Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Unique Stresses Women Writers Experience

Despite the hyperbole of freedom of speech and expression, I feel that women writers experience unique stresses when they get their word out.

She Is A Woman; Therefore, She's A Feminist
When I meandered into writing about social issues, somebody said I was bringing a lot of armor into my writing. I was not concerned about the effects of the harsh truth I was writing, and I was being fearless in taking names. A whole lot of criticism rained down on my parade, and the editorial critics cheered me for encores. A whole lot of my critics were men, and I realized that being a woman I was being labeled and shut off as a fierce feminist. The comments section of my articles and short stories on that particular social publishing network was a raging battleground. I wasn't even engaging in combat with the gentlemen who lashed my opinions, and yet the readers were arguing among themselves; either taking my side or otherwise. I also discovered that male writers on the same website usually did not get as much criticism as females because they were ... well ... not feminist. Coming from a woman, issues criticizing the male dominance for menaces like human trafficking, prostitution, and fornication were muffled as babbles of a feminist twenties woman, with raging hormones. Meanwhile, when a male writer occasionally voiced the same concerns, he was hailed as a big humanitarian mind.  

Managing The Household VS Managing Deadlines
I picked up the mail this week and found my cover story published in a magazine that was delivered to me. Yikes! I realized that the next issue's cover story was soon going to be due and I am nowhere near close to starting the article. Stay at home female writers are mostly homemakers and that is one job that engages you round the clock. There are domestic affairs, chores, bills to be paid, and family members to be taken care of. When all this is part of a female writer's life, time flies. Flying time proves a bit too hard on the part where there are deadlines waiting to be met. I often find myself typing up requests for extension of deadlines. I also make sure I sign up to write for flexible parties that understand that there will be delays and can accommodate my lifestyle's pace with their publications. 

"What Will People Think?"
I have a hardcore dark drama storyline bubbling in my head. It could transform into a hot TV show if you ask me. But the only thing keeping me from talking about it, writing it out publicly, or even raising the curtain on it a tiny little bit is the looming fear of "what will people think?". I mean there are friends and family who would begin questioning my sanity because of the extreme emotional themes I have incorporated into the soul of the story. Some may even dig out the real life references I have used. And so, I keep the script to myself. The max that I will do some day when I am 60 years of age, or around, is to write under a pen name. That too, I will fear because in case the novel sells I will not claim it publicly and will remain in hiding.

Socio-Cultural Impediments
Taboos and stereotypes apply more on women than on men. There can be socio-cultural, a well as religious, challenges that limit a woman's freedom of written word. Conservative cultures treat liberal pieces of work as blasphemy.

Gender Issues
Often there are genres that are more dominantly male-written. Women cringe at the idea of authoring work under their original name for the same reason. Joanna Penn, for example, writes horror-thriller as J.F.Penn which feels more like a man's name on the cover. It is a perceptional bias that a man can write horror, gore, and action-thriller better. I, myself, found The Mortal Instruments a work of brilliance when I read the action-packed battle scenes. Coming from a female writer Cassandra Clare I thought it was more Twilight. But it was way more than a forsaken love story.

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