Added: Kemisha Maggio - Date: 11.12.2021 02:50 - Views: 24265 - Clicks: 6710
Once I wrote a story about a woman who grows a baby in a pot. Dirty, rootlet-covered, lumpy little arms like two carrots except beige, reaching out of the dirt, reaching up like, Hold me. Like, more milk, please. I love the surprise when the little girl slips what looks like a giant piece of ginger into a bowl of milk, feeds it a few drops of blood, and—wonder of wonders—the root squirms and begins to coo. My own daughter had just gone off to college, and I Gender switch stories left with all the usual complicated emotions. When I thought I was finished with the story, I sent it out on submission.
But I sent it out multiple times, over close to a year, with no luck. The more prestigious the award, the more likely the subject of the narrative will be male… At the top of the prestige ladder, for the Pulitzer Prize, women wrote zero out of 15 prize-winning books wholly from the point of view of a woman or girl. The only other details I changed were that the man drinks a beer on Saturday nights rather than a glass of red wine, and when eating alone, the man chooses ribs and an omelet with ketchup rather than pasta and ice cream.
It took me about half an hour to make the changes. I chose four literary magazines I admired, and still hot and bothered, submitted. About three hours later, I received a long and generous acceptance from Kara Black, an editor at Joyland.
Three hours. Fastest acceptance in my entire life. My first thought was Yes! Woot, woot!
But my second thought was: Unconscious bias rears its ugly head. Of course, there is nothing scientific about this anecdote, nor does it prove particular bias in the brilliant editor Kara Black; after all, she had never seen the original version. I recently ed Kara to ask her thoughts on the gender switch.
So, what should women and nonconforming gender writers do with this information? Click find and replace in word to change all our points of view to male? And, of course, the answer is not simply to put more women on prize committees and in publishing, because women hold unconscious biases, too. Including feminist women like me. Or, could it be that in this case a mother going through empty nest syndrome Gender switch stories perhaps less surprising than a single dad who feels both liberated and lonely when his daughter leaves for college?
I had never thought to write a nurturing scene like that from the point of view of a father. When linking up the stories in my forthcoming collection, True Love and Other Dreams of Miraculous Escapethis past year, I kept in mind that the genders of characters could change. I realized I had a story about a single mother whose personality was very similar to the man who longed for .
I named the main character of both stories Isaac. In the process of changing my single mother into Isaac, I came upon a scene in which the main character bursts into tears, then cries themselves to sleep. I felt a strong urge to erase those tears, now that the character was a man. In my hesitation, I came straight up on my own gender biases.
I kept the scene. In the final linked collection, one of the men became a woman as well, but there are still six stories with female main characters and only five with male main characters, so I guess no Pulitzer for me. Still, for me this was a liberating process.
Switching the gender of a main character can be like planting a mysterious seed. Who knows what will grow? A flower? A baby? A monster?
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The Reset: A Gender Swap Story