Thursday, October 08, 2009

Good News Thursday

The 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature went to Herta Müller:

An ethnic German born in Romania, writer Herta Müller has won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature. The 56-year-old, who emigrated to Germany in 1987, has made the trials of living under Nicolae Ceaus,escu's dictatorship a focus of her work.

In its citation, the Nobel committee wrote that Müller, "with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed."

Müller, a novelist and short-story writer, was considered by some to be among the top authors in the running for the award, although Amos Oz of Israel was the odds-on favorite of British wagering firm Ladbroke's.

She is the fourteenth woman to have won the literature prize. Her award means that this year's prizes have much less of a male dominance than has usually been the case, though they are most unlikely to reflect the actual population percentages of men and women.

I had an odd reaction to this piece of news and it's not one I'm proud about: My happiness in more women being recognized for their talent and work was somewhat marred by this niggling fear I felt. Or perhaps not fear but discomfort.

When I dug into it a little I realized that I was worried how anti-feminists would interpret such a "large" number of women suddenly winning Nobel prizes. A few you can sneak in without them coming out with lots of articles about how horrible feminists are and how undeserved any awards going to women really are, but this many in one year?

I'm not making this confession just because I hate having to read misogynistic screeds in general (and yet feel that I should read it in order to respond to it), but because it tells me something deeper about the struggle we are in and about my fears of the frequent backlashes against any progress women make. But we can't smuggle equality in during the dark hours of the night, after all.