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.