13 June 2016

Pardon Me Boys


by Jan Grape

Okay. Don't any of you guys get upset with me, but WOO-HOO. We finally have a woman candidate running for President of these United States for the Democratic Party. Yes, I'm with her: Hillary Rodham Clinton. I'm not going to politic here except to say, It's about danged time. So forgive me Bernie Sanders supporters and that other guy that's running on the GOP ticket. Woo-Hoo it's about danged time.

Around thirty years ago there were a little group of women mystery writers, led by Best Selling author, Sara Paretsky who formed a group known as Sisters-in-Crime. Women were being portrayed in violent and sadistic ways in a number of men's books. Women were getting the short end of the stick on money, reviews, accolades, awards and the goal was to try to change that. It went over fairly well. I remember one woman writer I knew from Houston who said, Mystery writers both male and female get shafted as far as reviews and money goes. In a way she was right. But reviewers mainly  by-passed mystery novels written by women. And not just because there were the traditional or cozy, not because there were Romantic Suspense. Women mystery writers were just ignored for the most part. it was as if no one thought a woman could write a mystery/suspense/thriller as good as a man. Or that women's mystery novels were as important as a man's.

Taking an approach that monitored book reviews. Most newspapers were quick to push reviews that were more fair to women. You sort of got the idea, that it had never occurred to them. Maybe that's how many things in our patriarcial society got so heavily slanted to the male of the species. Yeah, right. We just never thought women might have a need to borrow money to buy a house or start a business or buy a car or just needed a personal loan. The world began to change during World War II.
Women went to work in jobs that traditionally were given to men. But the men were overseas fighting. As soon as the war was over and the men came home, women were laid off. Many women were not happy about it.

Women had been enjoying their new-found freedom of making enough money to support themselves and their children. Many of these women were now widowed. Or their husbands came home with injuries both physical and mental. Divorces happened. Women needed to go back to work. However they discovered a large disparity in wages. No matter how hard they tried to make things more equal in pay, nothing much was happening. Guess what? That's still how it is. Women still are fighting for equal pay for equal work. It was hugely noticeable in writers. Even though Sisters-in-Crime has made progress, it still is a man's world in publishing. Mainly because women do not have the power positions in publishing houses.

Just to mention one other tidbit. Many male mystery writers have joined Sisters-in-Crime because unless you last name is King, or Connelley or Child (not to take anything away from those guys) you're not being offered as much money as you deserve. Our Brothers-in-Crime found we were not about replacing men mystery authors and we had some good marketing ideas.  Besides Sisters have done pretty well. I don't know the membership numbers but it's in the thousands. There are local chapters all over the US and there are even many International Chapters. It's been good, but we're not finished by a long hot. This is our thirtieth year Anniversary.

Two final notes before I close. Just recently we've all seen how even some lawyers and judges feel about women and rape. As a woman, I'm sickened by the non-sentence the Stanford Swimmer, Brock Turner received by the Stanford Alum Judge for sexual assault and rape. I worry about my daughter,, granddaughters, nieces, great nieces and great grandnieces. My cousins, any female of any age in my family. Rape isn't about the twenty minutes of action that young man got. Rape isn't about sex. It's about POWER. Male dominance over female. We must fight against the rape culture of this country.

After what happened in that Orlando club last night, we must continue fighting against hate in whatever shape or form it takes. We must ban these assault weapons. I don't want to take away anyone's guns but those high magazine weapons are only made for wars and for the military to carry. Not the person trying to protect his home and family or the person who wants to hunt. The Congress of these United States need to get untangled from the Gun Manufacturers who pour money into the politicians pockets and do what is right for us.

Pardon me boys. I love you, but  WHOO-HOO. It's about danged time we have a strong female candidate for President.

8 comments:

janice law said...

A few more good women in congress wouldn't hurt either.

Anonymous said...

I rejoice with you in our gains, and mourn with you all the ways the existing power structure is trying to roll back those gains and prevent others. WONDERFUL POST!!! Thank you for voicing these things!!

Elizabeth said...

Sisters are doin' it for themselves. Onward & upward! And I'm proud to say I'm married to a man who supports Hillary for president.

Eve Fisher said...

We need all the female politicians, lawyers, doctors, and judges we can get. The Stanford Swimmer rape case was DISGUSTING. And I, too, am proud that we have a strong female candidate for President! Woo-hoo indeed!

Richard Moore said...

Good piece I remember when an early organizing meeting Sisters in crime was held in Bogies Restaurant in NYC. What a success! As for Hillary, she is all that can save us from the vulgar, dangerous fascist.

Melodie Campbell said...

We're still fighting for equal treatment in reviews and awards, Jan. And for the prime publishing contracts. It's going to be a long battle.
We surely need Sisters in Crime to continue with their mandate, and not forget it. I'm a little worried that some of the branches have forgotten it, with the way they are featuring male authors regularly at their meetings.

Jan Grape said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words and support. Maybe when we actually get our first woman President we can all get more energized and we'll feel a sense of renewal. We'll just have to work to elect Hillary and blue all down the line.

Jan Grape said...

Thanks all for your kind words and support. I'm hoping once we get our
Woman President elected it will energize and renew our sisterhood even more. Let's all work to vote blue all down the line.