A new hashtag has cropped up on Twitter that for many female writers is almost too painful, too relatable to read. The tag, #thingsonlywomenwritershear, has amassed thousands of tweets and started trending on Twitter, chronicling the pervasive sexism women in creative industries battle on a day-to-day basis.
In a world that has given us J.K. Rowling, Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, and thousands more, one would think that by now women writers would have gained as much respect in an already-challenging industry as men. One would, sadly, be wrong.
Chocolat author Joanne Harris began tweeting using the hashtag to describe some of the comments and behaviors she has battled as a female writer all of her career. The hashtag caught on with the speed of a white male correcting a woman’s opinion online, and the entries are both illuminating and disheartening. Everyone from Wild author Cheryl Strayed to Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Emily Nussbaum shared their stories.
If you’re a woman writer and you’ve ever (ever) answered the question “So what do you do?” at a bar, chances are you have a few anecdotes you could add to this. (I know I do.) So, a few guidelines.
- Don’t assume only men are published authors.
2. Don’t assume women only write as a hobby.
3. Don’t… ever say anything like this, ever.
4. Don’t value men’s words over women’s words.
5. Don’t tell women to hide.
6. Don’t push them into boxes.
Making writing into a career is hard as hell. Making it as a woman is harder, and these anecdotes illuminate exactly how much.