Flumes Volume 2: Issue 1, Summer 2017 - Page 73

you learn the joy of being outspoken, of actually voicing a genuine opinion which can be enormously exciting and liberating.

I had watched an interview with Dorothy at the Chicago Humanities Festival in 2012 in preparing to speak with her and in that interview, she spoke about a group called VITA there and the percentage of women writers who get published. This edition of Flumes features interviews with two female writers, Dorothy and another young woman from the Sacramento Valley, Jassi K. Bassi, who writes predominantly about things in her Indian and Sikh culture. Dorothy is happy about this and expresses excitement in hearing the voice of not only another woman but a woman of a culture different from her own. I asked her what she has to say about the chair of VITA’s statement about sexism still being acceptable in our society.

DA: Honey, (chuckles) I’m about to be 68 years old, we haven’t got much time to get around this stuff. So no, I don’t expect it to change. It’s a little bit like we’re nibbling at an octopus and we’ve been nibbling for a long damn time. It’s a big meaty octopus, the prejudice against women because mostly it’s not violent, it’s because it’s all done with at least the aura of humor. “Oh, you sweet lil’ thang, you cute lil’ thang.” It’s always about contempt. It’s so hard to confront it because then you have to become strident and angry, and it’s very hard to be persuasive when you’re strident and angry.

It’s inside the family too. You’re fighting with lovers, sisters and brothers, and husbands, and people you really don’t want to have to destroy but, a lot of what every day prejudice does is destroy us as human beings. It reduces us to the animal, and unfortunately, you may be pissed off enough, and I do become somewhat tiger-like. I’m accused of not having a sense of humor, and the thing is that our perspective about humor and my sense of humor is radically different from that of most of the men of my generation. They have no idea what we’re talking about.

I laugh and tell her I’ve often been told I’m too serious when I call something out as not funny.

DA: Oh, honey! It’s either we’re too serious or we’re not serious enough. In any case, we’re never fully acceptable, we’re never fully recognized.