Happy International Women's Day!
I am so proud to be a Woman, and even though I don't like the fact that we still need this day, I like to celebrate Womanhood on March 8 every year. That's why I published Virago exactly one year ago (I can't believe it's been a year!). All thirteen stories about badass, strong women fit perfectly on a day like today!
Can you tell I'm still smitten?
But that's not what I wanted to talk about to you today. Today, I show you how to write a feminist story in just 5 simple steps. Why? Because stories are one of the most powerful things that exist among us humans. It is through stories that our perception of the world changes. That's why, if anything, we need MORE feminist stories out there! But hear me out. Writing a feminist story is not about writing tales about women who burn their bras and denounce men in this life and the next. No, no. Writing a feminist story is about eradicating sexism with your tales. To make people think and act differently (for the better, of course) after reading your work.
Are you feeling it yet? This is how you do that.
Step 1: Invent Significant Female Characters
One of the most important things in a feminist story are its characters. While your story doesn't have to be only about women, your story definitely needs significant female characters in order for it to be feminist. These are characters with a name and a backstory who move the story forward and help the main character (who is not a white cishet man) learn their lessons. Need more tips on how to write a good character? Read this post.
Step 2: Eradicate Sexism With Your Plot
A feminist story helps eradicate sexism. Read that again, carefully. We aren't trying to dismiss gender here, but we are eradicating sexism one story at a time. This can be done in any genre, both subtly and extravagantly. It doesn't matter if you're writing a romance novel, a horror short story or a fantasy trilogy. There is no right or wrong here, as long as it boils down to the same thing: no.more.sexism. How you do that is entirely up to your amazing imagination!
Step 3: Write Out Meaningful Dialogue That Doesn't Revolve Around Romantic Relationships With Men
I'm not sure how much explanation this needs, but this is definitely an important one: your story is set on eradicating sexism, remember? That also means that you have to be mindful of the kind of dialogue you make your characters have. Women talk about more topics than men and love. Make sure you display reality in your dialogue in your feminist story. Let your female characters have conversations about anything other than their romantic relationships with men! Anything. You decide if that will be world politics, entertainment, friendships, family, or how to get rid of that one persistent nipple hair that always grows back (just kidding... or am I?).
Step 4: Make Your Characters Learn Valuable (Political) Lessons
Your main character will go through an entire journey. Your main character will at least learn one important lesson. You're writing a feminist story, that's simply a part of the journey they make as a character. In this case, it's important to make sure that lesson relates to feminism in one way or another. Better yet: make it about eradicating sexism! (yes, yes there I go again) You don't have to go overboard with the most life-changing lessons possible if you don't want to (or if it doesn't fit your story). I wrote about how to make something as mundane as eating an apple interesting in regards of character development, so you definitely have something to go with when writing about eradicating feminism. Not sure what I'm talking about? Click here.
Step 5: Think Outside Of Your Box
Last but not least... this doesn't so much relate to your writing directly as it does to the way your writing will improve from taking this step to heart. You know, there is more to the world than what exists in your comfort zone, whatever that may be. So, explore life in the Big, Wide world. I mean that in the most literal sense of the word. Talk to people you wouldn't normally approach. Watch the world around you with open eyes and an open heart. Listen without judgment. Open your ears to the stories that get silenced. Make use of your privilege where appropriate. Claim your space. Don't. Hold. Back. No matter what they tell you!
- Pia Sophia