Last year I stumbled across the hashtag #readwomenmarch where a bunch of people dedicated March to reading only female authors, and I joined in. I’ve deliberated with myself about doing it again this year and decided that it’s on like Donkey Kong.
I don’t think that women are better writers. I don’t think that women necessarily write about women better or that they should be restricted to writing about their own sex. Quite the opposite.
I do however think that there is a double-standard as far as female authors are concerned where their looks is more often a focus. The gender wage-gap in the workplace is probably a reality also in publishing etc. I could go on. By focusing on female authors I’m trying to remind myself that just because the bestseller shelves are full of male names, that doesn’t mean that there is all there is. And that the few women on there are white is a shame.
Doing #readwomenmarch and just reading Jane Austen would somehow be missing something probably. Although she is a case in point; she did not publish under her own name at first because being a novelist wasn’t proper for a young lady, it’s been debated that she forsook a family of her own to write( having it all wasn’t even on the map back then) but she is also an icon in that she did succeed, assumed the authorship of her books in the public eye and also bought back the rights to one of her books.
This is not a difficult thing for me to do; I don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of books I’ve never heard of. I cherrypicked my TBR that’s what I did(lazy sod!). And while a few of the books I hope to read are by women of colour, not all of them are. That would have been better.
One of the things what influenced my decision was the episode “28 days of black cosplay” from the podcast Imaginary worlds. First let me say that this is one of my fave podcasts and I like that it’s a show that realizes how much the worlds we create have to do with the world we actually lived in. The point of departure for this episode was the lack of cosplayers of colour in the slideshows from a convention, even though there had been many. Nerd culture is often presented as white(and male) but that’s not the whole story. So why is that stereotype continually reproduced? Seeing is believing they say. Well believe it: there are black nerds, women writers, fathers that are excellent caregivers and people who are happy despite not being size zero. And there is room for everyone.