I've noticed that most of the names I choose when representing myself online are male: James, Thomas, and so forth. Perhaps it's because I actually have a rather gender-neutral name? Or maybe I'm going in the direction of Charlotte Brontë, previously known as Currer Bell?
Clearly, I'm not male, but I do wonder how it changes the reader's perspective if they think me so. One T.A. in a college English course assumed that I was indeed a man. Not because of my face, thankfully, but because of my writing. She called out my name to return the paper I had written, aiming her attention at one boy on the other side of the room. He seemed to notice, which furthered his confusion and her frustration. Eventually I raised my hand and uttered "here". She was surprised, I could tell. Her already large eyes widened and in her embarrassment she said, "Oh, from your writing I thought you were a boy."
I can't say that I was offended, since I didn't know what it was about the paper that made me sound like a man. If I ever decided to publish, that could work in my favor. Unless she meant that I wrote like a ridiculous college boy...
I'm pretty sure she didn't. Yeah, pretty sure.