Lionel Shriver, talking about ‘not excluding men’.
Well yes. And no. Because it’s not many women I hear saying ‘women’s writing or ‘woman writer, woman playwright’, it’s more usually men. So, as always, we (women) are being asked to do the stepping up, the getting on, getting over, all of which is fine, and I’m all for it, love the stepping up – but it works a whole lot better when the blokes do it with us. When we do it together.
And you know, why is it about women not excluding men? Why not about men not excluding women? WHY are we (women) always having a go at each other? Men don’t do that. That’s how the old school tie thing works. They are helpful to each other. When they have their men-only clubs and anthologies and broadsheet literary pages and theatre programming and tv quiz shows and news programmes and front benches, they don’t wring their hands about there being no women present, they don’t even notice it most of the time, (five blokes on Have I Got News For You looks normal to most men), they just get on with it. Helping each other out.
Women though, we notice it. We notice when we’re not there and we notice when it’s only women. And we worry about it, either way. And it hurts us, either way. There are loads of men-only things, and many many more men-mostly things. Men don’t care. They just get on with it.
I don’t care. Let’s just get on with it. But please, let’s not mind when on the very rare occasions the balance is (ever so slightly) redressed.
and, just for balance, this would be the list of writers I’ve loved and the first few off the top of my head, & mindfulness-free : Margaret Atwood, Marge Piercy, Jeanette Winterson, Alice Walker, Janet Frame, Patricia Grace, JD Salinger, Caryl Churchill, Shakespeare, Euripides, Beckett, Pinter.