Susannah Breslin, the writer who once called feminism “cultural roadkill” and has also mocked rape victims by criticizing trigger warnings is at it again.
This time, she’s giving advice on ‘how to get a job as a woman.” Her main points?
1) “Women’s blogging is a ghetto,” so you should 2) “sell your womanhood” to 3) “get out of the ghetto”.
Breslin has attacked Feministing bloggers as self-victimizing, angry man-haters in the past, so it should come as no surprise that she paints the feminist blogosphere with a similarly dismissive and broad stroke.
Katie J.M. Baker has written an incredibly thoughtful response to Breslin’s piece, which I recommend checking out. She boils Breslin’s argument down to its core: that the way to overcome being a woman is to pretend to be a man (except in situations when you can capitalize on being a woman) and devalue the other women around you, and explains why she finds it “offensive and disappointing.”
For my part, I’m with Baker, though I find Breslin’s advice more disappointing than offensive. I don’t know Breslin personally, but based on her work it seems she is a good, ambitious, and intelligent writer. I can’t help but feel it’s a personal failing, a failing of framework, timing, or strategy, that she feels spaces like Feministing, at best misrepresent, and at worst threaten or conflict, with the work that she is doing as a female writer at Forbes. For her to conflate building community with “secession” and seclusion, to feel like the only path to success is to reject communities of people who share her identity, and to prefer to be around people who are not like her, well, it makes me sad.
Even though Breslin is entitled to her own opinions, I can’t help but wish that there was something I could do as a writer who wants to see more women writers like Breslin succeed to bring her into our fold. Because for this here woman writer, participating in our “ghettoized” corner of the blogosphere just so happens to be one of the most inspiring, useful, productive, and yes, empowering things I can do.
For more on women writers, careerism, community, and support, check out Ann’s epic last post “She Should Write”.