A (hopefully) humorous look at the new perils of writing... may offend.
|The new writing process:
Okay, I have an idea for a story. The main character is Brian, an aspiring writer from Colorado who’s working in a brokerage firm. His loving wife, Rebecca, is busy finishing up school. The problem is, he finds that she’s… no… no, wait that doesn’t work.
A story with a male, married protagonist isn’t going to fly. Unless I make him gay. Okay, okay, so Brian’s gay, and his wife finds out, so he… no… no, if I keep the focus on him and take it away from his wife that’s going to imply her problems as a now-single woman dealing with being a poor student aren’t important. Okay, so he’s not married to her. He’s… he’s dating a guy named… named Luke. Yeah. Brian and Luke in Colorado. So Brian just finished writing his first book and… no… no, that doesn’t work.
Now I have a male-dominated story. I don’t have any female characters. Okay, so Rebecca isn’t Brian’s wife, she’s his friend from childhood. She’s the one who helps Brian and Luke to overcome the difficulties they… no, no that doesn’t work.
Now Rebecca exists entirely to benefit male characters rather than living a life of her own. Okay, I’ll give her a love interest of her own. Yeah, she’ll fall in love with Brian’s brother, Thomas, and… no… no, that doesn’t work.
Now I have her existing only to fall into a traditional heteronormative relationship, implying she can’t exist without a man. Okay, she won’t fall for Thomas. She’ll fall in love with another woman! Jennifer! Brian’s boss, a strong woman who… no, that doesn’t work.
A male writing about a lesbian relationship would be done through the male gaze and would exist only for the titillation of straight, cis-gendered males. Okay, Jennifer and Rebecca aren’t in a relationship. They’re strong, gender-role defying women – platonic life-partners who don’t need a man to succeed. Okay, so Brian, Luke, Rebecca, and Jennifer are dealing with life in Colorado after… after… wait. Four people with those names in Colorado. They sound like four white people. No, that doesn’t work.
Okay, so Luke is Asian, and Rebecca is Hispanic, and Jennifer is African-American. Wait, Colorado… I haven’t properly dealt with the experiences of Native Americans. Brian is Native-American. Wait, no, not with those names. Those names all imply these four strong, independent characters have been victimized by white ethnocentric colonialism and taken on traditionally white names. No, that doesn’t work.
So Brian is going to be Nantan, and Luke is going to be Hikaru, and Rebecca is Maria, and Jennifer is Kamka. Okay, so Kamka is Nantan’s boss at a small brokerage firm in Colorado, where they… no, no doesn’t work.
A strong woman like Kamka wouldn’t work for a brokerage firm, which is a symbol of white, cis-gendered patriarchal society. No, she’s… she’s a writer… for a blog that ferrets out the evil white, male capitalists and their efforts to destroy the planet and oppress the people. She has a team of writers that work with her, and she’s not a boss of anyone. Bosses are for a hierarchal structure in which some people have power over others and are therefore valued more than others. They’re all co-workers. Yeah, they’re all equal, brought together because… because the school where Hikaru’s sister’s child goes is threatening… no… no, that would imply a gay man can’t have children. That doesn’t work.
Hikaru’s child’s school is not allowing her to identify as female. Yeah, yeah Hikaru’s transgendered child is fighting for the right to use the girl’s locker room and there’s a bill that… wait… wait, as a white, heterosexual, cis-gendered male, I don’t have the right to assume I know the feelings of a transgendered child dealing with a heteronormative, patriarchal system. That doesn’t work.
Okay, not a transgendered child. She’s an African-American girl he adopted because he… he… no, no wait, as a white, heterosexual, cis-gendered male I don’t have the right to assume I know the feelings of an African-American girl trying to succeed in a white-dominated, patriarchal school system. That doesn’t work.
Okay, okay she’s a white girl. Wait, what about Kamka? I don’t know how an African-American adult woman trying to succeed in a heteronormative, patriarchal society feels and I have no right to apply my personal feelings to her. Okay, so she’s Jennifer, a white woman. Wait, no, no, I don’t know what a woman trying to succeed in this society has gone through, either. I don’t have the ability or the right to write a woman’s perspective. It would naturally be filtered through the male gaze and assume an incorrect, male outlook on the world. That doesn’t work.
Okay, okay, so I don’t have the right to bring Kamka or Maria or Hikaru’s daughter into this. So Hikaru has a son who… no, no Hikaru and Nantan will have unique minority experiences in a white, heteronormative society that I’m not qualified to write about. Okay, okay so they’re Brian and Luke, whose adopted son is… is… no, no as a cis-gendered heterosexual male I can’t write on behalf of gay men as I can’t understand their experiences or their perspective on a heteronormative society. So that doesn’t work.
No, no the story needs to be about what I am qualified to write about. About the people I’m allowed to speak for. About the life viewpoints that I can represent. So… so… the story… is about Brian… a white, cis-gendered, married, aspiring author… from… from Colorado… who has just started working at a brokerage firm…