Just in case it really is just me and my Facebook feed full of poets, but shit hit the fan over the past week or so when a white dude put on fake-Asian-fake-female-face because that was the only way he could figure out how to get published.
Maybe he just ain't that good of a writer, folx?
- In 2013, a Bay Area news report about an Asian Air crash listed the pilots’ names as Ho Lee Fuk, Wi Tu Lo, Sum Ting Wong, and Bang Ding Ow, presumably because these names appeared sufficiently believable.
As a poet who uses a pseudo-pseudonym I suppose I could take questions here. Or talk about it. I publish under a gender-neutral name because I prefer readers (and/or editors, I guess) not to know my gender identity off the bat when they are approaching my poems. However, if you get to my bio, it'll be clear to you what that gender identity is. I choose to obscure my identity in part to avoid readers observing that identity and assuming that that identity is the speaker behind my poems. I have written poems I view as being spoken by men, women, straight men, straight women, gay/bi women (sorry no gay males) and, sometimes, I do not have a gender in mind and don't think it's important to know about the speaker of a poem. I also in general prefer not to identify as a woman if I can help it. I will absolutely speak up and about my gender identity if it becomes relevant to the conversation, like if we're talking about sexism or gender issues, but besides that, I like it to be a non-issue. Why? Because my gender is none of your business, essentially. Because my gender doesn't limit my education, intelligence, charm, asshole-ry or anything else - though it does admittedly limit how much testosterone my body produces, for example.
How is my pseudonym different from White Dude's? A question that I think must be asked. Because White Dude is a member of the dominant white culture and as such enjoys all the privileges of being the dominant class thereof. The conquering class thereof, one might even say. Let's consider: he only puts out poems under an alternate, underprivileged identity when his own, that of an established writer and seemingly-white man, doesn't do it - when he can't get poems published under his real name and identity, when his existing advantages aren't enough, he assumes another identity and reaps what few 'advantages' it might have in the context of poetry, When he chooses to masquerade as an Asian woman, he is stepping into that identity when he chooses, and leaving that identity when it no longer becomes convenient. I am unable to leave the identity of being a woman, which means it gets used against me when I don't want it to. When I de-gender my publication name, I'm preventing things like what happened a month ago over at B O D Y - where editors thought it was cool to factor in their personal opinions of a poet's bio photo when it came to making their accept/decline decision. Read it and weep. I'm not taking advantage of whatever cultural and gendered options lie in front of me until one of them fools an editor into accepting my work. I'm literally hiding myself because I think that's favorable. Because I'd rather not think that editors are judging my photo instead of my poems.
blah, blah blah, blah blah blah blah.