I loved this movie when I was little. Today, I couldn’t tell you much about it, except that it was about a young writer who published a book about her life growing up…and her Mama. I remember being very young and studying how she put together a book of tales.
Mostly, I remember her Mama when she said, “Write about what you know.” Or something of the sort.
Recently, someone asked what I write and I went to my stock answer. “Literary Fiction.” Because that is how I classify my writing, despite the huge debates as to what “literary fiction” really is. My personal definition is as follows.
“Literary Fiction: (see awesome) a genre of fiction that is character based, as opposed to plot based.”
It fits. All fiction is made up, so I figure the definition can be as well.
This time, though, when I answered, I took it a step further to explain that my “literary fiction” tends to be…
WARNING! I’m dropping the F-word!
…feminist in theme.
There. I said it. I write about feminist issues, though not generally political (save the one story I’ve got brewing), but more personal feminist issues that women face on a day by day basis. I especially can’t wait to start my short story, “Scars”. That will be as soon as I’m done with “Specimen”.
Write about what you know. I may not know what it’s like to be a woman in my early sixties stepping out on my life long marriage. But I do know what it’s like to feel confined by the expectations society places on women concerning their roles in a household. I can confidently morph that understanding into a story about someone elses experience and make it real.
Nothing in the world can make me a tall, busty blond seated before a plastic surgeon. But every woman feels the pressures of society to be beautiful. We know the scars that are left when our beauty isn’t enough to maintain, leaving us abandoned and alone with only seeping scars of rejection.
Write about what you know. I know feminism and the struggle that women have in an increasingly sexualized society when teenage girls strut sex to sell albums, the Kardashian’s are glamorize, Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends have their own reality show, and a good, smart female role model is near impossible to find. Ads for weight loss fill our emails, air brushed women are our mirrors of comparison, and heaven forbid a woman snap under the pressure. You just might end up like Brittany Spears, strapped to a bed with the whole world watching. No one blinks at the phrase Crazy Bitch. In fact, it became a number one song. Don’t get me started on music videos of women in their underwear rubbing themselves, and other women, for titillation sake. Movies tell us to “Act Like a Man”. What if I don’t want to act like a man?
I won’t talk about books, because it’s so NOT sexy to read.
So there. I said it. I write literary fiction with a feminist theme.
Mama said, “Write what you know.” I took her advice.