mouseworks: A crop of an orchid shot taken with a Nikon 105 macro lens (Default)
posted by [personal profile] mouseworks at 10:51am on 29/05/2011
Many male writers assume that they are the important ones and that the way for women to be important, too, is to be under their guidance. The women who don't cater to the guy privilege are assumed to have inflated ideas about the quality of their writing.

The best thing for women writers is to ignore what the guy writers have to say about about their relative worth as writers, just don't take male opinions any more seriously than Edith Sitwell took Yeats's opinion ("If he likes Dorothy Wellsley, it's a bit of an insult to have him like me").

I found reading a fair amount of Ballard was like eavedropping in on highly intelligent, but basically laddish discussions between guys. I wasn't the audience for it. I can appreciate what he did, but he's intending that women are in the conversation, however he likes or doesn't like individual women.

The trouble with much feminist writing, though, is that they're still reacting to males as if males can change, should change, should be supportive. I suspect it's more like women should change. The women who cease being abused generally took steps to stop the abuse (studies here in Nicaragua based on research done in Leon). Cherokee women would beat up Cherokee men who abused women and children -- her clan's women were responsible for taking care of things.

Women get seduced into doing children's books, into feeling like they're emotionally responsible for their fans' lives, into feeling they won't matter unless the guys like them. And even some extremely powerful writers had to shake this before finding their audience among women (Helen Hunt Jackson was Emily Dickinson's audience as was her own sister-in-law and her brother's mistress's daughter). The men Dickinson reached out to tended to belittle her, either as a poet, or as a woman.

If the guy writers like a single woman writer over the generality of other women writers, she is not likely to matter to intelligent women readers. She is the women who tells them how satisfying they are sexually (a guy poet wrote in a Controversy of Poets that the thing needed from women poets was a description of what it felt like when men fucked them, something that I suspect he wouldn't say now).

None of us gets to be the only intelligent woman out of all the other women out there. Anyone who says "you're not like other women" is lying to you and making you his bitch.

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