Even after selling 800 million books, making her one of today's best selling authors, Danielle Steel still feels like she faces a detestable amount of sexism. It boils down to one innocent-sounding question: "Are you still writing?"
In a post to her blog, Steel, who has written by her count 130 books, describes her frustrations with the query, which she thinks "is something that only men do to only women, and not just to me."
Yes, I am STILL writing. What this does is that it immediately puts my writing into the category as a hobby. As in, are you still taking piano lessons, doing macrame, have a parrot? I don't have a huge ego about my work, but let's face it, for me it is a job. A job I love, and I have been doing it since I was 19 years old.
She goes on to suggest that this question has more to do with her sex than with the asker's ignorance to her career or even her age (she is 65).
I never say to guys, "So are you still a lawyer?…A doctor?…A brain surgeon?" They would think I'm nuts if I did. But men who are annoyed by women's success in business have to find a way to put them down. And what better way to insult someone than minimize what they do, imply that it's really insignificant, and inquire if they're still doing it?
She also writes she knows women who work outside the book industry who also commonly get asked that question.
The blog post, titled "Are you still a Brain Surgeon?" was posted Monday, and first took off on Twitter. At one point on Wednesday, the flood of traffic was thought to have crashed the site and her post was only accessible through the cached page. So far this year, Steel has published two books, "Until the End of Time" and "First Sight," both of which have reached the New York Times Best Seller's list. Her next, "Winners," is due out in October.