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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just who do you think you are?!

A while back Polyamorymom made a comment about writing her blog anonymously. She cited an article about someone being fired from their job over their sex blog to explain her use of a pseudonym. (A copy of the article should be available here: http://www.inc.com/news/articles/2010/05/nonprofit-fires-woman-for-blogging-about-sex.html).

I thought about it a bit and realized I had been assuming people reading this blog were familiar with Polyamory and would understand why I use a pseudonym. Maybe that is a false assumption. So in this article I will explain a little bit.

As of the writing of this article Polyamory is still considered an Alternative Lifestyle and frowned upon by many. For reasons I don't completely agree with, a person using their real name on a blog could be linked back to an employer. In many employers opinion the lifestyle of the blogger could reflect negatively on the employer. The article at the link provided above gives an example of just that very thing happening.

Where I see disparity is that the same employers will often think nothing of taking clients out for drinks at the local bar. One could infer from such actions that the company promotes or encourages drinking. So what, you might think, drinking is a legal activity. Yes it is, but so is Polyamory. Even more interesting is that same company would likely fire an employee who drank at a party and posted pictures of their actions on a public site like Facebook. That seems like a contradictory policy to me.

Next up is discrimination. Using a real name gives people the ability to research you personally and financially. For some things, such as LinkedIn, Plaxo, or other social networking sites where the goal is a professional network that might be just fine. But do you really want some religious extremist who takes issue with Polyamory finding your address and doing something wonderful like burning a cross in your front yard? I know I don't.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent. I happen to have children. They are the innocent ones of which I'm speaking. Although I don't go to pains to hide my lifestyle, I also don't broadcast it to their friends, their friends parents, my neighbors, etc. I choose to keep my private life private to save my kids from having to answer the same silly questions about Poly that I often find myself answering. And to save them from the same disdain I have received from some people who don’t agree with my lifestyle. How will it effect my kids when they aren't allowed to play with their friends anymore after their parents find out I live a Poly lifestyle? Again, I don't like the choice but it is the best one I can find for my kids.

Hopefully all of that has explained why I write under a pseudonym.

What that doesn't explain is how I feel about doing so. I hate it. I really hope that someday people living any kind of lifestyle won't have to fear discrimination or persecution. They won't have to worry how it will affect their families or feel fear over their lifestyle choices. I don't like that I can't show my real face to my readers or let them know my real name so they can read my other, non-lifestyle related, writings. I don't like having to worry that I may someday be fired from my job because of my lifestyle or the things I write.
I don't like that I have to hide myself.

4 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you. I write with a pseudonym for the same reasons and I also hate it.

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  2. Someday, I hope to be able to drop the pseudonym, and blog openly. I suppose I hold out hope for having an employer with whom I would feel comfortable enough to share the fact that I am polyamorous. I'm not holding my breath, but it could happen.

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  3. Although I do not like the idea that bloggers need to conceal their identity because of their job, I understand the reality of the fact. I used to follow an interesting blog, with sexual content. It was well written by a woman who worked for the United Nations. As early as 2005, she was harassed by her employer to take down the blog. So she started another blog, and navigated it away from her identity. That blog was discovered and she again had to remove the new one. I'm not certain if she continues to blog or continues to work for the UN. But I do understand that intelligent people must blog under a pseudonym to protect their families, their jobs, and their reputation.

    This is not just limited to blogs containing sexual content. One teacher, who goes by the name of Mrs. Q, writes this anonymous blog: http://fedupwithschoollunch.blogspot.com/ That blog has 4531 followers. I wonder, has she been able to remain anonymous with that kind of a following?

    It is not unusual to blog with a pseudonym and is now the norm.

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  4. Thanks everyone for the great comments!

    PP

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