The Invisible Woman

On the SheWrites Blog, Kamy Wicoff writes about The Invisible Woman.  This post triggered a memory from childhood, and the Invisible Man. When I was a little kid, around 1958 or ’59, my brothers and I loved to watch the TV series The Invisible Man based loosely on the 1933 novel by H.G. Wells. The main character walked around with this mummy-like wrapping on his head, hands, and any visible appendage, and sunglasses so we could not stare into his empty eyes. You see, he was invisible underneath all the wrappings and clothing. Some scientific experiment gone awry, I believe.  This man was powerful, a force to be reckoned with.  We never once thought about his not having a brain or a heart. Fodder for nightmares in children. But we felt drawn to watch it anyway.

There was never a series about The Invisible Woman. Perhaps because women are too easily invisible in our culture, and that has been an accepted stance, until Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique stirred the crock pot with her silver spoon. Yes, there has been improvement, but not enough, especially in the publishing industry. From what I have found, 60% of published books and stories are by men and only 40% by women. Historically I imagine that is a great improvement. But is this acceptible?  Wicoff’s post is about women, and how they/we become invisible.  Wicoff says, “What happens when women don’t tell their own stories?  Their stories are told for them — or more often, about them — and the narratives that result are partial at best, and demeaning, damaging or downright dangerous at worst.” 

I think about the women in my life, and how they may have been invisible. I read somewhere that  when psychotherapist Maureen Murdock asked Joseph Campbell (author of The Hero With a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth) about the heroine’s journey he told her that women don’t have such a journey, since “the woman is there.” I have never felt there, although I have some ideas on where there might be.  Murdock went on to write her own book, The Heroine’s Journey.  This calls me to question, who is telling the stories of the heroines in my life?  I’ve got some thinking (and writing) to do about this . . . More later on The Invisible Woman!

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2 responses to “The Invisible Woman

  1. Great post, Emma. The protag in my novel-in-progress sometimes paints pictures (in her graffiti) of a girl who is disappearing, because she was abused, and feels that she's invisible, that she has no voice. Good stuff here. Helpful as I continue work on the book.

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  2. I love this post! I still feel like I'm trying to find my own voice at a time when most people are thinking about retirement. I do this through my writing.
    Interesting that Joseph Campbell thought women were already 'there'. I always felt that my life was a journey and I'm still traveling.
    I'll check out your links.
    Thanks,
    ~rahma

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