In the literary world, there is somewhat of a stigma against female writers. This has happened since the first time a female picked up a pen (presumably she was protecting her delicate virtue by using the BIC for Her pens). Often, topics that females tend to write about are considered “lesser” than the topics that men choose to write about.
It is so bad, that sometimes, female writers choose to use their initials only or write under a male pseudonym to get taken seriously as a writer.
Even today, in the supposedly liberated present, female writers still have trouble escaping from the “chick-lit” mold.
This problem occurs because men will often choose to read a male writer over a female writer for a variety of reasons. The main reasons include:
- Subject matter is boring to them (true chick-lit books)
- Book may be romance heavy (often occurs with female writers)
- Guys just don’t want to read books written by women (the fault of how they were raised)
I fiercely object to the idea that men are inherently better writers than women. (Tweet this)
The idea that men are better writers than women is the result of thousands of years of misogyny. Part the problem is the fault of society, which to this day still seems to identify male pursuits as better than female (it’s OK for girls to play with trucks, but heaven forbid if a little boy wants to wear glitter).
The other part, I think, is a natural consequence of being male and a trait that is admirable. Most males I know truly cannot fathom the idea that they are not better than everyone else (at the very least, as good). This is a natural arrogance that is vital for life success. Women are usually taught to ignore this side of their being, which is how a lot of lopsided male/female interactions occur.
However, part of the problem is the female writers themselves. Let’s look at the recent trend of female science fiction writers, for example.
When I wrote my post about the 21 top sci-fi books for summer, there were a few female writers on the list, which pleased me. However, of the 4 female writers on that list, 3 of the books had heavy romance elements. Renegades, another science-fiction novel written by a women, also has a strong romantic focus.
The same trend occurs in pretty much every genre I read. Even the literary fiction I’ve read lately, like The Conditions of Love and Gone Girl had heavy romantic aspects. Recently, almost all YA books written by female authors are mainly just a thin guise for creating a crush-worthy boy-toy for the readers (here are 8 that aren’t).
This trend is hurting the credibility of female writers. Sure, a heavy dose of romance is all fun and games, and quite enjoyable to read, but as a collective whole, do all women writers want to be pigeonholed into the “romance” category every time? I know hundreds of women who have amazing prospectives on all kinds of issues with beautiful, moving stories about issues that are unrelated to falling in love.
So female writers, let’s do our part to get out of the romance rut. Let’s make other issues the central theme of our stories. This will go a long way toward removing the stigma that all women’s writing belongs under “chick-lit.”
Here are some books I have read lately written by female writers where romance is not the main theme of the story:
What do you think? Should female writers try to step away from the romance a little more?