Saturday, 12 March 2011

My Feminist Ephiany

Through the wonderful platform that is Twitter, I picked up a tweet about the 'Glasswoman' writing competition. In my current spirit of Carpe Diem (and my genre quest), I followed the link and came to an amazing women's' writing competition. (link attached at end)

Women's writing has always been a love of mine when studying Literature. I remember the profound effects that 'The Awakening', 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and Virginia Wolf's work had on me.
The whole point of Women's Writing (A genre name I'm still not too sure about) is that it explores the voice of female experience. It is a deeply personal form of writing which explores the real situations and relationships that women live.

When I sat in front of my blank screen, I wondered how this process might start. Would I look at the lives of other women and put down on paper their trials and tribulations? Would I pick an event in my life and write about that?
That would have been a natural starting point, but I never really saw myself as having a 'woman's experience' - (Boy was I blind!) In a post-feminist society, in a generation where bra burning and protests belong to my mother's generation, I didn't feel I had a 'feminist' voice.

Yes, I've put up with the crap that comes with being an academic professional in a patriarchal society, and yes I still see first hand how I have been passed over for higher management roles, genuinely, because I was not a man and was in danger of having more children - and yes I have seen how poor maternity health and care are for women of a middle economic income; falling between two sets of privileges - and yes I have had to balance being an inadequate mother, inadequate manager, inadequate housekeeper (because not all plates can be spun without wobble at once) BUT ..... see my point - latent feminist rage.

As I have been bumbling along, continually convincing myself that we are now living in a world of equality, I have blinded myself to my feminist voice. Slightly ashamed of it because of the connotations that have been built around it; moaners, whingers etc.

What I discovered through the medium of Women's writing was, that unlike the rant above, it allowed me to express my observations in an exploratory, artistic way rather than raw outpouring of emotion and pent up resentment. The beauty of words and the skill of constructing imagery and syntax, calmed these passions into something, I think is quite beautiful and deeply moving.

Dylan Thomas' line is to "Rage, rage against the dying of the light" and I applaud his sentiment entirely but would, perhaps advise the adaptation, "Write, Write against the dying of the light" - in this way, the light is far more prone to turn and listen.

Over 150 people have downloaded 'The Emergence of Julia Gray' in a week; a response I could never have anticipated. So it seems there are still those willing to open their hearts and ears to the cause.

You can get your FREE copy at


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