This week I read an article that outlines the severe under-representation of women in positions of power in the arts. It’s written in the style of a year-in-review, but includes some singularly disturbing stats:
“Only 25% of the 178 songs in the Top 40 were sung by women, and there was only one song of the 178 written entirely by women without a male somehow involved in the process. No woman produced a song in the Top 40 by herself (and only 3.2% were co-produced by a woman and a man). … This year, women directed only 5% of all studio films and directed only 16% of all television episodes (in the 2013–14 season, 70 shows hired no women at all). The number of women writers on TV staffs dropped from 30.5% to 29%. The numbers are even more condemnable when it comes to women of color; in the 2014–15 television season, for example, women of color directed only 3% of all episodes.”
The article concludes with the call to ensure women are paid and recognized for their contributions to the arts without reference to those incidental male colleagues who may have contributed, but at this point are being granted the public recognition for the women’s achievements. And for women to seek out (and create, as necessary) collectives that support this goal.
While this all is fodder for my inner feminist, it also made me recognize how extraordinarily lucky I’ve been in finding a group of women writers who are willing to cooperate, collaborate, and support one another. First among equals is, of course, Gayla. She’s a generous, frank, imaginative, and down-to-earth mentor who’s willing to give honest feedback and guidance about things that work and things that don’t for an indie author. Kait is the brain behind the ROW80 support group, which has been an outstanding source of ongoing cheerleading and accountability for me for a few years now. Dionne is giving back to the writer’s world by developing and supporting Booktastik. And, naturally, the other ladies in my blogroll made it there for a reason: They’ve answered questions, volunteered their time or support, or otherwise facilitated my path down the author’s road.
I hope I’m as generous as they all are, and will be looking more actively for ways to pay it forward this year. To start, I’ll be back again next round as a ROW80 sponsor.
All of this, as well as the traditional holiday whirl of parties, though, reminds me of a different mantra of mine: “Introverts Unite! Separately. In your own homes.” Hubs probably understood that when he sent me an article of 50 quotes geared toward our introverted tendencies. Or why I’ve been thinking about dog facts (hubs forwarded interesting Husky facts) like those being researched as part of a collaboration between GE and Mic. There are some elements of human/dog relationships that just aren’t available through other domesticated species’ partnerships, and the comment that both humans and dogs treat the interaction with the same level of dedication, focus, and intensity as a standard human parent/child relationship certainly rang true from my experiences with my huskies over the past almost 18 years.
As for actual progress toward my goals… Well… I added about 900 words to my WIP. We walked daily for short stretches and took one longer walk. Our stay-at-home date night(s) introduced me to The Expanse, a SyFy production both gripping and gritty. We’re up-to-date on the episodes released so far and I’m anxious to see what happens next. The science parts of the fiction are understated, but conspicuous throughout–the rules against torturing people using gravity itself being but one minor example (i.e. for folks born in low-gravity circumstances, the burden of full gravity is literal torture). After the more cerebral tensions of the series of British stories we’ve enjoyed recently, it’s strange to see blood and gore and action in classic American style. But since the story (as far as I can tell three episodes in) has an arch about the progression of a cold war to a hot war, it’s also appropriate. And a sad testament to the fact that even if humans could unite under a global banner, our territorial possessiveness incline us to want dominion over even remote habitations.
I’m not sure whether it’s the time of the year for all things to slow, or if I’m being unusually laggard in finding my footing in regaining my writing muscles, but I missed on the majority of this round’s goals. As I said before, though, I’ll be back and continuing to push forward. Mainly because my circle has succeeded in motivating and inspiring me. (It helps, too, that all of a sudden my book sales are picking up through no discernible action on my part… I can’t leave new readers hanging as long as I have the old ones!) In the meantime, I’ll continue posting next week (even though technically it’s an off week for the ROW80 crew), and you can check in on how the rest of them wrapped up their round this week.