These feel like turbulent times, don’t they? Wait–haven’t I asked that question here before? (I have.) Maybe I should say, these feel like transformative times. And some days it feels more like upheaval than transformation. But I suspect transformation requires an aspect of upheaval. Just as action evokes reaction, reform invites traditionalism, and repression incites rebellion. The more vigorous the stir, the greater the current.
Case in point: the #MeToo Movement and the evolution of gender relations. The sheer breadth of the movement helps to create its impact. And it’s an impact that invites self-reflection, from all of us. I don’t think I’m the only male who’s given pause to reflect, not just on my current attitudes and behavior when it comes to gender, but on my past as well.
For we writers, the impetus to self-examination wrought by social conflict and change is all the greater. It’s sort of what we do. As much as we’d all like to consider ourselves enlightened and progressive on such issues, we can rest assured that the nature of our undertaking—sharing stories rooted in human interaction—will reveal our blind spots and lapses.
After all, if we don’t climb outside our own boxes and take a good look, others will. Even if we diligently strive to be unboxed, we are bound to have our assumptions challenged. And often because of it, our sensibilities must evolve. Or else we’re left clinging to self-delusion. Though that may sound slightly ominous, I’ve come to appreciate it as a benefit of the gig.
Patting My Own Back
I have to admit, writing about gender in this forum is a bit daunting. But I also have to admit, when it comes to the aforementioned self-evaluation and reflection on gender, I tend to give myself pretty good marks. And yet I also realize that the comfort of self-absolution is a trap, and that presumption is the enemy of enlightenment. I also recognize that any enlightenment I can claim is in no small way due to the example and inspiration of the awesome women in my life—particularly my wife and our mothers.
As a writer, I feel that my self-examination on the issue of gender is more crucial than typical because of one of the primary elements of my storytelling—one that appears in every manuscript I’ve undertaken. My stories feature warrior women.
The inclusion is one that I’ve never taken lightly. As evidence of my ongoing reflection on it, I offer a post I wrote over six years ago, titled Regarding Kickass Warrior Chicks. The title helps to illustrate my point about ongoing reflection and evolving sensibilities. [Read more…]