You know the feeling when you think you’re having a brilliant idea that is so original and so perfect it sends shudders through your spine? And then you find out that many other people have had that same thought much before you, and their version was also much better than yours? Right. One of those moments has been brought to me by the generosity of my very average, unoriginal mind (which is, however, delusional and overestimates itself all the time) when I came up with the idea to read only books authored by women, which was maybe a year or more ago.
It actually started for me organically, if I am to be honest with myself. It was not the proverbial light-bulb moment. I slowly began to feel that I didn’t want to pick up books written by men. I was not interested anymore in men’s worldview. Not because it’s not valuable in itself, but because I’ve had enough of it already. I’ve read the classics of literature throughout my youth, and they were overwhelmingly men, of course. Which is fine, I think: for the longest time very few women wrote anything more than diaries and letters, mostly because they were not permitted anything more–they were not allowed education and if they somehow got that, they were not allowed to show it beyond the confines of their homes and salons.
But these days women write extensively. They write in every genre, on every possible topic, with all imaginable degrees of success, from garbage to Nobel-prize worthy. So I don’t feel I am limiting myself in any way by choosing only from probably half of the books that are being published. Well, I don’t actually know how many books are being published by women compared to men, but you know, women are a little bit more than half of the world’s population, so reading only what half of the population is writing doesn’t seem so restrictive, does it? I don’t feel that I am missing on big works of genius, because the chances are, for every brilliant book written by a man, there will be a woman’s book just as amazing, even if not touted as such by the painfully patriarchal and biased system of the literary establishment.
Besides, let’s not forget that many men would never read a book written by a woman. For disgusting reasons that I feel nauseated to explain here. But that is why so many women writers feel like they have to hide their identity if they want any readers of the opposite sex to pick up their tomes. And nobody makes a fuss about that. It’s normal to not want to read women. They just think silly thoughts about love and dresses and such. They are not working with the big, universal truths. But to not read men? Isn’t that just extreme and doesn’t it make you miss out on too much? Yeah, I’m crying myself to sleep because of how much I’m missing, let me tell you.
Anyway, it seems that many other women have reached similar conclusions and are making an effort to support literature by women. On Twitter, there is a #readwomen2014 campaign. We should join. It just makes good sense.
P.S. For those who wouldn’t know where to start, here is a list from The Atlantic of 21 books written by and about women that men would benefit from reading.