On seeing and being seen

Yesterday I came across a New York Times article about a guy who listened to all the records on NPR’s list of greatest music by women. Whenever he talked about his dedication to hearing all the music on the list, people were shocked that he would be listening to “women’s music.”
Now, “women’s music” is, according to him, a genre that (as he describes it) is one woman and a guitar. Folksy, perhaps. But specific. And not the kind that is widely popular.
Even though he constantly said no, he was listening to “music by women” rather than “women’s music,” the misunderstandings continued.
It reminded me, painfully, of the idea in publishing and among readers (and reviewers, and art organizations that provide awards) that fiction about women is “women’s fiction” (i.e., chick lit or romance or fill in the blank with whatever genre is currently considered the lowest of the lowbrow). Or, on the wildly mistaken far end of that opinion, that fiction written by women is also always women’s fiction.
Then my partner, who is a woodworker and is reading the book of a woman who has made a name for herself as a woodworker, shared this article.
Let’s change publishing, fiction, and reading (and thus the world) by having parity for women in publishing options, review options, marketing deals, and awards opportunities.

Lost Art Press

PWNov09CVRrevised2 A knockout indeed

I’ve lost track of how many times people have written “So great to see a woman in the magazine!” following the publication of a project feature. For years I’d roll my eyes and think Never mind my gender. WHAT ABOUT THE WORK?

It’s thorny, this issue of gender representation in woodworking. You can say pretty much the same about race. When you’re the odd one out, it’s easy for readers to see only what makes you different. Which is galling when, for you, what matters is the work.

While I was on hold during a recent phone call, I glanced at Instagram and found myself tagged by Sarah Marriage at A Workshop of Our Own. She was commenting on a post by Phoebe Kuo. “Have you heard about our woodshop drinking game?” asked Sarah. “You take a shot every time you see a woman depicted working…

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