#ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear and #WhatWoCWritersHear

Deepali Agarwal |
6 years ago

Chocolat author Joanne Harris starting a hashtag on Monday called #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear, with stories ranging from casual to blatant sexism she faces as a woman writer. The hashtag was quickly amplified by many female authors on Twitter, including V.E Schwab, Cheryl Strayed, and Jodi Picoult:

peak mansplaining:

because while wit in men is desirable, in women it is something to ‘handle’, yes?

ah yes, “boy books”

I thought scrolling through the hashtag was infuriating and distressful by itself, but meet the people who think this is “victim mentality” and uncalled for:

Dear book people on the internet, here’s the thing. When a group of people who have been there and done that tell you that they face a certain, rampant problem in publishing, and have been, their entire careers, you do not belittle their concerns. You do not label it as whining, you do not tell them that things like grants, meant to empower, are privileges. You do not try to convert their rage into something meaningless. I can guarantee you that women would absolutely love to not have to be at the receiving end of insults and harassment and underhanded snark.

Dear women who are criticizing this as victim mentality, you break my heart. Recognize the fact that in the case that you have not yourself faced any of these issues, you are one of few lucky, privileged souls. Your nationality, or race, perhaps, shields you from this ugliness. Listen to those who don’t have it this easy. Amplify their voices. Follow #WhatWoCWritersHear (started by L.L. McKinney, @ElleOnWords), because let’s face it, if white women are receiving comments that make them feel invalidated, women of colour have seen and heard worse from white literary agents and editors because the world is a garbage fire.

Editor’s note: this post was updated to credit the creator of the #WhatWoCWritersHear hashtag