Part of the challenge of writing is the struggle to believe you have something worth saying. More than half the battle is making your way to the page, cutting through self-doubt and shame and questions about whether or not your project matters. I imagine this is a universal struggle, part of what it means to be an artist. But how might this struggle be exacerbated by a culture that devalues women’s words? How much creative energy has been lost in the effort required to overcome sexist and racist and classist and heterosexist views of women’s writing? How many resources are wasted in the attempt to rise above the sense that women don’t have the right to speak? And what role do religious traditions play in this silencing?
This is a long essay, and it can be hard going, since the content runs about 9-to-1 infuriating-to-inspiring. But I think the inspiring bits might still outweigh the infuriating litany of examples — and point to a productive way of channeling the anger those many, many examples of “sexist responses to women writing” ought to provoke.
But if the length seems daunting, scroll to the bottom and don’t miss Sentilles’ final paragraph offering “three suggestions for writers who are women.”
But I know there are still many, many more blogs and bloggers and voices to be added.
So I’m looking for shameless self-promotion here — asking for it. If your blog belongs on that list, please let me know.
“Part of the challenge of writing is the struggle to believe you have something worth saying,” Sentilles wrote.
Let’s shorten that: Believe you have something worth saying. You have something worth saying.
And if you know of anyone else that belongs on that list, please let me know about them too, either here in comments or email slacktivist at hotmail dot com. Thanks.
(Also too, here’s Kathleen Geier on “Sexism at the New York Times Magazine.”)