Wednesday, June 22, 2016
I have admitted with sad awareness in my old age that I have always been something of a sexist. It's not that I don't have wonderful women friends whom I love because I do. It's not that I haven't written and protested and carried signs for women's rights, because I have. It's not that I'm not supportive of women's causes because I am. I'm a full-fledged Hillary Clinton fan. I can't wait to see a woman in the White House as president.
But, having said all that, my heroes have always been males. When I was young, I wanted the main characters of the books I read to be male. I wanted the leads in the movies I saw to be men. Even now, the only t.v. program I watch is Outlander. I admire the Diana Gabaldon for having created a strong, fearless, intelligent female character - Claire. I respect the producers for accentuating her strengths. But, nevertheless, I doubt if I would watch if it wasn't for Jamie, her husband and lover. He's the one who draws me in so that that Saturday night hour is inviolate, no matter what else may be going on.
When I go to the library to pick out books, I read author's names rather than titles....and I mostly pass by female authors. I read the blurbs and if the protagonist is a woman, I usually put it back on the shelf.
Now I write books myself. I've written 13 novels and only one features a female main character and femininity wasn't her strong suit. I relate more to men than I do to women.
I wonder if that is cultural? I'm 69. When I was a girl, only boys played "real sports". Cowboys were all men though they might have a wife, like Dale Rogers, as a helpmate. Superheroes were all men until Wonder Woman came along. It goes without saying that all presidents were men, and most congresspeople too. Courageous soldiers were men. Even most breadwinners were men then....as were most inventors and scientists and doctors and college professors and pilots. In the beginning, all astronauts were men. So were police officers and firemen. And don't forget Supreme Court Justices.
So, where else were you to look but at the men to find your heroes other than the occasional Madame Curie or Amelia Earhart or Florence Nightingale?
Perhaps I'm a case of arrested development because be they actors, musicians, book charactors or athletes, my most loved are men - Johnny Depp and Sam Heughn, Jack Reacher and Gabriel Allon, Jimmie Johnson and Peyton Manning, David Garrett and Prince. I can't think of a list of similar females although I like some of them well enough.
Do you suppose it is possible to be both a feminist and a sexist?