Time to rant. I’m not proud of using profanities and try to avoid them at least in writing. I’ve been told I can swear like a sailor. I’m not proud of that either.
Be that as it may, I had written something else entirely, which I will also publish later on, but now that I just read a blog about sexism in the publishing industry, I found myself rather angry.
First of all: feminism is not a dirty word. I’ve never considered myself and active feminist, but then I hadn’t given it a lot of thought, and once I did think about it, I would have to say that I am a feminist by nature. Equal rights for men and women in every aspect of life, equal pay in every conceivable job, the right for a woman to work in any job she would like, no matter how deeply it is considered to be inside the male domain.
Women generally have less muscle mass, but they tend to have more brain mass. That’s a fact; women actually do have slightly larger brains. This doesn’t mean they’re smarter by nature, though. I just like to throw that sort of thing out there for those people, who think women are inferior in every way.
We’re not. End of story.
Men and women are different and they evolved according to the different roles they assumed in tribal societies. But no one would’ve claimed back in the day that women were better than men or vice versa. Everyone at some point recognized that everyone’s input, skill and uniqueness was required for the tribe, family, clan and ultimately species to survive successfully, procreate and make sure the next generation can do the same.
We’re not very far removed in time from these people and whilst technologically light years ahead, emotionally or physically we’re not. We’ve not significantly changed since homo sapiens first came on stage, so maybe we should try and be a little more humble.
Anyway, women have always been vital for society and no society could survive without us. That’s a biological fact as much as it is sociological or any other “ogical” you can come up with.
Without us nothing goes. Simple.
So, bloody well treat us equally and not like something inferior. What are you so afraid of?
This brings us to sexism. Do yourself a favour and watch the documentary “Miss Representation”. It is shocking and revealing and then infuriating. Whilst the focus is on the media representation of women in the US of A, it’s not so different in many other parts around the world.
Especially the Western World. Never mind that women don’t get represented in some parts of the world at all, because they need to be hidden behind veils and are almost non-entities outside their own homes.
Sexism is a part of a woman’s life, any woman’s life, every single day. It’s not always very pronounced and sometimes it is only a very small thing, but it is everywhere and so much a part of society that it’s sometimes not even perceived for what it is.
Women actively succumb to it, because they believe that this is normal and can’t think of any other options.
Take the huge poster at the tube station, which shows an attractive young woman in a bikini at a beach. The poster is an advertisement to come and visit Turkey. Why does it have to be a woman, why does she have to wear a bikini? Why does she have to be very attractive? And has anybody considered that Turkey is a Muslim country and Muslim women don’t usually sit at the beach like that?
Look at the magazine stands and point out a fitness or fashion magazine that isn’t showing a woman, who hasn’t been airbrushed to within an inch of her life.
Women shaving their legs, wearing heels, wearing panty hose, wearing make-up. They will all claim to do it for themselves, because they like it that way, but each of them will sigh with relief when they get to step out of those heels and none would ever wear make-up to bed.
None of this resulted in me writing this blog today, though. Those are niggly bits that keep cropping up left, right and centre and just add to my current anger.
There are many famous male writers and most of us will also be able to drum up a number of well-known, or even famous, female writers. Male writers get to write any genre they like and if they do well they get praised for it.
Female writers don’t get that same freedom, however. They get thrown into a certain genre, so they can be marketed and sold accordingly. Would Harry Potter be half as famous had JK Rowling decided to publish as Joanne Rowling?
I doubt that very much. She’d have been put into the children’s author category and none of the movies would ever have seen the light of day. Many female authors either writer Mystery or Romance apparently. There’s good and bad of both, which is why we have Danielle Steele and Patricia Highsmith. Note that I wouldn’t be able to say if either of those is bad or good, they’re both, however, widely known and recognized names. And dare I say “for women”.
I’ve not read a single book by either one of them, because I’m most certainly not into Romance, especially the cheesy kind and I’ve only ever been interested in reading “The Talented Mr. Ripley”, which I have on my current reading list.
I’m more interested in Science Fiction. I read Fantasy, but I’m quite picky in that Genre. I obviously love Terry Pratchett. I’ve read Trudi Canavan’s “The Black Magician” trilogy, but have had not the slightest interest in her other books. They’re not the kind of Fantasy I like.
My reading preferences are not really the topic right now, tough.
What I found out is this: female writers don’t have the same liberties their male counterparts do. Or rather: they have them, but don’t get to use them, don’t get acknowledged in the same way and don’t have the same exposure.
A guy gets accolades for writing something that a woman would be marginalized for. How is that fair? How is that okay in any way?
I can write anything I want. And my gender has absolutely nothing to do with that. My perspective may be influenced by my gender, but it is also influenced by all my experiences, by my beliefs, my racial background, my education, sexual identity, and even my bloody nationality. The fact that I am wearing glasses influences my perspective. Or that I am tall rather than short.
But that is true for all of us. And any writer, who at least attempts a halfway decent job will not let any of that hinder them.
I’ve read this article today and it made me even more determined to go for it, get published and be the best writer I can possibly be and if anyone ever says of me that I write well, or did well or whatever “well” for a woman, they are going to wish themselves a ticket for the next plane leaving this planet.
I’ve no desire to prove myself, but somebody apparently needs to be shown.