An Unpleasant Discovery

On NOT feminism and submitting stories to literary magazines.

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I’m not a feminist.

During my early years of university, I was a feminist as is often the case when young women are first exposed to Women’s Studies and sociology. I burned bras, yelled, “Fuck the patriarchy!” and stopped shaving and all that jazz. Just kidding. I still trimmed my mustache.

I currently no longer go by that title, and I intentionally avoid discussing gender issues because when I did carry that F word on my back, I faced not only resistance, but hatred. It wasn’t hatred inspired by anything that I had said or done, in fact, I was relatively soft spoken even back then, but I felt hatred because of the bra burning stereotype that I just poked fun at. Worst of all, I had the misfortune of meeting two people who are with out a doubt the worst humans I have ever and will ever encounter in my life. They identified themselves as feminists. Every time I spoke up for feminism, I was defending those monsters. And it wasn’t worth it anymore. So I laid down in the stream and let it carry me away rather than standing waist deep with the current bashing against me. Now I float in this weird untitled grey area where, sure, I think everyone should be equal, but if someone says a sexist joke and I open my mouth in response, it will be in laughter. And maybe laughing makes me a bad person or even a traitor against my own sex, but my laughter will never even brush the same realm of cruelty of those feminists. So I will not feel guilty for it.

I’ve been working really hard on the goals I made in this post about my delusions of power.

It still baffles me how much work it is to find just one literary magazine that MIGHT be a good fit for my writing.

But it’s enjoyable work. I mean, I’m in school to be a teacher. Or whatever. At my core, I’ve always wanted to be a full time writer, and since I’ve been working on my mental health too, I’ve actually been going out of my way to make time for my writing goals.

So far I’ve submitted my story called “What Counts” to five magazines(my goal is 50). Along my literary travels, I’ve also come across two magazines to submit a piece I wrote for a creative non-fiction class called “Contagious.” For some reason I always discount that story. I always think it’s bad, but every time I read it, I’m always impressed by it. Calyx magazine even gave me a really encouraging rejection letter when I submitted it to them. You’d think that would inspire some sort of faith in the quality of the story, but no. That’s too logical for the likes of me.

However–it makes me cringe in anticipation of the backlash I may get for writing this–one thing I’ve noticed in my travels through digital stories is an overabundance of literature by men (excluding those ‘zines that are dedicated solely to women’s works), and very little by women.

It wasn’t in every magazine, but it was enough that I noticed it when my anti-feminist brain wasn’t even looking for it.

I’ve read about an imbalance between men and women writers publishing success before, but I’ve never really noticed it until now. Even when I was a feminist, I always kind of assumed that it wasn’t as bad as it was being made out to be.

But this is something I’ve been seeing with my own eyes. Which makes me think that maybe I should take on a male or gender neutral pseudonym like George Elliot (AKA Mary Ann Evans) when I sign my cover letters to magazines.

To use a term that my boyfriend often says, it “chaps” me to think of doing that.

I’m selfish.

I want credit.

I want compliments.

I want writing fame.

I want cake.

Mmmm.

Cake.

A lot of people have discouraged me from writing throughout my life. If I ever do make it as a successful full-time writer, I want there to be no question if my work is mine. I want my name on it so I can smush it into the faces of my doubters and go, “SEE?! YOU TOLD ME I COULDN’T, AND I STILL DID IT. I’M THE BEE’S KNEES.”

But if my name really will decrease my chances of publication, the question then becomes, which is more important: my name or my dream of being a writer? Obviously the latter.

But it’s been two hundred years since Mary Ann Evans hid her identity to get published. Maybe it has changed and I’m simply over thinking it and seeing the imbalance in only a small sample of literary magazines when overall it’s really quite equal. But if I’m not, it’s a risk. My name could hold me back.

It’s something I’m going to keep in mind for now. I’m not quite ready to surrender the face smushing of my doubters yet.

In the meantime, I think I may pull a J.K. Rowling and submit stories only using my first and middle initial with my last name. It’s a fair compromise.

Chapped indeed.

2 thoughts on “An Unpleasant Discovery”

  1. I’m not a feminist either. Yes, I believe in equal pay for equal work and that kind of thing.

    You have a lot of ability and I think you should use your name. I think the key is to just keep submitting everywhere and anywhere. Also, if all else fails there is always the option to self publish. There are literary agents who can help you get published and promote your work. I think there are still a lot of options for you. Just don’t give up and don’t give in! You got this!!

    Like

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