There are so many women writers who have been out there for so long that I didn’t think being a female writer really meant anything nowadays, but I’m quickly learning that the literary world is still quite a sausage fest. My whole take on it is so what? I love running with the boys, always have. When I was a kid I could hold my own playing basketball and baseball, I caught fish just as well as any guy, and can still pull my own weight when hiking or camping. Why should writing be any different?
I recently read a pretty interesting article in the latest issue of Clarkesworld Magazine titled, “The Issue of Gender in Genre Fiction: A Detailed Analysis” by Susan E. Connelly. Basically it laid out the stats of male verses female writers in different genre magazines. Women were of course scarce in sci-fi only but did well in fantasy and mixed genre. In thinking this over I totally got it, I mean I love writing fantasy it’s all about world building and exploration whereas sci-fi is more constrained and should be well researched and structured in order to appeal to audiences. Sound familiar?
Sure we live in a society where anyone can be anything if they truly want to, but no matter how much we try to say everyone is the same, we are different. Men and women are different, it’s in our DNA. Now that’s not to say that we shouldn’t be given the same opportunities, everyone deserves the chance to really develop their own interests (which are not always the norm) and I fall into this just as well as everyone else, but despite my tough tom-boy childhood I have grown to enjoy my femininity and it comes through in my work.
Fantasy is one of my favorite things to write because with me and a lot of other women, we write for the process, to be creative and be free. A lot of stories out there are so dark and violent, I have written some myself, but I highly enjoy painting a lighter more positive story while letting my mind just go with it. Most men I know take a harder approach and merely write to gain that satisfaction of the finished product. They care about the story, but they want it to be built conditionally. It’s not always true and neither way is better than another, but a lot of women who do write aren’t all that concerned with getting published whereas males are. My own sister is a lovely writer but she doesn’t feel any sense of urgency to try and get her works in the hands of readers.
Part of what drives me to submit my stories is to get the female perspective out there.
Men write men well, but their female characters often fall short of the real thing. Often stories capture me and then let me down when a male writer doesn’t understand his own character and brings her to do something that no woman would honestly consider. This seems to be the key to a lot of pop culture issues like the Bechdel Test. Movies and books have been highly linked since the invention of film, mainly because we need writers for a script and many writers are published authors. Why do so many movies fail the bechdel test? Because most scripts are written by men, and there are some great male writers out there but a lot fall short of portraying good female roles that women can relate to. How do we solve this?… this should be easy…ladies, get your point of view out there.
I have not yet once run into sexism in the writing world. Most of the male writers I’ve dealt with are glad to work with me or see their work beside mine. Sure there may be some editors and publishers that still discriminate against women but I don’t see how they’ll last much longer. I want to see a good fifty fifty writing world where men and women write together, side by side, and on their own. For now I’ll just keep enjoying what I love and encourage others along the way.