I remember the social structures that restricted me, some were blatant and some subtle. Sometimes it was official rules and sometimes only the pressures within my family that herded me into a tightly bound role that didn’t suit me.
But none of those are reflected in Andrew Smith’s controversy. Here is what was said.
On the flip side, it sometimes seems like there isn’t much of a way into your books for female readers. Where are all the women in your work?
I was raised in a family with four boys, and I absolutely did not know anything about girls at all. I have a daughter now; she’s 17. When she was born, that was the first girl I ever had in my life. I consider myself completely ignorant to all things woman and female. I’m trying to be better though.
Now that doesn’t sound inflammatory to my ear. That sounds honest and not particularly newsworthy. But it has been pounced on with a fever akin to witch hunting. To me his statement sounds mild. Probably not so different from what a woman from an all girl household might say about men. Yes, he is married and has a daughter, but that always doesn’t give you the “inside of the head” context necessary to write deeply about a character, so he sticks to what he knows. Gosh, how offensive! (sarcasm here for the literal)
He isn’t putting women down or attacking them. He isn’t calling for new regulations to “help” them. He isn’t railing against woman behavior and trying to restrict them.
He simply acknowledges a lack of comprehension in how women think.
While there is plenty of hate to go around, this isn’t the right place to lay blame. We need to lay that at the feet of those who truly are hurting women. Trust me, there are lots of options here.