I’ve decided at last to switch off the ‘Grrl in Progress’ nom de plume. I have not picked an official pen name (this should not be so complicated, but damn it, I’m gonna be stuck with it for a good long while, so I want to make sure it feels right), so you guys may see me change my publicly viewed name on here a few times as I test things out to see them in print. (If I comment on something, one day I might be ‘shelby’, another I might be ‘shel’, etc.)
At the moment I’m debating on even something as basic as going with ‘Shelby’ or ‘Shel’. I go by both, irl, and have absolutely no preference between the two. I’ve mentioned in a previous post on the subject that ‘Shelby’ is what people have been calling me since I was a kid since my legal name just doesn’t match me. Over time, a lot of people just assumed ‘Shelby’ was my legal, given name, and started abbreviating it to ‘Shel’, which I also like well enough. I guess I tend to introduce myself both ways based on…I don’t know, whatever way the wind happens to be blowing. I’ve actually had people ask me which I prefer, and my answer tends to be a shrug followed by “whichever”.
I thought I would go with Shelby, since that’s what I refer to myself on the blog as. I figure I introduced myself as ‘Shelby’ and ought to be consistent to keep from driving people nuts, even if I tend to use them interchangeably irl.
As ‘Shel’ is more gender-neutral (technically, both are gender neutral, but Shelby has been popularized as a girl’s name for a good long while, while Shel is as likely to be short for Shelby as it is to be short for Sheldon.), it might be the smarter choice. Granted, it’s fricking obvious I’m a girl with this voice of mine, and I’m not aiming to hide that. But, it is a part of the equation I should give some thought.
We want to believe that male names and female names are roughly equal when you plug in search terms, but research has proven somewhat to the contrary; there’s still an internal bias where non-feminine names are more likely to get more clicks, where female names are marketed differently. It sucks, but it’s proven time and again. Is that a self-fulfilling prophecy, since so many women are still choosing to market themselves from behind that thin veil? That’s a chicken and egg question.
So, I’ll be bouncing back and forth between the two for a bit, as I try to make up my mind on the subject of which I like the look of better in print.