I am not a female writer. Now, some of you may be saying, “But, Donna, you are a female.”
You’re absolutely right. I am a female. I am also a mother, daughter, and sister. I am overweight, I have curly hair, and green eyes. I like to play computer games. All these things are true, but no one ever expects me to say I’m a plump writer or a green-eyed writer or a gamer writer.
This topic came up one evening over dinner with my fellow Purple Ink Writers. When I stated that I didn’t think of myself as a female writer, one of my friends looked at me as if I’d started speaking ancient Greek.
It’s true that I’m not terribly feminine. I never wear dresses, and rarely use make-up, prefer jeans and a t-shirt to anything else. Comfortable shoes are the rule for me, I don’t even own a pair of high heels, and I spend about three minutes per day fixing my hair. None of that means that I’m not female, though.
Being female is just one thing about me. I knit. I make a mean hamburger stew. I can drive a tractor, I love to make smoked ribs and chicken, I can shoot a gun, then field strip it and clean it. I like dogs better than cats. I am both a geek and a nerd. At no point do I feel the need to describe myself as a female who can drive a tractor, or a woman who loves dogs. My gender is one aspect of who I am and it does not define everything about me.
Writing is not – or, at least, shouldn’t be – a gender specific vocation. It doesn’t require big muscles or a soprano voice. All that’s required is the willingness to pour your soul out onto paper and, perhaps, the willingness to trust it to strangers.
I am not a female writer.
I’m a writer.