Bent Monday March 14, 2005, 6 comments

Ever heard of genderhacking? Go on, google it. When a man pretends to be a woman, or more rarely a woman pretends to be a man online, it’s called genderhacking. What a great word.

I just read a really interesting article on the phenomenon. It goes through some of the associated psychology, specifically the reasons why a man would pretend to be a woman online, and interestingly, some techniques for flushing out genderhacked individuals.

The usual suspects arise in the article when looking into the reasons for genderhacking. Men “exploring their feminine sides,” attention-seeking, investigation of male-female relationships, opportunism in online game situations, latent homosexuality and transsexuality all come to play.

How boring.

I may not be a psychologist, and I don’t even play one on the ‘net, but I can tell you a thing or two about genderhacking.

I spent two and a half years as a female on an exceptionally busy and quite famous technology site. It started off innocently, as an off-the-cuff decision to assume a female role in hopes of more rapidly obtaining the information I was looking for. And it worked; my research was very rapidly concluded, within a matter of weeks.

The problem was that the female personality became just that, a personality. Not a persona I could slip on and off like a mask. It is tempting to say that it was addictive, being that other person, and maybe it was, but it was much more than just that. The female personality demanded attention, and attention she got.

Skeptics will choose this point to cry foul, that it was still me just pretending. The psychologists among you might be wondering about mental illness, schitzoid events. Maybe he just went mental, the lay people might say.

But no. The female personality was (and is, to me) real. It actually became easier to be her online than it was to be me. I invested her with much of my creative energy and talent, and as she grew and blossomed, as all personalities do, she demanded more and more energy of me.

It almost became frightening. It’s like this secondary personality was slowly crowding out my personality as she grew. She made friends online, became a central figure on the website, and actually became relatively well-known on related sites throughout the internet.

Meanwhile, I was getting more and more drained. I’ve only got one soul, or whatever you want to call it, and suddenly it was fueling two personalities, one of which was rapidly growing out of control. I slept less, I became lethargic, but she became more and more creative, more and more…real. My soul was wearing thin.

And then the crash came. Maybe I did it myself, maybe it just had to happen eventually. Whatever. Someone found out and challenged me privately. Told me to come out, or they would.

It was hard. I had to let her go. I had to come clean to all her friends. People she had got to know and who had got to know her. I had to tell them I had been lying to them for years, that she wasn’t real. It was hell.

I was miserable, but I did it. Better they hear it from me than from someone else. I told them. Most called me a freak, a pervert, a monstrosity, and I’ve never heard from them since. One even told me I was worse than a child molester, which I never understood, since the female personality had never been much more overtly sexual in nature than any other “real” woman online.

The female personality was exposed, and died a quick but excruciating death. With her went all the talent and creativity I had vested in her – or she had taken from me. My soul was a lot less thin, but my mind was a lot more empty.

I still miss her. She was like a best friend, and it felt like betrayal to kill her. Some of her friends have since become my friends, and some have even said they like me better than her. That’s cool. I know those people, and I value their friendships more than I can express.

I’m still upset about the others. I know I hurt them, and I accept their right to feel betrayed, but it still hurts me too. Every time she is brought up on that tech site, it starts off a flurry of questions, answers and accusations which dredge up the good times and the bad times I had with her.

“But she’s not real!” everyone exclaims.

She was, to me.


Comments

K Monday March 14, 2005


i’m very sure that i wouldn’t had gave you another chance if you’ve fooled me for 2 and a half years.
well you know my opinion about “that” and you also know that i gave you a 2nd chance but only because i didn’t know her very well…

be happy that i made an exception and that i have no regrets about this decision now.

K Monday March 14, 2005


btw:
she is real! because she is YOU – and you are so real! every person has its facets and she is just one of you…

CaptainPurple Tuesday March 15, 2005


Whoa, whoa, whoa… not everyone is who they claim to be on the internets?

Actually, some good has come of all that. Sweetie & I have made some rather good friends since that whole mess happened. Almost BECAUSE of it. So there AGAIN!

I really need to try out some de-caf…

CP

.sly Tuesday March 15, 2005


we all have regrets. do i regret what i did? sometimes. often wish i had kept my mouth shut. so many people hurt (including you.) i never meant to do that. honestly, i dont know what i meant to do. i was really just so shocked and was not thinking straight.

anyway, just wanted to say “sorry.” i don’t know what i would do now if i were in the same situation, but i do think i would handle it differently.

i hope that you still consider me a friend, and i hope that you’ll find the creativity that was her. after all, she was you.

.sly

IAmAnnette Tuesday January 31, 2006


Of Course ‘she’ is real!
As a writer, I am Annette but I am More than just she, “she is only a part of my rainbow”

On this internet we meet someone’s Mind. If they share themsleves we get to know their heart.
This medium lets me meet others for the first time without the pre-judgements that go with knowing someone’s gender, age or physical appearance.

IAmAnnette Tuesday January 31, 2006


Quote K: “i’m very sure that i wouldn’t had gave you another chance if you’ve fooled me for 2 and a half years.”

That is not the way I see it.

If I had a friend who held a secret like that from me I’d blame myself for their not being able to trust me.
It is my short coming, not theirs.

“K” says you’re lucky to get a 2d chance?

I don’t understand why it should matter to anyone what your gender is,
unless you two are dating!
(reach for the V and find a tree? laff now plz)

Being treated differently and worse, ‘limited’ by gender is near to my last nerve, I’ve lived it!
“What matters is
what the individual has in their head and in their heart;
it matters Nøt at all what is “danging or not dangling” between their legs.”

This is my inner truth:

“Whether it walks, crawls, swims or flys
if I love it, that is all that matters” { written by ME in 1964.

Commenting has ended for this post, but I'd still love to hear from you.

The website of Adrian Lebar

A Rain of Frogs is written, designed and built by Adrian Lebar, a twenty(!) year veteran of web design and development. He is currently managing web and mobile development teams at Canada’s largest and most beloved classifieds site, Kijiji!

He is a father, sailor, snowboarder, skier, cyclist, writer, artist, graphic designer, classically trained musician and afraid of heights.

Adrian is not currently available for freelance and contract work. Learn more.

Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
- Steve Jobs

Twitter

  • “This Is How Your Fear and Outrage Are Being Sold for Profit” by @TobiasRose t.co/USlBc2bup8 Tuesday July 25, 2017
  • t.co/kFOlRCeusb isn't about the subject, but the photographers relationship to the subject. t.co/1ixyhdniux via @YouTube Tuesday July 25, 2017
  • Thriller, Dragon's Lair, Ghostbusters, Vincent Price.Peak 80s or just a flashback to my childhood? t.co/1AgPFOb8Xc via @YouTube Monday July 24, 2017
  • “…entrepreneurship seems like a sport. And the score depends on scale. How big can you get? How fast?” — @jasonfried t.co/hgcUyO87yL Monday July 24, 2017
  • “…20-somethings on the Upper West Side in enormous apartments who almost never seem to actually work?”  — @AmyAndSir t.co/nYjnsLvCkz Monday July 24, 2017
  • I didn't know they were making a movie. Great book. Looking forward to seeing how it translates. t.co/uzysPeR1PW via @YouTube Monday July 17, 2017
  • An F-18 just flew over our house. Sunday July 16, 2017
  • From a wookie's perspective, Chewbacca is the handsome rogue and Han is the dumb sidekick communicating in animal noises. Friday July 14, 2017
  • I'm kinda digging on this. t.co/AfDCjaEz9u via @techcrunch Wednesday July 12, 2017
  • Everything is something. Except nothing — that's something else altogether. Tuesday July 11, 2017