ICYMI: Writing is hard. Even if you do manage to finish that novel you’ve been working on, the obstacles standing between you and your publishing goals abound. And, even writers who do succeed will likely have to work a separate job to support themselves.
If you’re a woman ― especially a woman of color ― there are added hitches. Your work is less likely to win awards, less likely to be reviewed by major outlets, and, when it is reviewed, it’s more likely to be stereotyped as domestic or family-centric than men’s work is.
There are other, less easily quantified hurdles, too, which Chocolat author Joanne Harris began to list under the Twitter hashtag #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear on Monday. She wrote that, when on a book tour with a male publicist, or with a fellow writer who was a man, she has been mistaken for a publicist and not an author.
She continued by noting questions and assumptions she often hears in her line of work, including, “Who does the housework when you’re away?” and “But your husband puts food on the table,” even though she’s been her family’s main breadwinner for over two decades.
A chorus of women writers chimed in, including Wild author Cheryl Strayed and Outlander author Diana Gabaldon. The anecdotes run the gamut, and each is illustrative of the pernicious acts of sexism faced by women in creative fields.
UPDATE: A new hashtag, #WhatWoCWritersHear, has been created to address specific experiences of women writers of color.