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I know, I know, I'm a little late to the game, but bear with me. Sometimes, the gerbil wheel turns slowly.

So, in the last few weeks there has been a rash of postings in the feminist blogosphere, about the fact that women have a tendency to undervalue their skills and accomplishments, largely due to the acculturation we receive regarding the proper demeanor and attitude for women. The genesis of this was Sady Doyle of http://www.tigerbeatdown.com responding to a troll and stating, "I'm Sady Fucking Doyle!"

Kate Harding http://kateharding.net/ then took that and ran with it to talk about how as women we're taught to undervalue our accomplishments and talents, and when we don't, how shocking that is. And that maybe we should all take a minute to say, "I'm Poli-fucking-micks, and I'm awesome!"

Dreamwidth user Synecdochic has a BRILLIANT post about it that lists most of the posts involved: http://synecdochic.dreamwidth.org/401060.html?nc=40
Synecdochic's round-up includes rebuttals from someone who thinks all this horn-blowing is pretty gauche.

Anyway, I won't go into that. You can go to Synecdochic's post, and then follow the other links from there, if you are so inclined. NO TROLLING or FLAMING.

But after reading these pieces, and a couple of articles in the most recent issue of BITCH relating to how women's/girls' accomplishments are viewed in our culture, I started to really think about it.

Recently I wrote some articles under my for-real name that were published. I'm being credited as a staff writer on a magazine (fledgling though it may be). I'm a writer. People are paying me to put words on paper and print them out to send to lots of people to look at and read.

This is fucking awesome.

But it took reading all those articles to realize, just how fucking awesome it is. Because my initial response was sort of a "Well, if *I* can do it, how hard can it be?" or "It's just a niche-market magazine."

Screw that.

People are paying me to write which is a big part of something I have wanted since I was old enough to start writing. The other part is to be able to just sit and write until I was done for once, and do that whenever I wanted to. But getting paid to write things is a big chunk of the dream. And while it isn't a lot of money, it's money. My writing has a monetary worth to someone.

This is fucking awesome, and I need to realize that it is perfectly ok to ring my own bell about this. I get to say, "Hey, I'm a writer. A PAID writer!"*

But as a woman, my first instinct is to demurr. To tell people that it's no big, that anyone could do it. Women suck at taking compliments. And I mean real compliments.
"Nice dress!"
"Oh, this old thing?"

"Your hair looks awesome!"
"Oh, I didn't do anything, really."

"Your thesis is one of the most brilliant things I've ever read."
"You know, a lot of the research was already done by other people, I just sort of..."

Look, I'm going to challenge you like Kate Harding and Sady Doyle did.

Be awesome.

The next time someone compliments you on something, no matter how trivial or amazing, JUST SAY THANK YOU. Hell, say, "Thank you, I think it looks great with my eyes." or "Yeah, thanks, I worked really hard on that thesis." Or "Yeah, I busted my ass to get this good."

I am going to say it now. I have worked hard at writing nearly all my life. I try very hard to be funny, trenchant and interesting. I deserve to be paid for writing. I am an awesome writer. (Whether you like my tone or not.)

When I rocked a big project at work. And I mean rocked the hell right out of that pig, I was so annoyed at the person who SHOULD have been doing the project that demurring to him on it was out of the question (anger does tend to over-ride much of my social programming). My supervisor was kind of taken aback that I would out and out claim responsibility for my own god-damned work. What the hell? I KILLED myself over that damned 240 page document for MONTHS. Why the hell wouldn't I?
"Surely you mean that X did most of the documentation."
"If I meant that I would have said that. *I* wrote that document."

But I know that if the person whose slack I was taking up hadn't pissed me off so badly, I would have let him take the credit for that amazing feat of documentation and eloquence.

As women, we are often overlooked for promotions and undervalued in the work force because of the tendency to demurr. We really need to knock that shit off. Linked to this, however, is the fact that what we also need is for people of all genders to quit thinking it's gauche or wrong or self-aggrandizing (in a bad way) for women to talk honestly about their accomplishments instead of devaluing our talents.

*Trust me, I'm not de- or under-valuing writers who don't get paid for whatever reason. Trust me, I'd still be writing even if I never got paid. And maybe it's kind of sad to feel so strongly about validation like this. But screw it. I do.


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October 2012

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