A friend sent me this quote today and I felt I had to share it, especially for my female writer friends...and for any male friends who want to understand what may appear on the outside like almost psychotic levels of resistance from women they love to writing certain kinds of stories...this is what we're up against. No joke.
"To a woman writer, exposing family secrets can seem perilously close to going mad. Men have had the support of the culture as they recognized their own experience and laid claim to it by writing it down. On the whole, they have been able, without inhibition to feed their creative ambitions with the details of other people's lives. Men had a mandate, after all, to inform the public about the nature of life. Things have not been--are not--so simple for a woman. Women have often withheld their stories, because honesty about emotions and about the family feels to many women like a sin. It means drawing aside the curtain, lifting lids. It means renouncing the role of good girl and ceasing to be ladylike. It may mean expressing anger and being brave enough to watch loved ones be angry. Women must set aside the bowl they have used to beg for approval and praise. George Eliot was not free as an artist until her respectable family had cast her out. Only a community larger than family, only powers greater than lovers or husbands, can sustain women writers when they start asking the big questions: Who am I? Who made me? What is my place in this world?"
Kennedy Fraser from Ornament and Silence: Essays on Women's Lives from Edith Wharton to Germaine Greer. (This quote from New Yorker essay 'Demented Pilgrimage' published in 1990)