When I started to write again I joined a few Writing Groups.
One was a mixed bag- various genres and there was almost an equal number of male and female writers.
I liked that group. It was supportive and competitive- not so much with each other but when we read our work you know we were working to take the room over, which is good. We were competing more with ourselves then each other.
Then I spent some time in a women’s group.
Cheese and wine and poetry and writing about deep feelings were involved.
For this group I got dressed up.
I didn’t focus on my horror writing which was ok, but when I went for straight up drama or journaling and read what I wrote I felt like I was going for a job interview.
In my other group I went straight from work and I work in a warehouse.
Dust and Pringles were involved.
I read whatever I had been working on that week.
What I found interesting was that in the Women’s group I got criticism where the listeners felt obligated to tell me before the offered their advice where they went to college.
” I’d have done it this way….” I heard that a lot in the women’s group.
I’m firm on this:
” I’d have done it this way “is not a criticism.
It’s showing off.
It felt like they were taking my story and making it your own. It was like watching someone flirt with my husband.
So I started to wonder about this concept about ” women helping women” thing.
The best advice I got was from my mixed group, I’ve worked in what were non-traditional fields ( Funeral Industry, Warehouses) and at the time there weren’t a lot of women doing that work.
So I wasn’t helped or hired by other women.
I was hired and mentored by men.
On one hand I understand that when you feel secure you don’t mind holding that door open or giving the advice because you’re feeling good about your position.
So I’m wondering, is this idea about women helping women and ideal we’d like to accomplish?
Is that important?
Or should we be helping and encouraging each other no matter what sex we are?
When I meet other writers who excite me I don’t care if they’re men or women, young or my age. I want to read them, engage them and encourage them.
Shouldn’t it be that way?