Gender and Writing

Monsters & Dames: Slow Day in the Labyrinth by quirkybird
Monsters & Dames: Slow Day in the Labyrinth, a photo by quirkybird on Flickr.

I came across this wonderful illustration and it seems to sum up a few of the thoughts I’ve had lately on gender and writing. There’s been a lot written about the under-representation of women in the broad literary community. Most recently, I came across Jack Heath’s post at Literary Minded. I applaud him for his decision to read only women for a year. (Despite my support of the Australian Woman Writer’s challenge I still find myself being seduced into reading by books written by men) I quite liked his idea that women use outfits as a means of making a statement. I suspect this may also be true of domestic tasks. But as much as I support efforts being made to bring some equality to writing, I always feel a little puzzled by many of the conversations. I have to remind myself that that’s how I’m seen, as first and foremost a woman. I’m thinking of Jane Caro’s comment that a group of men is just a group of people, but a group of women is … a group of women. I confess to using DJ rather than Dorothy-Jane as my author name, but that’s mostly because almost everyone ends up calling me DJ no matter how I introduce myself. It just seemed easier. (I did end up with a pink book cover, however) I’m thinking wishfully of Ian M Banks’ The Culture and the way in which its members are able to move from one gender to another, and sometimes become genderless. Perhaps that is the only way in which to make the point moot. Not for the first tine, I want to live in The Culture.





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