So here it is people. How do I word this blog to be an enjoyable read, and invoke an anger in you that will NOT appear that I am self serving, crazy feminist who really should shut up and put up? I hope it works.
I read this article a couple times already and each time I get more and more angry and I can relate so powerfully to it. It’s a long article and I know most of you won’t read it or maybe you won’t relate to it, although if you are a woman I find that hard to believe. It was written by an author I love, Sarah Rees Brennan, and the title sums it up:
I know sexism exists, I KNOW it does, but hearing first hand accounts of it make me want to punch people.
I’ve paraphrased the article in a few snippets below, but in a nutshell, it opens the topic of horrific sexism in the writing world that makes me nauseous.
I’ve dealt with a lot of the inner struggles written in the article. I am creative, I take pride in what I do, but I certainly don’t pat myself on the back every day for the things I’ve done. I actually find it painful to show people the work I’ve done as I think it makes me look like I’m bragging. I meekly pop out and say ‘um hi there world – this is what I’m working on, hope you like it!’
Whereas I should be saying – HEY YOOUUUUU GUYYYYS! (Goonies reference) Check out this incredible website I designed cause I pretty much taught myself to code wordpress websites while my newborn baby was sleeping in order to change with the times and stay current and employed! Hire me cause I actually have my own business called Freshly Hatched and have been self employed as a graphic designer for over a decade, I have an incredible eye for detail and I can transform your business into something amazing and modern and incredible! Oh and another shout out to me cause I also wrote a YA supernatural book that I love and that is self published on Amazon, that I’m damn proud of cause I’ve never written a fecking book in my life and I did it and I’m awesome!*
*I actually revised this 14 times cause I didn’t want it to look to showy…point made.
Truth is this: A lot of the people I know have no idea what I do exactly, they have no idea I love to write every night when I put my kids to bed. They have no idea that my work clients are nationwide, that I design websites or that I used to have a line of cards that have been in 8 national magazines such as Style at Home and Chatelaine. They have no idea what I can do because I don’t like to talk about it for fear that someone will tell me I suck. No wait, it isn’t exactly that. I never talk about it because I don’t want to talk all about me, I don’t want to be that person at a party that is all BLAH BLAH BLAH – I do this, and I do that, and I am this!
I keep everything all nicely packaged inside me and if you want to know things, I will tell you but I never offer the information. Case in point this weekend when a friend told me she loved my book I responded with an ‘oh you’re so sweet, thank you for saying that’. And she replied with a fantastic ‘I am not sweet, nor has anyone called me sweet, I loved your book, I’ve never read anything like it and I can’t wait to read more.’ To which I again responded with ‘oh thank you, you are sweet…’ What is wrong with me?
So let’s change the way we think. Let’s pat others on the back for the awesome things they do. Let’s never bash another creative maliciously and get out there and support these uber talented female authors NOW!
TRUE FACT //
In book publishing, guys have more chances of self-promotion than women: they’re the ones who get more professional reviews, and they’re the ones who get the opportunity to write more professional reviews. They are the ones who get the most promotional money. They get invited to do more events, and headline at more festivals and conventions, and have more paid speaking gigs.
YOUR OPINION IS IMPORTANT BUT STOP BEING A DICK //
Every woman I know doing a job that requires self-promotion is so tired. A lot of them make themselves life-threateningly sick from not sleeping or pushing themselves when they’re already sick. And when they get attention, what kind of attention is it?
YES CAUSE ALL WOMEN ARE BITCHES, RIGHT? AHHHHH! //
Even from people who nominally support women’s writing, I see a lot of: “Of course, women must feel free to promote their work and talk about their experiences, but in this specific instance the lady is a terrible bitch/a total idiot who should shut up.”
Common Responses To Female Authors Promoting Themselves I Have Seen, Over and Over Again.
“Why do you think you are so great? You are not so great.“ (By promoting yourself/talking about yourself or your work, you indicate that you do think you, and/or your work, has some value, and there is so much pushback, conscious and unconscious, to that.)
“Don’t reblog fan graphics/talk about your characters/talk about your MALE characters (what do you think you are, some sort of harlot?)/be so smug about your books as if you think they might be any good. It makes it seem like you think you’re so great!”
“Do you expect PRAISE?” (I don’t! I never do. Most ladies I know don’t, being accustomed to expecting constant negativity. But it would be nice if people didn’t talk about praise as if it is some incredible, celestial prize that a women should never even dare to dream of getting, and the very idea of them getting it is to be scorned.)
“She’s writing romance and that’s girly and it sucks./She’s writing YA and that’s girly and it sucks./She’s writing literature and men write it better and she sucks./She’s writing about a girl and girls are annoying/shallow/not literature.”
“She is so ungrateful.” (I am really and truly grateful for my job: getting paid to write is being incredibly lucky. I’m lucky that my current series with a heroine of colour and queer characters is being published. I’m lucky for the support I have received, and grateful for it. But this is also a very uncertain job, being self-employed, knowing you have no safety net, knowing you will not be kept if your sales slip–or worse than slipping, stay terrible–and nobody can help you but you. And I find it troubling how much gratitude is expected from women in creative positions, how much they are called ungrateful–how having any attention paid to a woman, or having people who like a woman’s work, is seen as something so, so far beyond a woman’s deserts. The rhetoric of “She should be so so grateful” is not one I hear about men. Of course Joss Whedon deserves to be where he is. Man’s a genius! But THIS lady…)
“Explain this terrible decision publishers or other businesses have made and which we blame you for.” (Women are meant to meekly take responsibility for a lot. And of course, if we say “Well, it was my publisher’s call” then we are ungrateful bitches.)
POWERFUL STATEMENT //
Stephen King said: “If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing…) someone will try to make you feel lousy about it.” With women, if you write or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, a lot of people will try to make you feel lousy about yourself.
I WANT TO SCREAM //
Professional ladies, online and offline, in all kinds of different jobs, are being told not to self-promote, not to talk too much, not to risk making mistakes, not to signify that their work is important to them and never to dare suggest it might be good, via the feedback they get when they behave any differently. They are also told that nobody else will be promoting for them, because they don’t deserve it.