Don’t panic. This (infuriating) title is just an adaptation of lyrics from a song I can’t get out of my head. In case you’re puzzled, Rex Harrison posed a similar question in My Fair Lady, ridiculous as it seems, because given the choice between him and Audrey Hepburn, would any of us really choose to be more like him?
Lately, aside from singing, I’ve been reading a lot of blogs, long before the start of the A to Z challenge. I wanted to hear other voices, see what others had to say, and connect with those who share my interests. I started to notice that men’s blogs differ from women’s. Not all of them, and here I should mention that I’ll be making generalizations rather than offering statistics or divulging the findings of lengthy scientific/psychological research. Of course, each of us is unique, every voice has its own edge, but I did notice distinctions that made me think. And also made me wonder: should I write more like a man…
- if I want to get noticed;
- if I want to get taken more seriously;
- if I want to kick ass…??? (And being a girl, I’m wondering, can I say ‘ass’?)
Even the questions make me cringe. I love being a woman, for too many reasons to explore in anything less than a multi-book series. Women are smart and caring and can cook and clean and raise children and be breadwinners and Secretaries of State and they’re all full of curves and can fight fires and catch criminals and produce and direct movies…and…and basically, they can do anything men can. And more. Men can’t have babies or breast feed. They have trouble multi-tasking. (Ask a man to have a conversation while he’s scrambling eggs, and watch them burn.)
But here’s what I noticed on my blog tour:
- Men apologize less, if at all. (Did you notice that I’ve already apologized…twice?)
- Men head into conflict with mouth guards in, helmets and gloves on, looking forward to the pounding they’re about to give. They even enjoy the pounding they get.
- Men don’t think you should buy their books. They know you should, and they’re not afraid to tell you so. If you don’t, you’re the one who’s losing out. And you’re a jerk.
Look no further than JA Konrath and a piece he wrote lambasting Donald Maass, kingpin in the world of literary agents. No matter how rich or widely published I get, I will never have the spunk to write something like that. It was marvelous. Irreverent, confrontational, fearless, unapologetic…spectacular in its in-your-face-ness. The collective response was similarly ecstatic. And I couldn’t help thinking if a woman had written it, she might have gotten into a lot of trouble.
There are plenty of women who write scathing, witty, controversial articles; novels that easily join the ranks of America’s best; award winning fiction and nonfiction that open our minds and hearts; and the playing field is more level than it’s ever been, but there are signs that we still have a way to go.
Here are just a few of the questions I hope someone out there can answer:
- Why do so many women choose to use their initials instead of their first names on writer community boards and book jackets? Even JK Rowling comes to mind here, and her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, could just as well have been Rebecca or Rachel. Can it be that in certain genres, male writers attract more male writers, and thereby carry more weight?
- Why is there even such a thing as women’s fiction? Ever heard of men’s fiction? Why exclude an entire gender from a readership demographic because seriously, how many men read women’s fiction? Why don’t they? They don’t because it’s women’s fiction. Does that make it boring/inferior/meh? Aren’t our inner worlds, conundrums, relationships just as interesting to men as they are to women?
- As women, is our writing intrinsically different from that of men?
And on that provocative note, I’m off. I have to make sure my daughter has bananas to take with her to ballet, that Fifi goes out for a wee, change a bulb, fetch the laundry and speak to my mother. Then I have a couple of thousand words to write and an article to edit.
But before all that, I’ll just say this: A woman can write more like a man. The question is, should she? My answer, without beating about any bushes, is Hell No.
PS Any idea how many men are doing the A to Z Challenge?
Next up: Robin with ‘H.’