallic suggestions of the title and title graphic as well as the photo of welding below it, but everything down to the gunmetal background of the banner and the brick background of the body suggests an inflated sense of masculinity.

It worked. The site is one of the most popular writing advice sites, and James was able to keep her identity secret for three years. Perhaps this persona is an appeal to the male fantasy of fulfilling some socially ordained image of success. Either way, her writing is good and her design advice is sound. It’s a shame she had to resort to this to receive the credit she deserves.