Thanks to my old friend Gill, I bring you a great piece here about the treatment of women writers, specifically in Australia, but the same applies here in the UK, and in the US and everywhere else as far as I know.
There are a lot of stats!, but they’re worth taking in.
Of course, the complaints of those of us working in the relatively kind-to-women arenas of arts are rarely taken seriously, but I do think any silencing of women, any ignoring of women, matters.
I’m reading, and enjoying, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap right now and was thinking, apropos of the long/loving food descriptions, relationship descriptions, interior monologues, that if it had been written by a woman it would not have received anywhere near the same positive acclaim – as always, when men write about family (eg Mike Leigh, eg Chekhov!), it’s considered ‘universal’, when women do, it’s dismissed as ‘domestic’.
The main problem, as always, is that we didn’t actually have feminism, we jumped straight to post-feminism (interestingly once middle class women had the jobs they wanted!) and lost most, if not all, of the potential REAL gains. As long as the ‘small’ things (like public face, like glass ceilings) are not fixed, the major things (like curbing violence against women) have no hope of success. Because the personal is political, EVERY time a woman is ignored*, missing from a front bench, missing from a list or a photo of leading lights, missing from a panel (BBCQT, HIGNFY!), in any way, it contributes to the silencing of us all.
*and yes, especially by other women such as on this judging panel, I don’t believe for a moment they didn’t realise there were no women on their list!