To men who will read books by women

Illustration: painting Amaryllis and Henrietta by Vanessa Bell, 1940

For thousands of years, men and women have been reading books mostly (mostly, mostly) written by men.

What does it matter? you might ask. Ancient Greek philosophy, religious texts, love or war novels, science fiction, true or fictional contemporary stories are not all misogynous, are they?

No, indeed, they are not... not all of them. But all those thoughts, those true or fictitious stories that are thought, imagined, written by men, would have been thought, imagined and written in a totally different way if women had had the opportunity. Would it have been worse, would it have been better? That is not the question. It would have been different and we will never know in which way, it's too late.

Today, in some countries on Earth, women can tell their stories in their own way. Other women read them. Women readers finally have access to a female vision of the world and of themselves. At last they can recognise themselves in thoughts, philosophies, heroines seen from the inside, understood by women's brains, imagined by women's visions, created by women's hearts.

And that changes everything for girls and women: each one is no longer isolated in her identity, she realises that she is not the only one to ask herself a kind of questions, not the only one to believe she is not what a girl or a woman should be because she was without a model, not the only one to want to be a human being with her own definition.

But there are still two steps to be taken, and they are giant steps:

On the one hand that the book can be written and read by women all over the world.

On the other hand that female authors are read by women as well as men. It is wonderful that women can now increasingly have access to a women's vision of the world and of themselves, but it would be even more wonderful, beneficial, progressive, humane, if men could finally get to know the thoughts, the vision, the hearts of women.

To the courageous male readers who have dared or will dare to venture into this female world, still unknown, in the midst of discovery and construction, be welcome!

Gabrielle Dubois©

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