Joanne Harris, author of the sweet novel-turned-film Chocolat, is calling out the bitter reality of sexism in the literary world.
This topic has reared its hideous face before, for instance when journalist and author Gay Talese told a crowd at Boston University that he couldn’t name a single female author who inspired him. Only this time, it began—as these things so often do now—on Twitter. A discussion about the sacrifices writers make quickly evolved into a debate over which gender has it tougher, prompting Harris to start a hashtag: #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear.
And the women of Twitter did not hold back. In 140 characters or less, users from across the globe politely shared some of the outrageous comments they have gotten—everything from being told they write “great books for women” to being asked how their husbands feel about their work. Because, let’s be real, success isn’t success until a man says it is.
Premiere of CHOCOLAT. Famous (male) author pushes past me without a glance to congratulate my (male) publisher. #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear
— Joanne Harris (@Joannechocolat) April 17, 2017
“Are you going to hide your first name with initials so people won’t know you’re a woman?” #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear
— Shannon Hale (@haleshannon) April 18, 2017
“Sounds like chick-lit.” – how everything I’ve ever written has been described to me at some point or another.#ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear
— Geraldine (@everywhereist) April 18, 2017
“You know, you don’t write like a woman. I like it.” #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear
— Victoria/V.E. Schwab (@veschwab) April 18, 2017
#ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear: How did you manage to write a male character so well?
— Vivien Chase (@VivienChase) April 18, 2017
“I bet you had fun researching THOSE scenes.” *Eyebrows* #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear
— Jenny Trout (@Jenny_Trout) April 17, 2017
“Don’t you worry about how that will reflect on your children?” #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear
— Racheline Maltese (@racheline_m) April 17, 2017
“We can’t put your degrees in your bio; it will intimidate your readers.” #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear
— Diana Gabaldon (@Writer_DG) April 18, 2017
@Joannechocolat Male supervisor told me that I wasn’t very clever & have only gotten this far because of charm. (That was before I got my doctorate.)
— Elizabeth Yuko (@elizabethics) April 18, 2017
— Joanne Harris (@Joannechocolat) April 18, 2017
Like, do we need to rename the writing industry the “Pen 15” club and call it a day? Let’s give this story a happily ever after and just be better everyone.
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