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Women On Twitter Are Describing Themselves The Way Male Authors Would, And It’s So, So, Good

Young adult author Gwen C. Katz recently tweeted about how disappointed she was to read through a Twitter thread trashing “SJW’s” promoting the #OwnVoices hashtag— one which advocates the need for marginalized literary characters to be written by authors who share this same identity.

To highlight the delusion those against the movement (read: able-bodied cis white dudes) are under, one man appeared on the thread to argue the movement was unnecessary and that he— a male who so expertly and believably captured the female spirit— is evidence of that. He wrote,

I think writers should be able to write from any perspective as long as they can pull it off. It takes research, skill, and creativity, but if a good writer can’t do those things, he/she isn’t a good writer, right?

My book is a first person POV and the MC is a woman. I’m definitely not a woman. But it works because I was able to pull it off. I reject someone saying I couldn’t write a female MC because I’m a male because, well, I just did. It’s called writing.

Katz shared an excerpt from the first page of his book. The work speaks for itself.

She then shared additional passages, which, lest we forget, he offers as evidence of his skill:

“I could only imagine the thoughts that were running through his head. Naughty thoughts,” and “I could imagine what he saw in me. Pale skin, red lips like I had just devoured a cherry popsicle covered in gloss, two violet eyes like Elizabeth Taylor’s.” Check out Katz’ entire thread and keep in mind all these quotes are pulled from the first chapter alone.

Writer and podcaster Whit Reynolds turned Katz’ initial thread into a game, encouraging women on Twitter to describe themselves the way a male author would. The responses are really, really good.

 

There were plenty of responses making fun of men’s obsession with BOOBS and BUTTS and HIPS. In doing so, some truly wonderful pieces of writing emerged.

The sick, sad, underlying joke here being that women who are not conventionally beautiful in every way are not worth noticing or having around.

(Note to men: do not bother women who have headphones on.)

Women of colored tweeted about the inevitable fetishization of their race in many male-written works.

More telling was the amount of women  (a lot) who pointed out that their age/weight/profession/disability would immediately disqualify them from being written about positively by a male writer— if they were mentioned at all.

Probability those who refuse to see the validity in these threads will not have gotten to the bottom of this post, but it seems worth noting the final tweet in Katz’ thread. She doesn’t say men cannot write earnest, multi-faceted female characters— she merely points out the egomaniacal hypocrisy in discounting marginalized voices.