Gwen Tuinman


Women’s History Month: Media Stereotypes Defied

Millions of women have shaped our world, but there’s limited representation of them in historical archives. These invisible women—who span differing ethnicities, regional economies, social statuses and age groups—have been reduced to passive bystanders in society.

In the essay collection The Western Women, one researcher describes how historical women been painted over with three stereotypes popularized through movies and novels. Since March is Women’s History Month, let’s look at women who defy each stereotype.

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On Diaries: Now and Then

My earliest diary memory is the sort popular on the birthday party circuit of my childhood. I never received one as a gift, but I remember looking with envy at those pink puffy covered diaries and their zippered closures. Little girls I knew flashed their miniature padlocks and keys like symbols of their importance.

I attempted a diary on looseleaf paper when I was young. But at the ripe old age of 11, my life was uneventful. My thoughts were all I owned and even then, I felt the risk of committing them to paper.

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On Writing: Our Books as Shields

A recent movie version of Cyrano de Bergerac has me thinking about fiction authors releasing their thoughts into the world. Through love letters Cyrano writes to the lovely Roxane, on behalf of a young soldier wooing her, he expresses love for her that he’s too bashful to share directly.

Most writers, safe to say, are introverts with rich interior lives. We quietly curate personal experiences and observe human interactions and reactions. We compost, in our subconscious, scenarios both jarring and tender, impulsive and conservative. When we then write the interiority of a character or their response to crisis or great love, some of ‘us’ muddles in there too.

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