If my novel was written by a man, it would be about physics. Because I’m a woman, it’s about love #writingwhilefemale —@antoniahayes
A couple of weeks ago, Australian writer Maxine Beneba Clarke (@slamup) started the hashtag #writingwhilefemale on twitter to showcase the experience of writing while identifying as a woman. The conversation got me thinking about the tweets that resonated with me, and I’m here to keep the dialogue going. Search #writingwhilefemale to join the discussion.
Man puts his writing before everything else, he ‘s a true artist. Woman’s does, she’s irresponsible & self indulgent. #writingwhilefemale —@slamup
The women of #writingwhilefemale addressed the issue of the “working woman writer,” and how we compare to working men of different professions:
“It must be so nice to have work you can do at home, around the kids.” #writingwhilefemale —@slamup
Being told by a male friend that I was “a disappointment” for wanting a family in addition to a writing career #writingwhilefemale — @erinemilyann
The subjects women write about, or are assumed to be writing about were discussed:
“Mummy blogger” #writingwhilefemale —@lilymaemartin
Having to explain that my queer novel is a meditation on politics, war, sexuality & marriage – not a romance novel … #writingwhilefemale —@ywalkerwriter
Being aware that writing about menstruation is deemed dirty, but writing about wet dreams is seminal Winton. #writingwhilefemale — @rosannabeatrice
So, how much of this story is based on real life? As if women can’t write about anything but themselves #writingwhilefemale —@antoniahayes
I worry that anything I write will be branded as “chick lit,” no matter the subject matter. #writingwhilefemale —@erinemilyann
The issue of female writers in the public eye came up frequently, where women were asked about their dress and sex life, but not necessarily their work:
Going to a Q&A with your favourite writer & she is asked about her personal life rather than her work or ideas #writingwhilefemale —@LefaSN
Being celebrated more for having a man write something about you than writing something yourself (at 16 years old) #writingwhilefemale —@erinemilyann
Most poetry readings r on late, in licensed venues. A drunk male audience is not conducive 2 a woman baring her soul. #writingwhilefemale —@slamup
Avoiding literary events so I don’t have to get home at night by myself #writingwhilefemale —@erinemilyann
Overheard at literary festivals: to male author, “I loved your book!”; to female author, “I love your dress!” #writingwhilefemale —@antoniahayes
I was advised to cover my legs while performing poetry so that men would actually pay attention to my words #writingwhilefemale —@erinemilyann
The audacity of a woman who dares to have thoughts and write them down was also frequently mentioned:
Spending half your word limit proving why *you* get to talk about something before you can get to your point. #writingwhilefemale —@brodielancaster
considering whether to change your name in the hope that your work might not be written off before it’s even been read #writingwhilefemale — @courteneyh
Because young female writers are ‘precocious’ where their male counterparts are ‘wunderkinds’. #writingwhilefemale —@msfriedman
Reading Knausgaard’s Death in the Family and knowing if a woman wrote it, it would have been called “domestic fiction” #writingwhilefemale —@theneedtoread
When I was 16, a boy was applauded for a poem he wrote about having sex with me. He performed it in front of my parents. #writingwhilefemale —@erinemilyann (we’d never even kissed)
Reading a review by a senior reviewer that opened: “It is rare for women to write a novel of ideas…” —@MireilleJuchau
And of course, female characters in literature are addressed:
All female characters described as ‘strong’. #writingwhilefemale —@becadroit
#writingwhilefemale validated many of my experiences as a young women and a writer. More than anything, it allowed me to find a voice and reconcile many experiences I’ve had. It felt incredible to voice these things, to have them favourited and retweeted and to hear about other women writers’ similar experiences. This conversation allowed me to find a niche in the twitter sphere of women writers, and I am so thankful for that.
The conversation also spurred an additional hashtag, #menreadingwomen.
I encourage you to visit the hashtag, talk about your experiences, read more women and keep the conversation going through 2015 and beyond.