Today I got mistaken for being a dude. Not by the way I look or by the way I dress, but apparently by the way I email. (And I guess it doesn't help that my name is one of those that can be a guy or girl's name, but I always thought people would default girl ...) Anyway, check out this response I got from a tech blogger:
"Fantastic! Thanks man, can't wait to get the word out some more and make some happy readers :) Not to mention getting some more customers your way! Thanks again dude! -Matt"
Just a quick recap for you newbie readers, I am PR Working Girl and I work with bloggers and reporters to get them to help me spread the good word about my clients. In this case, I have a tech client and this Matt person is a blogger who is pretty pumped to review my client's new product on his blog.
SO. When I read this, I laughed. Then, I couldn't help but be like, but wait a minute, um, I'm a GIRL! I take it that the use of pet names like "man" and "dude" signify that Matt and I are now "buddies" ... which I guess is a good thing. I replied back with a simple, "No problem!" I didn't correct him, the sympathetic girl in me didn't want to hurt his feelings or risk him becoming so embarrased he decides not to write about my client. Was that the right thing to do?
As a PR Working Girl, I've learned that I need to "talk the talk" when it comes to working with bloggers and reporters. They are quite cunning and can see right through fluff. If I can talk like them, be like them, think like them, it builds this great crediblity and mojo between us; soon, they trust me and wah-la, we have a relationship. From there, I can then count on them to read my emails and listen to my pitches, and hey, if we're friends, they seem more likely to want to write about whatever news, nonsense or actually relevant, my clients come up with. Just kidding, we always have relevant news to share.
(Is it Friday? My sarcastic side tends to come out full force at this time.)
But when I genuinely get mistaken for being a dude, I have to stop and think if I'm taking it too far. Yes, this has happened before! Should I throw in more femininity in my writing, or just keep pretending to be a guy to those who like to believe that I am? Should I take it as a "professional compliment" that an esteemed tech blogger thinks I'm his bro? What does this all mean in terms of feminism in the workforce? I have a book given to me by an old boss of mine (a female boss) titled, Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman. I guess essentially that's what I'm doing, right?? I feel confused and torn.
Another funny thing about this situation is that my two other clients are incredibly girly, glamorous and fun fashion-y types. So when I'm emailing with them or pitching totally opposite side of the specturm design and fashion bloggers, I have to turn on the savvy and sassy part of me and bring out the exclamation marks, smiley faces and over-use all sorts of adverb/adjectives like "super cute" and "totally adorable," as well as sign all my notes with a loving "xo." (Although, it is interesting to note that Matt himself used several exclamations and a smiley face ...)
Anyone else out there who plays up their "masculine" side, or feminine side, to their professional advantage? How's it working for you?