I want to start this entry with stating that I HATE the word "female author". Because there's no such thing as a "male author" in our day-to-day conversations. I have been contemplating what I want to call myself ever since I started my authorpreneurship (more on that later). In my opinion, "woman author" sounds as dumb as "female author", maybe even more so. Nobody alive in the 21st century uses the word "authoress" anymore, and I don't even think "writress" is a word (judging by the people who messaged me when I called myself a writress a while ago). So I'm still coming up with the right name and until then... I'll just use "author". Because I am one. An author who happens to be a woman as well.
I don't believe in differentiation, especially not when it comes to artists. At the end, we all want to get our art out there and change the world a little along the way, don't we? But we, Authors Who Also Happen To Be Women, are seen as different. In that respect, it has become important to me to take over the narrative and stand out against the world of Western men dominating our book stores, libraries and literature.
I've been a writer ever since I can remember. My first stories date back to right after Y2K, when I learned how to hold a pen and what I need to do with it on paper. I've taken my craft seriously ever since then, and I've become better at what I do with every piece that arises under my hands. However, I noticed that it doesn't matter how serious my art is to me, writing (even if it's your main source of income) is seen as nothing more than a hobby to many... men. They will ask me what my REAL job is or tell me that my husband must have a good job then, in order for me to write full time. Without ever having read any of my stories, they assume that what I do is nothing but a joke.
I see this happening around me all the time, I'm definitely not the only one. Sadly, it's only Authors Who Also Happen To Be Women who are at the receiving end of these judgments. Even more so, Non-Western Authors Who Also Happen To Be Women. Where "female" (ick!!!) stories are seen as less important, stories by, for, and about non-western women are seen as laughable. Until our stories fit in the way these men view the world. When we talk about oppression from our own culture, when we talk about how we benefit from their point of view and when they are portrayed as the saviors of us DaMsElS iN dIsTrEsS... then they are the first to cheer us on. But when we tell our own stories, when we amplify our own voice... that space is not meant for us anymore.
And so we have Women's Literary Prizes. We are expected to take compliments like "you write well for a woman" to heart. We have 'women's fiction'. We are being secluded, because we are Authors Who Also Happen To Be Women. And it pisses me off. But my experiences fuel my art rather than tone it down. Our stories need to be heard. And one day, we will be the ones dominating shelves and libraries.
- Pia Sophia