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Here’s a question of gender identity from Stuart, living in Lyon but from Newcastle:
I am working in a call centre for the summer. However the problem I seem to have is no matter how gruff I try to sound, I get mistaken for a woman so much that I have assumed Judith as my female alter ego in the office.
While this is great when someone complains about ‘Judith’, it leaves me asking whether I should really be correcting the customers (going against the mantra of ‘the customer is always right’) and trying to reestablish my masculine credentials.
You sound like you are already quite comfortable with your masculine credentials, if you’ve allowed Judith to be brought to life, rather than just announcing yourself as ‘Mister Stuart’ at the start of every phone conversation. Instead of killing her off, why not use this opportunity to explore the myriad other female identities lurking within you? Come into work wearing Judith’s sensible shoes and box-pleated skirts. If you’re doing a late shift, change into something slinkier and conduct your phone calls as sexy Sarah. When you get bored of her, no doubt the varied costumes and accents of Brigitta, Haruko and Svetlana will keep you fresh.
Hold on – it has just dawned on me that you might not be working in the type of call centre that deals with customer complaints or tech support. If in fact your summer job is answering the phone at 0898-HOT-BABES, this problem you’re experiencing is far less surprising.