It’s been noted that my stories tend to take on a feminist tone. And I won’t lie, that’s entirely on purpose.
I’m flattered whenever readers point this out, as it’s one of the factors I long considered when I set out with the goal of becoming a published writer. Not that long ago, on a Facebook group established for authors and readers, it was said that I’m “all about girl power.” And I know that might seem a little funny once people come to the realization that I’m male.
But that’s just the way it is. Sure, it would be easy for me to write adventures where the main heroes are all exactly like me (again: straight, white and male) It would also be incredibly boring and not at all challenging. You see, that’s another facet to my writing: I love to be challenged. If I wasn’t challenging myself I don’t believe that writing would have held my interest for as long as it has. And yet, here I am, finding new ways to press ahead and grow as a storyteller.
I think that’s the goal that any writer should strive for. We don’t want to stay in one spot, allowing our craft to become stagnant and immovable. It’s the idea of personal growth that becomes appealing. The idea that we can go beyond the spot where we were when we first began. I may not always succeed when I set out to find a new challenge as a writer, but I’m damn sure going to keep pressing ahead no matter what. The challenge is the goal. And if I succeed, then that’s even better.
And while we’re on the subject of feminism, I think it’s also important to discuss the unseemly reality of sexism. You cannot honestly discuss one without firmly addressing the other. That it exists shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, ask any woman about their experiences with sexism and I’m fairly sure that you are going to hear a story or two (and likely many more than that). But let’s face facts: it’s not enough for women to speak out about their own experiences. We, as men, must also speak out against sexism and all the forms it can take. As a writer I do that in whatever small way I can. I strive to tell stories that leave harmful stereotypes in the dust, that discard of the insidiously sexist tropes that have too often made up the world of literature. It’s a small step to be sure, but every step, even the small ones, are important. I won’t kid myself to think that it’s enough. We also have to call out the real world, everyday occurrences that happen, and we have to strive to be part of the solution and never, ever the problem. There are countless examples, and if you don’t believe me, start the conversation with a woman you know. Ask them and, above all, listen. It’s the only way we can hope to truly stamp this kind of behavior out. Those conversations are needed in today’s society, perhaps now more than ever, and we can’t shy away from them. To do so is to fail, and we’ve failed at this subject for far too long.
If I fail in the characterizations in my stories, I hope that someone out there will bring that to my attention. I want to make sure that every woman created in my fictional worlds are authentic, well-rounded, strong, and free of the tropes and stereotypes that have been too commonplace. If I fail at that, I want to know. It’s the only way that I can continue to grow and to ensure that I truly earn the praise some readers have seen fit to toss my way. If I’m not part of the solution, then I’m a part of the problem and that’s not a place I want to be.
Yes, I consider myself a feminist writer. I wish more of us were.