I would just like to use this post to give a little appreciation to all the female authors out there, past and present.
As an aspiring author myself, I can only congratulate past writers that have paved the way for me. As I sit planning a new idea or working on a novel, I sometimes forget how free I am in my writing. I have no restrictions or limits, I’m not writing a romance just because it is the only genre available to me.
I can only imagine how difficult it was for those authors who broke the mould. Jane Austen was, of course, busy writing women who thought and acted for themselves. But the Bronte sisters are an extraordinary example. Charlotte, Emily and Anne published under the pseudonyms, Currer, Ellis and Acton, respectively. Their collective surname was Bell. They all did retain their first initial however. The need to disguise your identity as a writer and worse, to hide you are a female seems quite ludicrous to me. However, because of the content of their novels I can see why it was so important in the nineteenth century. Undoubtedly all of these novels were romance of a sort, or least they carried a love interest. However the dark nature of the stories garnered a great deal of bad press. But they did it, they wrote material that broke the mould.
My female protagonists are sometimes outspoken, sometimes unlikeable but most of all they are not all the same. They don’t consistently swoon at the love interest or shy away from battle and I like to think that we have these early writers to thank for this.
Pseudonyms are not a thing of the past of course. When J K Rowling decided to publish under an alias, she chose a male name. She may have done this to make sure she got as far away from her own identity as possible or perhaps she thought that a male persona would be more accepted in the genre she chose to write in.Though even her choice to write as J K Rowling is still gender ambiguous. You have to wonder if it was simply personal choice or if the doors aren’t quite as wide as we think.
One particular genre that still feels like a boys club is adult science fiction. In all fairness I read very little science fiction and if I do read it, it tends to be PKD, whose writing is rife with sexism. However, it still feels like a genre that hasn’t been broken through, yet.
I could say so much more but this post would inevitably turn into an essay! So I would just like to take this chance to thank all female writers! You bravely pushed boundaries, and forced the world of literature to take us serious. You undoubtedly deserve more gratitude than I am able to give!