Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Celebrating Our Foremothers

I think it's important to take a moment to contemplate how the women's struggle has been memorialized in the written word. Female novelists, whether a feminist message was woven into the fabric of their texts or not, pioneered women's place in fiction. Women such as Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Charlotte Perkins Gilman have all forged the path to allow for women's voices to come to fruition on the page. These women from the 18th and 19th centuries wrote social commentary and in their own ways were trying to combat social ills.

Harry Potter did wonders for J.K. Rowling, but without an older generation establishing women's work at legitimate we might never have had the pleasure to read her work. Women of color are getting recoginition from the vanguards of Toni Morrison, Monica Ali had the opportunity to be published. Moreover, major publishing houses are now starting to invest in talents such as Zadie Smith. If it were not for Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group that published some of the greatest modernist fiction, a great deal of it written by women, where would we be?

The written word still has some dominance by men. Think of your top ten favorite books; how many of them are written by women? So, no matter if you read empowering chick-novels or esoteric writing, it matters that you're supporting female communication. Women's fiction gave words on the page a new meaning, even a feminist spin. Iit gave their positions a voice and their ideas a home, which we can cherish forever. Visit your local library and demand more women writers, take the time to read a novel by a woman, and honor their legacy by putting pen to paper.

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