Are you an Uppity Woman? I hope so – we need many more uppity women to challenge our patriarchal world.
Have you ever been told not to get too ‘up yourself’ when you’ve been pleased or proud of something you’ve done? I certainly have. Although it is a phrase sometimes directed at men it’s women who more often than not get given this put down. Because in the eyes of many (both genders), women are still meant to be modest, eyes downcast creatures, not ones shouting from the rooftops. (see this interview with MP, Jess Philips.) We are not encouraged to be out there about what we have achieved, like the chaps and the boys are. The same standards do not apply.
You don’t even have to be shouting ‘too’ loud to be an uppity woman. I was listening to the hugely successful author, Marian Keyes, on BBC’s Radio 4 this weekend. Marian has published 13 novels, and sold over 30 thousand copies of her work worldwide. Her works have been translated into many different languages and she is the most successful Irish novelist. Yes, more books sold than that other famous Irish author, James Joyce. She really has no need to shout at all; her success speaks for itself.
Yet, nonetheless, Marian has her work described a ‘popular fiction’, as if by being popular it implies it is not very good. It’s no coincidence that the majority of Marian’s readers are women. Men (and women) writing similarly popular fiction but about topics which appeal more to men, crime for example, do not usually get labelled this way. They are ‘crime writers’.
It’s time to end this bias against things women enjoy. I grew up with people being sniffy about the fact that I studied Home Economics at A level when in fact it was the most difficult subject I undertook, (and to my enduring pleasure I managed to convince a University that it was an acceptable subject. They changed their minds after being harangued by 18 year old me on the folly of their decision. Even then I was an uppity woman.) Crafts enjoyed mainly by women do not receive recognition. It drives me mad that the most famous knitter you are likely to have heard of is a man, Kaffe Fassett. Sure, he’s good but there are very many unsung women out there who are as good and probably better.
Time for us all to check our prejudices. Next time you hear of a woman’s success encourage her to shout about it. Shout about it for her, too. Being an uppity woman is a very good thing!
Posted on March 14th, 2017 by Jane