Sunday, June 14, 2015

Writing While Female

If you don't know by now a lot of what I write (including for this blog) is inspired by real life. Considering what most of my topics are this can be a bit scary. Anyway, on June 4 there was a hashtag trending that caught my interest. The hashtag? #WritingWhileFemale.
My contribution to this hashtag is shown in the image.

Nine re-tweets and fourteen favorites is a freaking lot for me. I don't get that kind of traction on any of my tweets (except the Stephen King quote about Kindles vs. books) so it was kind of nice to see. No one commented except for one guy and it was a simple comment "Not for most of history."

And he's right. Women have not written about dragons, bloody battles, magic, murder, and mayhem. Typically it's been thought women only write romance and erotica. But this is a new age. J.K Rowling wrote Harry Potter where all of the above is featured. Ursula Le Guin? Same. Anne Rice wrote the vampire chronicles. Karin Slaughter has 13 (or more) books that are categorized as mystery fiction. Tanith Lee was recognized as a science fiction and horror author. Susan Collins and the Hunger Games.

Before I continue I would like to make one thing perfect clear: I am not a feminist. I am an equalist. What does that mean? I want everyone, male, female, black, white, Asian, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, gay, straight, transgender and everything in between to have the same rights and opportunities as anyone else. I believe what defines you is your personality and your morals, not the color of your skin, your gender, sexuality, race, or religion. All those traits make who you are physically and can shape your personality, yes, but what's important is your morals and your skills.

Moving onto our original topic of "Writing While Female:"

The problem is society's view of female authors is we do, in fact, ONLY write romance. The worst part is some women have gone so far as to reduce their feminine first names to nothing but an initial so they can be picked up by male readers. Males will go into a store, see a female author's name and think about the book making a good gift for the women in their life.

I don't pay attention to the name on the cover of a book but yes, most of the books I've read have been written by men. Why? Because males sell more books and many female authors who want to be taken seriously in the field take on a male pen name to sell more books. We all know the story of J.K Rowling being told to use her initials instead of her first name to appeal to male readers. We know Nora Roberts became JD Robb to release her true crime series. And again Rowling used a male pen name to release more "serious" fiction.

This is why Writing While Female is so important. Female writers, even today, do not get the same respect as male authors. Males are reviewed more, they're published more, and their male names are seen as a sign the book will be good. Society still thinks women can't write any serious literature, that we're good for writing fluff.

It's insulting. The fact that in order for me to be seen as a "good" author I have to become D. VonRavenstone is a slap in the face. Yes, I am female. Yes, I write about magic, dragons, blood, mayhem, and misery. Yes, I collect swords, bones, and wear a lot of black. Yes, I have an odd fascination with death and the world ending. Yes, I watch horror movies. NO. I do not watch nor do I focus on romance all the time. I often roll my eyes when a romantic subplot makes itself known in any novel or movie.

I don't want kids. I'm not concerned about finding a husband. I mow my own lawn, wash my own car, and open my own jars. I sometimes play with spiders before I kill them and occasionally set them free. I strongly dislike both Twilight and 50 Shades of Gray. I do not go into the romance section of any store. I hate the color pink.

So why is it my double X chromosome dictates I can only write fluffy romance? Why is it no one bats an eye when a male author writes romance but everyone flips their s*** when a female author makes it big in a non-romantic genre? Why are we still living in the 1950s?

Until next time: thoughts, comments, questions, rants, rage, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments.

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