Gender Bender

19:45:00

Don't you just love it when someone mistakes you for a woman because of your job?

This happened to me recently...


I'm the online merchandiser for a jewellery company. My job means I'm in charge of most aspects of their digital identity; their voice and presentation: web graphics, blog, customer emails and social media. Yup, me. A man telling women what jewellery to buy and why. 

During a recent conversation with another blogger, a possible case of misunderstanding led to the assumption that I was a woman. After a light-hearted reveal of my identity, I was praised on "doing such a top notch job of being a girlie" I had not, to my knowledge, acted in a particularly feminine way nor made comments suggesting to my gender; I'd simply done my job.
Why should I have to be pretending to be female? Is the general opinion that any style source must be "manned" by a woman?

Women in the fashion industry tend to be the editors, the stylists, the critics and the consumers. Yes, the product is created for women, but the source is typically male: Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, Manolo Blahnik. For every Coco Chanel, there is a Jean Paul Gaultier, for every Stella McCartney, there is an Yves Saint Laurent.
This is not a generalised stereotype on the designer/editor divide. The likes of Vogue & Marie Claire are driven by the powerful Anna Wintour and Joanna Coles. However, move down the hierarchy and Marie Claire's own accessory director Kyle Anderson (@kyleeditor) is male - does his opinion matter less? 

My employer is a man passionate about jewellery and the emotional connections women make to it. I've worked for the company since 2002 from shop floor to my current position. Countless women have trusted my advice and opinion on jewellery - does the blogosphere not share this open-mindedness? Was this  an innocent oversight or a slightly skewed view? 

Thank you to the women who have trusted my judgement and I hope I made you happy with your choices.


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