I am a feminist. I am a writer. When these two identities come together, I believe that magic can happen. One influences the other – the writer will read the comments of feminist articles to observe the behaviors in the conversation, for future character reference; the feminist will incorporate her beliefs into her writing. So how do I incorporate my beliefs in my writing?
Female characters. The main characters of my novellas and novels are female. The world has so many books from the male perspective – this does not mean these books aren’t good (or, in the case of the Harry Potter series, phenomenal) – it just means that the world is lacking the female perspective. When I was a young writer of 14, I thought that all works of merit had to be written in the male perspective, simply because that was the literature I was exposed to. Male authors and male characters dominate literature curriculum, and works by women writers are glossed over. We live in an era where a woman can choose to write under her own name rather than choose a male alias, and I am going to take full advantage of this opportunity. My characters are women – strong women, insecure women, aspiring women, women who make different decisions than I.
Women writers, and their women characters, deserve to be recognized, written, and read.
Queer characters. I am bisexual. My characters are bisexual. My characters are lesbian. My characters are gay. (I’ll admit that I still have a long way to go regarding asexual and transgender characters, but I’m working on it!) I love writing bisexual characters in particular – I haven’t been open with my bisexuality for very long, so writing bisexual characters is a way for me to connect with my identity.
Diverse characters. I use the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks to help raise awareness over the world’s need for representation of all kinds of characters, other than cis-gender, straight, able-bodied, white men. This is only one description of an entire human population. Some of my characters are black, some of my characters are brown, some of my characters are white. This isn’t to say that I will never write something that doesn’t include a cis-gender, straight, able-bodied, white male character (I have!), but they are usually a side character or a love interest. The world is diverse; writing a world that isn’t is writing a world that is devoid of beauty and compassion and representation.
Power in poetry. Whenever I experience sexism, I write a poem about it. This cements the experience, freezing the moment in time. I have a journal dedicated entirely to feminist poetry. The beauty of poetry can be found anywhere, even in the dark corners of bigotry.
When someone makes a sexist remark, or states a bigoted opinion, I write with more determination. For every catcall that has been directed at me, there is a female character. For every time I have been treated differently because of my gender or sexuality, there exists a new plotline. My pen is both my sword and shield in this kyriarchal society, and my writing is my fortress. I am a feminist. I am a writer.