Get Yourself a Fake Male Assistant

Photo: Bojan Milinkov, Shutterstock
Photo: Bojan Milinkov, Shutterstock

Most women reading this have probably been called “difficult,” “bossy” or “impossible” at some point in their professional career (and likely in their everyday lives). It tends to happen when we do something totally out-of-hand like, oh, asserting ourselves in any way — something men are societally conditioned and expected to do. In response, one person (specifically, a friend of writer Bess Kalb) has figured out a workaround: She created an email account under a man’s name to act as her assistant.

Behold:

Set up an email account for a ‘male assistant’

File this under “Things We Wish Weren’t Hacks But Sadly Are.” It shouldn’t take a man telling someone a woman is busy in order for people to believe it. And while it’s unfortunate this is a thing that works in 2020, we have to hand it to Kalb’s anonymous friend — it’s a pretty great idea. It’s also one of those situations where you don’t really have anything to lose. It’s free to set up an email account, and it doesn’t take much time. And if things don’t work out with your “assistant,” you can always lay him off. (No one will question it, given our current economic state.)

Other fake men to add to your fake payroll

After Kalb’s initial tweet, others started chiming in with their own similar strategies:

The receptionist/answering service

Writer Kim Kelly has her boyfriend answer calls she gets from unknown numbers:

The negotiator

Others, like Nicole Cardoza, founder of Reclamation Ventures, has a fake male assistant (“Mike”) who does her booking:

And while this entire set-up may seem comically ridiculous, Cardoza stresses that it’s anything but a joke — especially for women of colour who are constantly being asked to perform different types of unpaid labour.

The co-founder

Apparently, women creating phantom male “co-founders” is also a thing that happens:

Yes, ideally, the patriarchy would’ve been smashed long ago and we wouldn’t have to resort to smoke and mirrors to be treated like competent adults. In no universe should a fake man command more respect than a real woman, but here we are. In other news, congrats to all the fake Mikes, Bryans and Brads out there who are about to get fake-hired. In this economy?

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