Nice Prizes for Good Little Girls!
I’m sick and tired of Women’s Day, and of all the well-intentioned, nice people who wish me a happy one, or tell me that I’m awesome and one of those women that Women’s Day celebrates.
But, Sarah, you’ll say, what can you have against a day to recognize awesome women? It’s a nice idea, showing people that women are an important part of society.
Oh yeah? Why is it nice to single people out on a merely biological characteristic and make a big deal out of the fact that some people with that one biological characteristic are great?
In other words, why should people who happen to be women be celebrated for achieving anything?
What is so special about being a woman physicist, a woman chemist, a woman doctor, or for that matter a woman writer, unless it’s assumed that women have less capacity than men, and that, therefore, our achieving anything is a near-miracle?
Even though I only once got a rejection for a novel because – I was told – I didn’t write from my womanhood, I want to assure you I never write from my womanhood. There are parts of the body that aren’t meant to type with, and besides, it would probably short the keyboard.
I write from my humanity, from being the person I am. Sure, that includes an awful lot of living life as a woman – I had some reader praise me the other day for being aware that a woman, going into a fight with a man, was at a disadvantage and my reaction was “yeah because I’ve done it” – but mostly it includes an awful lot of being human, both whom I’ve been and whom I’ve observed. I mean, if you could only write yourself, it would be a very sad world in which we were all isolated within our own heads. I write from being a woman, sure, but also from having raised young men, and from having lived for over thirty years with a man whose thoughts and feelings are as close to me, and as relevant to me, as my own.
But fine, let’s say I wrote strictly as a woman. Still, unless my achievements as a female writer were somehow inferior to those of male writers, why would I need a special day to celebrate my achievements as a female writer? Why not just celebrate great writers? (And before someone jumps in, I know I’m not there yet. When I grow up.)
Isn’t it an insult to be celebrated within a group, celebrated, as it were, in the group with training wheels? Isn’t it an admission that we can’t compete in the big race, so look at those pretty girls, there, and how good they’re being?