I remember sharing this photo on Facebook (taken from Cup of Jane on Facebook. Go check em out) and had a flurry of comments, mostly along the lines of ‘you’re joking? Right? That doesn’t happen nowadays.’ Um, sadly yes, it does. Even in the 21st century, it would seem that it’s the husband who gets the ‘glory’ while the wife is supposed to sit quietly and just adore him & her family.
However, one friend asked if I thought it was a) because I’m a woman or b) because no one really knows or understands what I do. I mulled, as I frequently do while doing the washing up (along with squats. Seriously, I’ve become a little addicted to doing squats while washing up). I took myself back through assorted social situations to try and remember a time I got to introduce myself as a ‘writer’ or whichever job it was at the time. It was sadly significantly less than the number of times I’d had to say what my husband did and, to add insult to injury, answer follow-up questions!
Honestly, hubby’s current job has interesting elements and his company is lovely but how about asking me about world building, character development or even if I’ve killed anyone good recently? People seem oddly reluctant to ask about my creative endeavours and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a woman or due to the industry I’m not in.
Having mulled and squatted it was a comment from the Lamb which caused the lightbulb to flick on: Mama doesn’t ‘go’ to work, but daddy goes to work. She sees hubby leave in the morning and return in the evening where I ask about his day. His work is ‘visible’, he has a location and a clear remit of what he needs to do, which can be easily expressed and is understood by most people (or translated as ‘boring stuff’ if you’re a three year old like the Lamb).
In contrast, the Lamb (and by extension, society) sees me as someone who barely leaves the house. Whilst she may see me typing on my iPad, for her, technology extends as far as playing games. The concept of ‘writing’ as a career is very vague notion for most people – books just appear, don’t they? It doesn’t take long to write a book, does it? And writing isn’t a career, is it? Most writers just do it for fun and have wealthy benefactors who pay the rent.
Whilst I’d love to have a wealthy millionaire act as my patron and pay my bills whilst I while away hours in my head, the reality of writing is very different: it’s a very competitive area where even if your work is precise and unique, you may still not gain any recognition. It’s long hours, writing, editing, submitting, getting rejected, and submitting again. My post ‘From Sub to Pub‘ gives a brief overview of the hard work everyone puts into getting stories published and whilst my ‘path to publication‘ is far from unique, I hope it shows the work I have done.
Ok, so this post has gone in a slightly different direction to the one I intended. I’m still grumpy that as a society a women’s role is still linked to her husband and family. Yes, in a large degree, that’s due to the patriarchy, but I realise I also don’t talk about my work much – what’s to stop me from explaining hubby’s job briefly before launching into mine? May seem a little self-serving and self-publicising but frankly, if I don’t, how will people know what I do or learn of my books? Hopefully through monthly challenges such as ‘March Meet the Maker‘, I can help people understand my writing and crafting process (as well as sell my wares!). Perhaps if I learned to be more assertive (difficult as an introvert!) about my own work, it may challenge peoples views of working at home mothers.