No matter how successful a woman becomes, it seems that people are still unable to ignore the two most irrelevant aspects to her presence, accomplishments and personality: her age and her weight. This is rather distressing, since one can only assume we will all always continue aging and we will all have a weight forever (unless, of course, you are Benjamin Button in space). In fact, even the bestselling author alive still gets questions that sound like how an older second cousin banally pondering about your activities despite assume he knows everything already via Facebook.
Danielle Steel has sold millions upon millions of copies of books worldwide. Her blog, originally quoted by our friends at The Toast, details how little that fact seems to matter to the people she meets.
It goes like this, I run into a man I know or meet at a dinner party for the first time in a long time. After hello, they open with, “So, are you still writing?” Hmmm…..this immediately suggests to me that they have not read the NY Times (bestseller list) in many years, the Wall Street Journal, or maybe they don’t read at all. Yes, I am STILL writing. What this does is that it immediately puts my writing into the category as a hobby. As in, are you still taking piano lessons, doing macrame, have a parrot? I don’t have a huge ego about my work, but let’s face it, for me it is a job. A job I love, and I have been doing it since I was 19 years old. I have been in the Guinness book of world records repeatedly for having a book on the bestseller list for more weeks consecutively than whoever. Yes, for Heaven’s sake, I am still writing.
Steel notes that this happened when she was 35, too; now when it happens, it seems people are implying she’s “too old” to write, which is crazy because (A) she’s just 65 and (B) it’s a stupid assumption. Unless you are explicitly invited to somebody’s “I’M DONE WITH WORKING FOREVER” party, then just assume he or she is still working.
She also describes how uncomfortable men often are by her success; after all, she’s had 22 books adapted onscreen and her words have been translated into 28 languages, which means she deserves a little frilly gold star ‘specially for ladies, am I right? (Wrong.) Additionally, men seem to not believe that the literary world functions the same for women:
The other really ridiculous comment is “You have an AGENT?” Of course I have an agent, I have written 130 books that are sold in 69 countries in 43 languages—they think maybe I write letters by hand and send them to publishers around the world to sell my books? Of course I have an agent (a fabulous one I love). I never say to guys, “So are you still a lawyer?…A doctor?…A brain surgeon?”
When you’re a writer and female, it is rather incredible just how patronizing people can get toward you. They assume you’re just in between jobs, they assume you make zero money, they assume your parents pay for your stuff, they assume you wish you could do something – anything — else. It’s absurd.
[H/T The Toast; Photo via Getty Images.]