Ladies Represent: Michelle Augello-Page
A fair while ago now, Caroline and I talked about the VIDA Count. I guess pretty much everyone did. We wanted to ask a bunch of great writers who also happen to be ladies about their publishing experience and basically just open up a space to talk about gender and publishing, or call bullshit on it, or spout conspiracy theories.
This will be ongoing. This has to be ongoing.
Next up is Michelle Augello-Page. She writes poetry, erotica, and dark fiction. Her work has appeared in art galleries, online journals, print publications, and anthologies. For more about Michelle, visit her website/blog at michelleaugellopage.wordpress.com
I compiled a poetry manuscript, “My Mother’s Daughter”, after my experience transitioning from a single woman into the realms of marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. A few of the poems from this collection were published in women centered poetry journals; however, none of these poems were published in the wider, male dominated literary world. The manuscript remained unpublished. My work as a woman and a writer was silenced. It was disheartening, and really made me think about the value placed on women’s roles in society, and writing about the female experience and reproductive processes in the literary community.
Virginia Woolf had written that “a woman must have money and a room of her own to write.” While I agree to some extent with that statement, I also feel that it is unrealistic for many women, especially women with children. As a single mother with very little support, I’ve struggled with both money and time. By Woolf’s definition, I am engaged in the creative process disadvantaged from the start. Yet, I write. I write because this is part of my life-work, and I cannot refuse the gift. There is a definite correlation between how women are valued in society and how this is mirrored in women’s writings and publications, both internally and externally . When women dismantle the male dominated system and focus on the female experience, they are shifting the lens with which we view culture.
One of the most interesting things about Erotica is that it is one genre that appears to be dominated by women, and the general (male dominated) view of erotic writing in the literary world has long been dismissive. I feel that this speaks directly to a sense of power. Erotica is rooted in the creative experience of the body, the emotions and feelings, and the non-verbal communications in relationships. These are realms typically based in the female, and this type of discourse can be very powerful. This power of the body, this power of women, provokes a certain degree of fear not only in the publishing industry, but in the whole of society. To change, I believe we need to value the female experience, not as a feminized male model, but as an equally important and valuable path of engaging with the world.
Have some thoughts? Comment and let us know.
Also check out what these ladies had to say: