It was highlighted on Modern Family once. Women who are successful are often seen as unlikable. They’ve even said it about Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
And I’ve always said, “I’d much rather be successful than liked.” After all, it’s true. But thanks to this article, I’ve also come to the realisation that being liked is something that I care about too. The reason I’ve always said that, though, is because I wish I didn’t.
I’ve never been liked. Not when I was growing up, not to the people around me. And I would bet that, even though my life has gotten better since then, it’s still something that rings true. It’s still something that undoubtedly happens, and it’s still a fear of mine enough that, like Daniel Koeker has recently said, I run from things like bad reviews and negative feedback.
Not just in writing, either. In my opinions. Which I can feel the need to express inside. I can be embarrassed easily.
And I do this partially because I’ve read that it’s something good writers do; even though it may seem childish to run from one bad review, it’s ultimately better for your health not to seek out those bad reviews. This, from what I’ve read from a writer who saw one bad review of something he’d written in the paper amongst good reviews…
I took all this in because it comforted me. I’ve always told myself I need to grow a thicker skin, but the fact that I could avoid bad reviews if I wanted, without guilt, eased my mind greatly. And I’ve always said anything that eases my mind is needed; my mind can be pretty uptight. If it’s too much, I’m afraid I’ll crack.
It was also comforting when Daniel Koeker said that criticism to a writer doesn’t have to roll of their back… I don’t necessarily have to work too hard on growing a thick skin. That helps.
The thing is, as a writer, likability goes hand in hand with success. At least in that arena, a woman can be both. After all, I consider JK Rowling to be likable. As do I find her series.
And I know that’s something, because looking back on how I think of my parents, I consider my mom to be a nag… and yet a compulsion to listen to my father. Hell, for years I wanted him to be my favourite parent. But our relationship just wasn’t like that.
Hell only knows why I think that way. Or why anyone else does, for that matter.
So, even with my issues, there’s one thing. If she can do it, why not me? (And yes, I’m paraphrasing Harry Potter when he was teaching Dumbledore’s Army there.)