My favorite author has always been Charlotte Brontë. She happened to write one of my most beloved novels, “Jane Eyre,” and because Charlotte was a woman, she was forced to use a pen name to be taken seriously. When asked why she ultimately chose the name she did, Brontë responded:
“Averse to personal publicity, we veiled our own names under those of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell; the ambiguous choice being dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because—without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called ‘feminine’ — we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice; we had noticed how critics sometimes use for their chastisement the weapon of personality, and for their reward, a flattery, which is not true praise.” (Source)
Charlotte couldn’t write under her own name. In a day and age when women were marginalized and forgotten, Charlotte’s determination to stand out speaks for itself. Why, oh why, are we marginalizing other women writers? You can probably guess where I’m going with this. Ladies of the internet, this is a call to action.
In the scheme of our existence, does it matter if a mother chooses to have a cesarean, not breastfeed or feed her child non-organic food? Over the past few months, the intolerance over other’s choices has ramped up to such an extent that our credibility, as women writers is plummeting. Apparently, others are noticing it, too. Julie Kosbab, a local bicycle blogger reached out with her own story of female-on-female intolerance. After dressing her sweet baby girl, “all in blue,” she was declared “trying to turn her daughter into a lesbian,” by other mothers. (I’ll give you a moment to digest that one.) The internet isn’t for waging wars on parenting choices, so one person can feel superior while the other feels wronged. The internet certainly isn’t for some of the comments on Kim’s recent guest blog on her personal choice to have a Cesarean. When we pollute the internet with superiority and entitlement, we push ourselves back to the days before women could write under their own names. Who are we to attack each other’s belief systems?
I spent a half-hour tonight skimming male parenting blogs. Very few elicited the same negative commentary I’ve seen on female parenting sites. As many of you know, I quite vocally spoke out against the new breed of, “Mommybloggers,” almost a year ago. Want to see the post? It’s right here. Now, it seems the elitism has skyrocketed to a high that is both negative to all women writers and limiting to our fields. If we wish to be taken seriously as, “Working Mothers,” and true writers, we must stop being, mean-spirited mothers. And more? We need to stop criticizing each other’s choices. We’re WRITERS. We are not just mothers, or bloggers. (And certainly, we’re worth more than putting those two terms together.) I actually state in my rider that I refuse to acknowledge the term, “Mommyblogger,” because I was a published writer before Ava and I will continue to be, after. Hopefully, so will you.
It’s a call to arms… are we finally going to listen?