Virginia Woolf once said that a woman needs a room of her own to write. She needs a place of refuge from the hectic nature of the world---the babies crying, the dirty dishes, the waiting bills, and perhaps even---perhaps especially---the judgment and contempt of those of the opposite sex who deem themselves far too erudite to stoop to read her work. Woolf is just one of the many great female writers the world has seen thus far. Why is it important that women in the past took up their pens and put ink to paper, why it is crucial that women today put fingers to keys? Why do the achievements of such great women as Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Charlotte Bronte remain so pivotal over a century after they first sought publication? Why must women continue to be women of letters, whether those strung together letters become words and whole thoughts on blogs, in essays, newspapers, e-mails, letters, magazines, memoirs, biographies, autobiographies, poems, and novels? Because of misguided and delusional men like V. S. Naipaul. Have you heard of him? I tend to doubt it. Have you heard of Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte? I would certainly think so. Perhaps there is a good reason for this.
What can you do to combat the misogynistic, backward, ignorant views aired by the Trinidadian Nobel laureate? Pick up one of the masterpieces of these great authors. They are literary greats who just happen to be women. They wrote about issues close to women's (and men's) hearts---love, death, social mores, family, ambition, greed, honor, religion, and forgiveness. Open their books and let their words come pouring out, letting each woman live through her words long after she was buried in the churchyard. Lose yourself in the majesty of these great works. When you close their covers, I guarantee that not only will you have been moved, but that you will also be amazed by what you have discovered about yourself and your world.