So, this is quite good post, altogether, and I have no qualms with any of what she’s saying.
The one thing I can’t help but notice is something I’ve noticed more generally from female bloggers, especially from female authors, which is how many self-deprecating, warning qualifiers she gives before she actually gets to the thing she wants to say:
“I’m going to stick my neck out and declare…”
“before you come at me with your sharpest pitchfork, let me explain my madness. I do believe, in many ways, it is good and useful and wise to ‘show’ things…”
“I am nothing more than an puny, unpublished, unknown Writer/Librarian/Beatle-Maniac, but…”
“And if you still aren’t ready to drop your pitchfork, please look at these ‘show vs. tell’ examples before you skewer me…”
I’m not pointing this out to criticize her, because, you know, write a blog post however you like. I’m pointing it out because I notice it as a trend, and because I think it makes it clear that folks like Jenny Martin (aka, Ladies of the Internet) expect to be attacked for their thoughts. Not just to run into disagreement for going against the norm: straight up attacked. Even the ending here:
“Still disagree? Did I miss something? Have I forgotten an important point? I’ve braced for impact, so fire away!”
It’s not cringing, I wouldn’t say, but it’s overly courteous. It’s the same kind of tone you use when you’re telling a child something you know that child doesn’t want to hear. Women are socialized to be polite, and to not step on toes, and in order to post a dissenting opinion on the internet, they have to bend over backwards to prove no, no, I wasn’t starting a fight, I just had a thought, no, please tell me your differing opinion, I’d dearly like to hear it.
What bothers me about this is that she’s simply correct. This isn’t Jenny Martin’s delicate opinion, this is Jenny Martin taking a commonly bandied about bit of writing advice (one that I bandy about quite frequently myself, frankly) and elaborating and expanding and setting the record straight. She’s not saying “tell, don’t show”, she’s saying “show, don’t tell, sure, but here is where that generalization is wrong.” She should be able to just say this like stating a fact, a by-the-by, but judging by how she gently coaxes us into the argument, she knows that doing so means that we will freak out and call her a crazy cunt.
A woman simply expressing herself without the qualifier of politesse is enough to make people angry. And throughout this post, I keep qualifying that I don’t mean this as a criticism of Jenny Martin, or of female bloggers in general, because I’m sure it can be taken that way if someone is so inclined. Jenny Martin, and everyone else who writes their blog posts riddled with the aforementioned language, is not being too nice; she, and they, have simply adapted to their environments.
It sucks to be a woman on the Internet.
Safe travels, Artichoke, and I will see you soon.