Recently, I started noticing a number of female authors in the app writing community using the term “authoress” in their pen names. It made me curious as to why this is after we as authors have come so far. The word author or authoress in an official pen name is a bit redundant, but that is a stylistic choice.
Is the reintroduction of the word a cultural thing? Are female authors unaware of the history, or is it an age gap difference? Maybe all of the above. I never see this in the general writing community, so I wondered why it’s being picked up again with app writers. I decided to do a little digging on the reason why the term was dropped altogether.
The fact is, the term in general is frowned upon by most female authors today. Personally, I have always found authoress to come off a tad condescending. I’m an author and I don’t need to separate myself as a female from male authors. Women have come a long way to be thought of as equals and it’s only now we are starting to be given the respect we deserve as writers. I’m an author, full stop.
Female writers over the decades adopted the term author for numerous reasons. The most important was to publish without prejudice in a male-dominated industry. We no longer need to hide behind a male pen name to get a publishing deal or to have our work read by the masses. Even looking up the definition, I found several sources marked the word as dated for all obvious reasons. In the late 20th century, our roles as women changed, and the term itself is now considered sexist and patronizing.
There was a time when women writers used male pseudonyms to gain more respect, and even protect themselves from violence. In some parts of the world, this mindset still exists. Even now, books written by women are priced lower than books by men, and many have trouble getting publishing deals in certain genres. Books by women released by mainstream publishers are priced on average 45% lower than books by men. We have come a long way, but we still have work to do.
In some ways, I think it’s taking a step backward by using the term authoress instead of moving forward to gain the true respect we seek. I wonder why this term is being used again when we as women have come so far.
Go to the comments and let me hear your thoughts.