Similar to my tendencies of indecisiveness of whether or not to blog, I've had the constant battle of whether or not to upload a photo of myself for the corner "About Me" section.
Every author blog I've yet to stumble upon has the all too familiar author headshot sitting in the corner, starting at the reader on the other side of the screen. I'm sure that this gives some sort of personalization with the reader. When people can look at a photo and go 'Ah, that's who wrote this', I'm sure it gives them a sense of connection. I do have to wonder though, to what cost? Isn't the best part about reading a book the mysteriousness of story telling? Doesn't that somewhat become shaded over with some invisible haze when we find out the gender of authors?
Being that this is a worry of mine, I keep my pen name to a neutral, unrelated to gender, name. I can't help but fathom how one's writing becomes depicted in the subconscious dwellings of our mind when we become aware of an author's gender. I feel it can put limitations on writers. "Women know best of this subject, and men prevail in writing on those topics" are things that come up, even nowadays, generations after gender equality has been legally established. Even in modern times we have stigmas as to what's right for either gender.
Though, I'm not sure how long it could last, I like remaining gender neutral. I wouldn't want someone judging my work for how a male or female writer should write. Quite honestly I don't want it to be judged at all, but would rather it be a story to take someones mind off the everyday hassles of life. Then again, what is life without some sort of judgement. It's one of the main things as a modern society we do have to dwell upon. Turn on the television and you'll see judgements happening left and right.
Of course, I don't have any pieces of work floating around quite yet. At the moment I lack the need to be judged, however when they are out there, I'd hope for at least a minuscule amount of time that they could be judged for what they are, rather than for whom wrote them.
Your gender anonymous,
P.S. I'm not completely insane. I do in fact realize that the majority of people reading this at the present time are well aware of my masculinity/femininity as you all are friends and family. Eventually there shall be others ;)