The Mslexia Survey and How Women Can Help Redress the Literary Balance

MslexiaIn the latest issue of Mslexia, my interest was piqued by the results of a survey that asked: The big question: Why don’t women submit their writing? The conclusion was enlightening, albeit a little depressing.

I remembered completing this survey online, and although I do submit some of my work, I often leave other projects unfinished believing them to be sub-standard and not polished enough for publication. To add insult to injury, with each rejection, my self-doubt increases and my submission output diminishes. A vicious circle, you might say and, judging by the outcome of the survey, it would seem I’m not alone.

The article highlighted a comparison between how men and women dealt with rejection, going as far back as school days, and gave an insight in to why men were more dominantly placed in the literary arena than women. It seems men were able to shrug off rejection more lightly than their female counterparts, without it leaving any lasting effects. Women, on the other hand, allowed rejection to further destabilise an already wavering self-confidence, resulting in less submissions — although not necessarily a decrease in overall productivity — and thereby, reduced their chances of success.

So, it would seem, the trick is to think and behave like a man. Of course, this has to be a generalisation because I know of several men who suffer the same degree of angst when it comes to believing in their own abilities. Equally, I know of many women who are brimming with self-confidence and no amount of knocks will put a dent in their ego.

But, I take the point that it’s very much a case of getting straight back on the horse after you’ve fallen off to try and stem the tide of fear and to maintain momentum. It’s good advice and, perhaps, an indication that although we women may think we’ve developed a hard outer shell of protection, we’re actually still allowing our soft underbellies to be exposed. So, come on girls, say it with me:

I can visualise success, and I have the patience and talent to reach it.

There … don’t you feel better now. I know I do.

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One Response to The Mslexia Survey and How Women Can Help Redress the Literary Balance

  1. I also read this article in Mslexia but I’m not so sure it resonated with me as much as with you.

    As regards the difference in attitude between men and women, you could go further, especially when considering how male and females deal with failure at school. As well as regarding a referred assignment as a blip, my boy students would also claim that something wasn’t fair or ‘My teacher really hates me’ and – often – press me to re-mark and upgrade their work for one reason or another. I’m sure something of the same is reflected in the male approach to rejections.

    The big point that Mslexia missed, imo, was one you touched upon, that is that repeated rejection is very demoralising and makes you feel less confident in re-subbing.

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