In Virginia Woolf’s piece of iconic literature, “A Room Of One’s Own,” she describes the constant struggle a woman faces in the world of writing fiction. Woolf speaks fondly of writer, Jane Austen. Much like many female writers of her day, Austin was forced to write in secret. Woolf poses the question to herself,
“Would Pride and Prejudice have been a better novel if Jane Austen had not thought it nessary to hide her manuscript from her visitors?” (49).
Not only did Austen seamlessly carry on her piece without fail; I believe she used her experience of gender inequality and female expectationsas fuel for her literature.
She wrote “Without hate, without bitterness, without fear, without protest, without preaching” (Woolf 49).
Which, so often is not the case. Many individuals feel they have to bulk up their writing to compare to the men around them. Austen did not try to be one of the boys, but rather, she stuck to her true personal identify, which Woolf admires her for.
As Woolf sits down to read, Mary Carmichael’s first novel, Life’s Adventure, she begins to critics her writing, comparing her sentence structure
“Like being out at sea in an open boat” (55).
But Carmichael surprises us all, by introducing her readers to a place where no one had dared to go, a lesbian relationship.
“Chloe liked Olivia,” (56).
Those three simple words held so much controversy, yet so much importance. Carmichael describes the two women working together in a laboratory, and Chloe watching Olivia with longing an admiration, so much compassion andtenderness, how a person acts when they are truly intimately attracted to another. Unfortunately, her thoughts are too often interrupted by the need for her to go home and care for her children, as if it were almost too good to be true. Although Carmichael takes a giant leap towards a positive direction, she takes a few steps backwards by referring back to the domestic sphere, as if they were just playing in the laboratory, and their real work was to be done at home with her husband and children. Must this always be the case? Why is it that women must be mothers first and true human beings, with needs, second? Although none of us would be here without out mother, why must this always be a scapegoat? Women need to embrace their choices, as writers, as mothers, as lesbians, as heterosexuals, as painters, as musicians, or as all of the above. We must make our OWN choices, and do everything we love whole-heartedly. We must stop letting the world scare us into making choices, and embrace our gender.