I found a couple of interesting articles and thought they were worth reposting here.
Lionel Shriver dissects ‘cultural appropriation’ followed by We need to talk about cultural appropriation: Why Lionel Shriver’s article touched a nerve.
They’re both a little long – at least by standard blog word counts – but definitely worth a read. The tl;dr? Should writers avoid including cultures/lifestyles they aren’t part of, for fear of marginalising or minimising them, or should they rather stretch themselves to include more than their own experiences?
I’m not pinning my colours to either side of the argument being right. Shriver is definitely being purposefully antagonistic to stimulate the discussion, and both sides make good points. But it’s something very close to home at the moment, as the protagonist of my next book is going to be a 20 year old gay woman.
This isn’t exactly something I can draw from my own experience for, is it? But should I not do it, for fear that I might offend someone or belittle what gay woman in today’s society experience? Or is better that I try to do something new, rather than writing more straight, white male characters?
What are your thoughts?