Today is the first of a series I hope to get many miles out of, my I Write Women (IWW) series. It’s the story of how I came to write adventure stories where women stab the shit out of things.
To help me write about writing women, I’ve enlisted the help of my fav toy of all time, Barbie:
I never got the whole, “little girls will grow up with unrealistic expectations of what their bodies should look like.” I remember someone telling me that I shouldn’t expect to look like Barbie someday. No shit. For one thing, my toes aren’t one high-heeled piece.
She’s freakishly disproportionate. She’s made of hard plastic and wasn’t huggably soft like a real human being. As a child, I wondered if this common sense was hard won for the poor deluded soul who told me I couldn’t look like Barbie. I pictured her horror when she tried to speak to Barbie and realized that Barbie would never ever speak back.
I loved adventure stories, fantasy/sci-fi or otherwise. And even though most of the adults I knew were women, there were very few women in the stories that I loved. And if there was a woman, she was almost always captured and had to wait to be rescued.
But I didn’t see this as a male/female thing. I saw it as an odd-man-out thing. The lesser represented gender gets captured. Got it. Well, I had fifteen Barbies and one Ken.
It just made sense.
Did you notice skewed gender/race/sexuality roles in the stories around you as a kid? Did you change them in your play? Maybe you just preferred matchbox.