Danielle Steel on being asked if she’s “still” writing: “I think it is something that only men do…
Danielle Steel on being asked if she’s “still” writing: “I think it is something that only men do to only women, and not just to me”
The best-selling author is popping off wonderfully on her blog:
There is a phenomenon that I have encountered for a long time, years, which I always take personally, has irritated me considerably, and I figured that people just do to me to be annoying. I just discovered that I am not the only one it happens to, and I think it is something that only men do to only women, and not just to me.
It goes like this, I run into a man I know or meet at a dinner party for the first time in a long time. After hello, they open with, “So, are you still writing?” Hmmm…..this immediately suggests to me that they have not read the NY Times (bestseller list) in many years, the Wall Street Journal, or maybe they don’t read at all. Yes, I am STILL writing. What this does is that it immediately puts my writing into the category as a hobby. As in, are you still taking piano lessons, doing macrame, have a parrot? I don’t have a huge ego about my work, but let’s face it, for me it is a job. A job I love, and I have been doing it since I was 19 years old. I have been in the Guinness book of world records repeatedly for having a book on the bestseller list for more weeks consecutively than whoever. Yes, for Heaven’s sake, I am still writing. It’s my work, my job, how my family eats and went to college.
In the rest of the post, titled “Are You Still a Brain Surgeon?”, Steel talks about her recent discovery that this happens to many of her friends as well:
In our conversation, we figured out that certain lines of work are considered acceptable by the men who make those comments. Interior Design is not threatening, it’s okay. Being an artist. Probably being a model, cooking, and a flight attendant. But go into business, make a product, cross the line into a business a man would do, or like to do, and you’re in trouble, and suddenly you’re a threat. We’re not trying to take jobs away from men, or make them look bad. We’re working. So are they. And if we’re selling art, or making shoes, or writing, we’re working as hard as everyone else, and deserve some respect for how hard we work. Ladies, watch out for the men who resent the kind of work you do and make nasty comments. And Gentlemen, please be nice and please don’t make those comments about our work. Give us a break. And yes, I STILL write.
It is very bizarre to imagine one of Danielle Steel’s acquaintances asking her if she’s still writing; she’s one of the few writers in America whose work you cannot not see. But still, I wonder why it took so long for her to figure out that this condescension is both sexist and widespread. Everyone should talk about this stuff more! Over the weekend a friend of mine, a pretty woman who manages an all-male band, told me that she still sometimes gets barred from venues because the bouncer won’t believe that she’s actually the band’s manager, and assumes she’s a groupie just trying to push her way in.