Call Her George: Women Writers with Male Monikers, Part 2

Filed in From the Desk of... by on March 17, 2014 1 Comment

Womens HistoryWhat do the names George Elliot, Ellis Bell, Isak Dinesen, George Sand, and J.D. Robb all have in common? These are all names women writers have used to publish their books. In honor of Women’s History Month, this blog invites you to gain perspective on the female writer’s motives behind using a male pseudonym.

So why would a female writer use a male name? Looking at this from a sociological perspective, some female writers felt their female identities prevented them from being taken seriously. Using a male name ensured a female writer was taken seriously, and invited the then male audience to explore the female author’s insights without stereotypes. The Bronte sisters’ intention for publishing their collective works under the name “The Bell Brothers” was to protect themselves from the social and gender constructs surrounding 19th century woman writer. George Elliot, for instance, wanted to disassociate from the stereotype of the female author penning fluffy romance novels. She also deflected projections of prejudice.

Such proactive measures, once common in a time when women had less visibility in the literary and intellectual realm still occur to this day. Using a male moniker can be useful if the female author wants to connect to a male audience without the bias of such crowd. The proactivity in women shielding their identity by using a male name to be taken more seriously is still relevant and shows a determination to be heard.

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About the Author ()

Krystina Murray is a Staff Editor at Xulon Press with over six years of editing experience. When she isn’t helping writers improve their manuscripts, she devotes her time to crafting poetry and short stories, maintains an exciting food blog and completes copy writing advertisements for small businesses.

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  1. avatar Derek says:

    First I want to state that I am a Christian. When is it right to deceive people on purpose?
    Pro. 26:18,19
    26:18 Like a madman who shoots
    firebrands and deadly arrows,
    26:19 so is a person who deceives his neighbor,
    and says, “Was I not only joking?”
    This was a person who was doing it in a joking way and admits it. Writing under a pseudonym is deception on purpose without telling which would be a more serious offense than the first.

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