This is the Reason Women Must Still Rock The Boat
“Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History.”
I saw this last week on a mug in my local CVS, and it brought back memories of a tee-shirt I had with the same message until dozens of washings decimated the words. I still have an apron whose bib reads, “Every mother is a working mother.”
That one dates back to when I started writing and people asked if I worked, when more respectfully they should have asked whether I worked “outside the home.”
Every mother works. Mothers have the hardest, most challenging, most important job in the world.
Look at Women Today
They’re working in and out of the home, in the workplace, in the bowels of government, in the casting rooms and writers rooms and director’s rooms. They’re doing things they would never have dreamed, and I’m not talking about Rosie the Riveter, who recently passed away, RIP. I’m talking about speaking up about injustice and abuse. I’m talking about misbehaving in the best possible ways. I’m talking about rocking the boat.
We’ve come a long way, but not far enough. Take this Jane Austen quote. When I first saw it, I thought Jane Austen had to be prescient. Then I realized I was wrong; Jane Austen had a message for 1817.
Women have been trying that long, that hard to exert themselves and be heard. For many years, writing was the only vehicle we had, and even then, it initially took courage for a publisher to put a book out in a woman’s name, rather than that of her husband.
Women today publish freely, but biases remain. I’m guessing, for instance, that the average male mid-list writer is paid more than the average female one – and that may be justified, given the sales. Generally speaking, male readers are more comfortable buying a book written by a man, whereas female readers buy either.
So. A male writer sells to men and women, while a female writer sells mostly to women. That’s half the audience, half the sales. Do you see why women in some genres use their initials, rather than their first name?
Let’s Broaden the Discussion
But wait. I’ve narrowed the discussion, going off on publishing because that’s near and dear. Broaden it again, and we have social media and an arsenal of new tools for the advancement of women. Most recently, consider #MeToo and #WhyIMarch, #TogetherWeRise and #PowerToThePolls.
Given the pervasiveness of social media, I want to think that the current attention to inequality of opportunity and pay for women will register on a larger scale. For lasting results, though, women will have to keep the pressure on for a generation or two.
Calm waters? They’re good if we’re treading in place But if we want to move ahead, making waves may be the only way.
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Enjoyed this article! Women can’t get complacent!
I totally agree! Women must keep moving forward!
This is a well written and thought provoking article. Women do need to be proactive and speak up for themselves (and others) but they can do so by being assertive and not nasty.
As for authors, I admit that I have read books written by men, but I will not buy a romance novel written by a man and that is pretty much all that I read these days.
Awesome article! Well written and thought provoking.
Thank you for this wonderful article, I’m happy to say my hubby and I love to read no matter what the name. He’s a big fan of Anne McCaffrey and her son, he says Just doesn’t have the style she does. I’ve noticed though, people tend to gravitate towards my son than myself. We are a writing team and it baffles them how it can be a joint effort. Thank you for your insight.
Very thought provoking. The last huge push was 100 years ago with women’s suffrage, we are finding our voices again. Hopefully our children and grandchildren carry the momentum forward.
Couldn’t agree more…there’s still along way to go.
Barbara, you speak the truth!
You make some good points Barbara but I find it difficult to move past my early training to remain quiet, small, and polite. In my day girls were to be seen but not heard. I was groomed on the adage that women should appear in the newspaper but three times: birth, marriage, and death. I believe I might be aging myself. We’ve come a long way since the 60’s but oh we have miles to go. I read both male and female authors but my husband does tend to stick with males. He finds my writing somewhat confusing. Oh well – I say write on. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and inviting me to explore my own.