|A prime example.|
As a writer, I have developed a thick skin. It's important. I've made hundreds of submissions to magazines, which means I've received hundreds of rejections. And that's what happens when you're a writer. I know that now, and I knew it then because I was lucky enough to have a mentor who believed in me.
Women are socialized as girls to doubt themselves. To apologize. To please. I like to think of myself as a strong woman, but I still back away from things. I tell myself that I don't really know what I'm doing, or I have nothing to say.
In college, I needed to build a bunk bed. I'd done stage crew for years and built all kinds of things. But when it came time to buy supplies I deferred to a man's opinion. This pile of machismo who shall remain unnamed (not the husband; this was before I met the husband) was seduced by some giant bolts we saw at Home Depot, and we ended up using them. They were ridiculous, and required a ridiculous drill bit and ridiculous wrenches to use. Not only that, but this man's design included no cross-bracing. Half an hour into the building of the wobbliest bed ever built I knew I had made a mistake, that I could have done much better on my own. But it was too late. Male certainty had prevailed over female doubt.
Yes, I know I'm oversimplifying this. But that memory serves for me as a clear reminder to be strong.
At almost the same time as the VIDA count, I became aware of this story about The New Yorker rejecting its own story. In brief, David Cameron:
"grabbed a New Yorker story off the web (no, it wasn't by Alice Munro or William Trevor), copied it into a Word document, changed only the title, created a fictitious author identity, and submitted it to a slew of literary journals, all of whom regularly grace the TOC of Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, O’Henry, etcetera and etcetera. My cover letter simply stated that I am an unpublished writer deeply appreciative of their consideration."And the story was repeatedly rejected, even by the magazine that published it. So, that's hilarious. But in light of all this other stuff I can't help but wonder whether the fictional identity was male or female.
There's more to this, and I still can't find it. It has to do with the backlash Amanda Palmer is getting, and wondering whether it would be happening if she was a man. It has to do with reading that blind auditions increase the percentage of women hired into orchestras. It even has to do with the Steubenville rape trial, although I wish it didn't.
Can anyone help me put these pieces together?
Or, wait. Maybe I can do it myself.