The Imposition of Normalcy is something I’m writing about in my novel (there, I said it, I’m writing a novel. O-em-gee. Tis terrifying, but that’s another post). I’d like to say, this isn’t new, and it’s been going on for a long, long time. Far from generally blaming the males of the species (who have to comply with some of this same imposition), all those involved in the industry are to blame. They are building a pantheon of deities who are further and further away from the reality of us…any woman buying at a Sale will have noticed, how the small sizes are the ones still available, the 6s and the 8s and the 10s. Some women are naturally very slim, indeed, and some are to the point of childlike-ness. But the majority aren’t.
And my point is, you can see it. And you can realize how much and how deeply all of this is internalised when you watch television, and a woman appears on the screen, and you think ‘something strange, there. Something unusual…oh yes. She’s got curves. She looks..chubby.’ She’s not chubby. You’re just not used to see a shape of any sort on the mannequin.
This relates to writing, in a way (doesn’t everything relate to writing, in the end?) Just like we should retain (females and males and those forced into this binary system of ours) a strong sense of individuality in our bodies and their shape, unique as they are for each of us, in the same way our writing should retain the idea, the theme, the tone and structure, the purpose and narrative position of the story we want to tell. Not the story that may sell more, or the one trending now, the fashionable memoir or crime thriller, the over-long fantasy, the insipid but high brow literary one.
The one we want to tell, our way.