‘First’ is a decisive word in the study of the humanities, particularly when it comes to feminist literature. Literary historians spend a good deal of time arguing over the exact idea of ‘who was first?’ whether it is the first modern novel, the first true poet, or even the minefield of the first use of various words in Shakespeare’s plays. It is most beneficial to be at the cutting edge as a writer, and above all the arguments these four writers are the best example of prominence, not only in their feminist ideals, but also in literary leadership. They were the first to address the issues surrounding their society and the time they lived in, and they did so with originality and the power of words.
There are two mantras I live by. The first is my grandmother’s. One day, as a very little girl, I sat on her bed watching her spritz on Yardley English Lavender perfume, powder her face from a gilt Stratton compact and slick on her fuchsia No7 lipstick. Transfixed, I asked her why she wore make-up. Clicking the lipstick shut she said, matter-of-factly, ‘Because when I’ve got my make-up on, I’m always ready. Imagine if I was out and got some lovely invitation that I couldn’t accept because I wasn’t looking and feeling my best? With make-up, I’m always able to go on the adventure.’ I never forgot it and I apply the same theory to most days. The other is one that I remind my friends of whenever they’re feeling ill or blue, and I invariably send them a huge care parcel of beauty products and make-up. I believe that the only thing worse than feeling like crap, is looking like crap too. Often we can’t do anything about the former, but I feel passionately that addressing the latter can only help.
Welcome to WOM4N, a month where we at 4th Estate give thanks to our female and feminist writers. Over the next 31 days we’ll be posting some brilliant female focused content including pieces on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of the upcoming (and completely dazzling Beyonce quoted) ‘We Should All Be Feminists’, competitions and blogs on everybody’s favourite girl Lena Dunham, author of Not That Kind of Girl, and Sali Hughes, our new best friend and straight talking beauty companion. There’ll be some soft (and hard) porn posts on the works of Nicki Gemmell, an exploration of the short story, as well as some delicious and exciting female #Foodfrom4th posts.