taking the gentle woman seriously
My twitter feed is mostly politics and poetry. My dream house would be something big and almost entirely empty, with faded wallpaper and windows open to every wild wind, and outside, a garden luxuriating in roses. I almost never write a story without it containing some kind of love and also, inevitably, a saturating mist of melancholy.
I worry that pretty backgrounds on my weblog will mean people won't take me seriously.
But then, isn't that the universal female condition? Worrying that we won't be regarded for our words and actions, but for the clothes we wear and how we style our hair? And it's not just in our business dealings. The woman poet, the woman reader, the woman blogger, the woman philosopher ... Each is judged by the appearance she offers. We may assume a woman who reads Young Adult books isn't that deep a thinker (perhaps until we read some of those books ourselves and are forced to reconsider.) We do not expect cutting political insight from a woman in white lace who blogs about tea parties, and yet she may well be highly intelligent in that field. If you read Suburban Magic, you know how I embrace myth and magic in daily life - and yet, ought I not wear brown woolens, and old boots, and drink herbal teas I have concocted myself, if I am to be taken seriously as a pagan dreamer who speaks to old river dragons? Will people expect my books to be gentle romances because I like vintage rose images? If I write about dark sorcerers, iron dragons, Hansel's sufferings, falling in love with mountains, should I have fewer porcelain tea cups and lace table cloths on my pinterest boards?
I have written on this topic before, and will probably do so again, because it's an ongoing struggle for me and, I believe, for women in general in our culture. Not only the idea that we must essentially brand ourselves in a particular way that expresses our key opinions or qualities, but also the fact that softness and prettiness are considered unserious. Anne Shirley would have a hard time of it these days. For me, this represents the work we women still need to do in finding balance as we take the long road out of repression into a true and confident feminism.
a fabulous interview with Hillary Clinton
top picture : eleanor fortescue brickdale