Many answers abound. I have never found the popular complaint about women being suppressed to be very satisfactory. I am also a firm believer in the fact that women are intellectually equal with men. So, why then? Why were all the classics written by men?
A few weeks ago, I ran across this excerpt from G. K. Chesterton's "What's Wrong with the World?"
Woman must be a cook, but not a competitive cook; a school-mistress, but not a competitive school-mistress; a house decorator, but not a competitive house-decorator; a dressmaker, but not a competitive dressmaker. She should have not one trade but twenty hobbies; she, unlike the man, may develop all her second bests. This is what has been really aimed at from the first in what is called the seclusion, or even the oppression, of women. Women were not kept at home in order to keep them narrow; on the contrary, they were kept at home in order to keep them broad. The world outside the home was one mass of narrowness, a maze of cramped paths, a madhouse of monomaniacs. It was only by partly limiting and protecting the woman that she was enabled to play at five or six professions and so come almost as near to God as the child when he plays at a hundred trades. But the woman’s professions, unlike the child’s, were all truly and almost terribly fruitful.Chesterton has hit upon something here. Women, though not limited in ability, are often limited in the extent to which they can pursue something because they are called to pursue so many different things.
This may not be true for all women, but I think that it is true for many, and I know that it is true for me. And, what is more, I enjoy this limitation. I revel in it.
I wouldn't care to write if it meant that I never got to bake. I wouldn't care to write if it meant that I never got to scrapbook. And, above all, I wouldn't care to write, if it meant that I never got to give my kids bubble baths, read them Goodnight Moon, take them for walks in the wagon, and make them pancakes with chocolate chips.
I don't want to just write historical fiction. I want to paint with watercolors, compose choral music, grow a vegetable garden, participate in church committees, and volunteer in community outreach. And if that means that all of those things, including my novels, end up being "second bests," then so be it. I'm too busy reading, singing, blogging, and living to worry too much about it.