We women like to talk about equal rights all the time. We shout about them from rooftops and stand on soap boxes explaining why we deserve the same as men. That’s all well and good, but we can complain about us not being treated as equals to men all we want and it won’t help. Because the first place we need to work on equality is amongst women.
If you had asked me a decade ago if I thought there was a hierarchy amongst women, I would have told you no. My time in darts and my time as an indie author have changed my mind. I read an article a few weeks ago about women not understanding the real concept of competition among female darters. In it, the author discussed that when a woman suddenly shoots to the top of the ranks, she becomes a bit of a leper. That may be true. I don’t consider women who are better than me to be people I have to dislike. However, I have noticed that women who are better than me have no interest in talking to me most of the time.
I’ll give you a recent example. In March, my SO and I host a private tournament. It is invite only and I do most of the organizing, paperwork, money collecting, etc. It has existed for five or six years now. As my SO was trying to talk to some ladies into joining, he told them they should really be talking to me. Only they didn’t know who I was. I’m not the world’s best dart player, but I’m not the world’s worst. I have faced most of these women in competition on numerous occasions and my SO and I always travel together. However, my SO is damn good at darts and I’m middle of the road. So the ladies remember him, but they don’t know me, despite attending tournaments for 8 years now. After I gave a rundown of the rules and things for the tournament to this group, they took the info and walked away. One of them asked “Why is he with her, she’s not a good player?” This group of better lady players consider me a nobody and therefore, do not believe that my SO should have stooped so low as to live with a woman who is inferior to darts as he is. It wasn’t the first time I had been insulted in such a way. Several years ago, a dart groupie attempted to get my SO to go back to her room with him and part of her argument was that I wasn’t a good player, he could do better. Surprisingly, he paid her for the lap dance and grinding and came back to our room to tell me about it. In a rare moment of utter devotion, he told me he couldn’t do better than me, even if I didn’t play darts at all.
The same holds true among writers. Yes, there are good ones, ones that don’t care about how many books you sell and consider you an equal. But there are some that seem to think there aren’t enough readers to go around and will only help another female author under certain circumstances. I fall into a strange area for female writers. My best selling series has almost no sex and when it is mentioned, it’s usually mentioned in passing and serial killer related. So, where does this put me in the class system of female writers? My conclusion is somewhere near the bottom. Most female writers are shocked when I tell them I don’t write romance and when I do, it’s The Dysfunctional Chronicles which is a lot less about romance and a lot more about blowing things up, the Russian mob, and the Universe being stacked against the main character who perseveres regardless. She’s clumsy. She’s accident prone. And on the rare occasions she needs rescuing, it’s not really the guys that come to her aid, but her best female buddies. I totally admit the guys exist mostly to add plotlines when needed (like for The Dysfunctional Honeymoon & The Dysfunctional Proposal). This makes me non-mainstream female writer material. And just like in darts, I feel it every time I attempt to interact with specific writers. I don’t feel the warm, fuzzy, love & support stuff that I get from writers like C. Patt, Adria Waters, and Amanda Booloodian. I feel like a leper.
Now, I will take my share of the blame for both of these situations. I’m shy. I’m hard to get to know. And the most damning sin; when I’m nervous or overwhelmed, I just spew random facts that pertain to the conversation I’m trying to be included in. However, I also feel that these women are not putting forth any effort to get to know me. They would rather ignore me, cast me to the side, and treat me like I don’t belong.
So, while I agree that we have some issues with ladies attempting to tear down the foundations for ladies that are better than them in something. We also have the problem of the ladies at the top completely ignoring those in the middle or at the bottom.
How can we expect men to treat us as equals when we can’t even treat each other as equals?