Saturday, 9 February 2019

Why do men assume I'm writing bonkbusters?

Courtesy of Jezebel/Pictorial, by Angelica Alzona

You’re a women writer. A man you know finds out that you’re writing. The first thing out of his mouth is a jokey assumption that you’re writing something raunchy.

Why?! I’m not asking from feminist outrage, I’m just genuinely baffled.

I like men. I adore my Dad and my husband; I have two fabulous sons. Many of my dearest friends are men. I enjoy male banter: the mickey-taking, the quick-fire wit, the belly laughs.

Nor do I have an issue with people who ARE writing something raunchy. Good for you – I hope it’s brilliant and titivating. I’ve read all three Fifty Shades books. I’m not elitist or a prude.

But when I find out that someone I know is writing, I think all kinds of things. What genre are you writing? Are you good? Published? Self-published? What inner worlds are you pouring onto your pages?

It’s really never sex scenes that first spring to mind.

I get it – these men are joking, but why always the same joke?

Writing is an expression of your inner self. Your world view, your life experience – it all comes out into the light.

Is sex the only secret men can imagine me expressing?

I often wonder, did Jane Austen get this? 

I’m guessing that she did because, as English professor Barbara M Benedict has written, in Austen’s time: 'Novel reading for women was associated with inflaming sexual passions; with liberal, radical ideas; with uppityness; with the attempt to overturn the status quo'.

Imagine what they thought of women actually writing novels –  those inflaming minxes!

Women writers, I’d love to know – does this happen to you?