author – activist – faculty – mom
So last night, just before dinner, I took a moment to check in on twitter & found this hilarious hashtag #gendercard, had been trending all day.
Apparently, it started after a journalist asked Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis if she plans on playing the “gender card” in the race.
I jumped in with a quick tweet:
So many great double standards and discrepancies had already been pointed out, I wondered what I would have to add. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about novels, films, and generally who are the subjects of the stories we tell in our culture. So I fired off these two:
But, lately, I’ve been settling into the idea of commercial women’s fiction. It is a serious symptom of male domination that men—as a group—have a tendency to consume images of women as sexual objects, ingenues, supportive girlfriends, secretaries, and evil women to be killed and taken down. Again, generalizing about the media consumption patterns of men in the US, as a group—there are definitely exceptions—they don’t tend to buy and watch stories with women in the center as subjects, leaders, thinkers, and heroes.
But if that means that women are my audience, then I embrace it. Women of the world, welcome! Come be my audience!! If men want to join, you’re welcome, too. I’ve written some fabulous, complex, wonderful male characters for you to enjoy, but women are definitely in the center of most of my books.
Recent conversations about “women’s fiction” have sometimes featured women who reject the labels. As I prepare a book for the industry that features women and women’s issues in the center, has a strong romantic arc, and offers the kind of fun, action, sexiness that could have people calling it a “beach read,” I have decided to embrace all the girly categories. I’m not upset about being labeled “chick” or “women’s,” I’m upset that those labels, by virtue of being female, are considered less valuable, due to sexism, than books that are just called “fiction” which implies male. I’m upset at the overall devaluation of all things female, and the mistreatment of women & girls in a sexist society.
To that end, I couldn’t resist one global dig on the #gendercard hashtag last night:
But as far as being a female novelist goes, women are the biggest buyers and readers of novels. Attention all women, ladies, females, chicks and girls, I’m definitely writing for y’all!! Who knows? Maybe I’ll finally be able to take my #gendercard and cash it in.