“If you’re a woman writer, sometime, somewhere, you will be asked: Do you think of yourself as a writer first, or as a woman first? Look out. Whoever asks this hates and fears both writing and women.” – Margaret Atwood
As I learned during my journalism studies, there is no such thing as neutrality. This is because of our own personal experiences. We can never go into any subject neutral. We can attempt to be objective, but being neutral is by definition impossible. We always project our own identity and experiences onto anything we read, observe or take on.
This means that in my writing I cannot escape the fact that I am a woman. Just like I can’t escape my country of birth, my illness, my family, my financial situation, my values.
And as a woman, I couldn’t escape the fact that I wasn’t taken seriously at the sports desk at university for being female or that people congratulated me on how incredible it was to have a female sci-fi writer join the ranks. Negative or positive, the fact that I am a woman makes me stand out and makes my experiences in life different, whether I want to or not.
We all have our own experiences to bring to our writing. Experiencing life as a woman is one of those. It makes my voice different. It makes the way I approach topics different, the way I choose topics to write about different and it makes my writing itself different. This piece being a prime example.
But it is important to have diverse voices in writing.
Being a feminist writer doesn’t put me in the special place it might have done a few decades ago, and I’m well aware that feminism encompasses many different opinions and perspective nowadays.
But I have seen, read about and experienced too much heartache over being or identifying as a woman within myself, my friends and other women that I had to look at my own experiences and those of others to find out what I could – and can – do to help our position in society.
This is why I will continue to put my womanhood forward and why I firmly stand for women supporting each other.
We must continue to lift each other up and let each other know we are a force to be reckoned with, in whatever area of life, in whatever profession.
Do you consider yourself a feminist, and why (not)?