The Internet can be one of the least sexist places in existence. However, the bastion of maleness that was the computer world (although I freely admit that is rapidly changing) is also capable of being one of the most sexist places.
I've been frequenting various places on the Internet where I am forced to choose a login or username for many years now. I was there for the initial BBS period (and was, at the time, amazed at the tech involved *laugh*), I've had countless e-mail accounts, tried the chat room thing, and participated in online collaborations. I even had/have (it's kind of shaky ground at the moment) an online journal.
I've had hundreds of different names - started with Dragongrrl, Beautiful Stranger, Raisin Girl, Professional Widow, Cornflake Girl ... most of my early online names were very gendered, brining the assumption that I was, in real life, female.
The assumption was correct.
However, many assumptions that were not correct and that I did not particularly enjoy also came along with that territory. Just a few of these precious gems:
I got tired of being hit on on the Internet. I got tired of being asked questions about relationships just because I'm a girl, so I should know how to solve the problems in other people's twisted little lives.
I got tired of people not taking my thoughts seriously.
So, here at Everything2, my login name is associated not only with what I say in Chatterbox (like chat rooms or BBSs) or with what I say in the nodes (somewhat like collaborations or my journal), but is associated with both, I decided to see what it felt like to drop the baggage that can come with having a gendered name on Everything2.
I cannot say how it would compare to having a gendered username on Everything2, as I never had one. For all I know, there may be very little difference between the two options here.
However, I don't really plan on finding out. My decision, I must say, has been remarkably freeing.
An interesting softlink to this node directs you to gender tourist. *pondering* If that was an intentional soft link, I think that link proved my point. If (and, I realize this is an assumption, but an intriguing one) that link was soft linking as commenting, it proves that any name which is not distinctly female is assumed to be male. Therefore, transform - a VERB, for Christ's sake - is assumed to be male and I am, as a real life female with such a name, considered to be a gender tourist.
If this is true, I'm no longer sure whether I'm glad that I choose a gender neutral name here or not. After all, I didn't really want people assuming that I'm some big-breasted geek girl (although, I actually am), but I didn't really want them assuming I was a man, either ...
If a using a verb as a login isn't the way to avoid gender typing, I can't imagine what would be.