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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fucked. Up.

So, I write fiction and have since middle school, generally short stories. Most writers have quirks or themes which show up repeatedly in their writing. One of mine is houses; the other is the figure of the single pregnant woman, or more broadly a woman who is punished for her sexuality. This latter hasn't occurred in any of the writing I've done since leaving the Mormon church, but between the ages of 14 and 19 I wrote a number of short stories. These are the things that happened to the women in the stories.

+teenage girl has sex with boyfriend. Boyfriend is killed. Girl finds out she's pregnant, has the baby.

+teenage girl is raped at a high school dance by the guy she has a crush on. Grows up, gets engaged, forgives rapist, and invites him to the wedding.

+woman in an unhappy marriage goes to work for an older gentleman as a housekeeper. Older dude hits on her. She is attracted to him but doesn't want to be. Channels feelings into making up with her husband. Gets pregnant. Husband goes off to war and is killed (this was a WWII period story).

+tween girl becomes friends with a new neighbor boy. They have a little tweenage fumbling kiss. Neighbor boy falls out of a tree and dies (I guess it's a plus that SHE didn't die?).

+young lady goes to work for a government intelligence agency. Gets into a relationship with a guy who happens to be a traitor. Gets knocked up. Gets to watch dude be executed for treason.

+teenage girl kisses a guy at a party. Gets killed by a semi while driving home.

DAMN did that church ever screw me up. I was apparently incapable of allowing female characters to have sexual feelings and actions without punishing them, either with the death of their intended or pregnancy. Perhaps in some way I was sublimating my mother's experience of being a single woman with children (through no fault of her own) and twisting it to fit the worldview of femininity which the church had taught me. Of course high school is the time where, generally, a person starts feeling Feelings, and if you've been raised with any brand of religious training, you also start feeling Guilt and Shame and Horror, and then you try to repent but clearly you're doing it wrong because the guy in AP Euro is still really hot and smart and you'd like to ask him to prom but he's not a member of your church and therefore would try to get you drunk and have his way with you.

Happy to report that once I got laid my writing got a lot better and a lot less depressingly kyriarchal!


Macha said...

Maybe it was portraying it in rebellion instead of support, meant to make you angry about what happens to them. (?)

Diana said...

Macha, that's a generous way of looking at it. As the experience of writing usually goes, I don't recall making conscious decisions about what to do with these characters, which is what makes their fates even more disturbing for me. :/

Macha said...

See you were subconsciously feminist the whole time!

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