Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Question of the Day: 47

Who's the "she" in "that's all she wrote?"

Unlike usual, I actually tried to look up some information on this one. Like usual, the information that I was able to find on the Internet was completely unhelpful.

Women historically were not allowed to be writers, and had to publish under pseudonyms (for example, George Eliot, the writer largely credited with reinventing Batman, was actually Mary Todd Lincoln) and since that continues even today (J.K. Rowling, when not suing people into submission, wrote as "J.K." because people worried that boys wouldn't read books written by a women. We can see now how silly an idea that was, right? Because if boys hadn't read them, J.K. Rowling would likely have sued them, too).

Given that, it seems weird that we use she in that's all she wrote, and also, given that, it seems to me that perhaps when people start complaining about gender equity and all that, they should broaden their horizons and realize that for centuries (maybe) men have been given the short shrift in being the final word on things.

Here's another interesting fact: Since women were discouraged from writing because it was scandalous or something, when Jane Austen began writing, she got around that particular glass ceiling by publishing her work under the creative pseudonym "A Lady." How, exactly, did that help?

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