I believe that on some level everyone wants to be known for something. Maybe just for being a good friend or maybe as extreme as being the best leader of the free world. Me, I’d like to be known as a great writer. Someone that has their works read long after their death.
There is however something I don’t want on a visceral level and that is to be known as a great woman writer. True I am most certainly a woman and a writer but being known as a woman writer seems to me some sort of obscure consolation prize. I see some man with a ridiculous mustache and top hat handing out Newburys and Cauldecotts and Eisners and Pulitzers much like an olympic ceremony. The male honorees are adorned with heavy gleaming golden medals. Whereas, the women writers, artists and journalists are bestowed with light pink plastic barbie-esque tokens about their necks.
I often feel that I am being ridiculous and should just hope that someday someone recognizes my work with a small nod. But, truly thinking about it and analyzing my feelings on the matter I’m okay with being ridiculous in this. I am a writer and happen to be a woman, but there is much more to me than my sex.
It seems universally agreed upon that criticizing or threatening anyone based on the fundamental characteristics of their being is wrong. So, why do people feel that they should be recognized in the same vein? The very people that plead for acceptance into the hierarchy of the white male archetype of society post all over the place defining themselves as their gender or sexual orientation. Maybe I’m naive to think that I could make an attempt at success without latching onto some sort of subculture of feminism or sisterhood or minority. Maybe openly rejecting it is the kiss of death, but truly I don’t want the consolation prize. I want to be a great writer and a good woman, but those things are mutually exclusive to me.