Feminine Persecution by Paulette Mahurin
Through the years this changes, the balance shifts, while the feminine is gaining more of a stronghold, but what remains are the labels, which are still dangerous depending on where one lives in the world.
Women friendships in history have always been acceptable, hugging, handholding, and displays of attention, not frowned upon. In the 1800s women who could afford to live together but never married were considered spinsters, still socially acceptable. Where the tide turns is if a partnership were suspected of being, or labeled lesbian, then they were considered to be insane. The treatment was institutionalization, the therapy, rape.
When I started writing my book, based on the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde and the impact his two year prison sentence had on a lesbian couple, living in a small Nevada ranching town, I had to figure out how to show the oppression, the fear, that the lesbian couple lived under. This was really difficult because how do I write about what I haven’t experienced? Or have I? I sat with this, meditated on this, went back to the books on oppression of self-expression, and found my answer, society.
A society that supports a relationship (including the family unit), in a loving way, molds one type of personality. A brutal abusive society, group, takes its toll. This I can relate to and have experienced, my world view—a box that surrounds my soul with the should and shouldn’t do this or that, be this or that—gave me the backstory to create the story’s antagonist, a woman filled with unmitigated hatred toward anything that doesn’t support her ego.
Just a few weeks ago, I received a review of my book, from a woman, pleasant and decent to communicate with, who gave my book a thumbs up and a thumbs down and went on to explain the thumbs up and I paraphrase: the best characterization of any book I’ve read, great detail in capturing the emotions, the gossip girls were horrible about things they said…
She then went on to give it a thumbs down because and again a paraphrase, we don’t associate with those types, lesbians. She went on to reiterate that it was well written, especially for a woman, married to a man.
I wrote her back thanking her for her honest review and that I was extremely appreciative of us dialoguing, for it is in communicating that issues, large and small, can start to be resolved. After I wrote to her, I sat silently and wondered what causes one to feel/think this way, foreign from my live-and-let-live-as-long-as-you-aren’t-hurting-anyone attitude? I have no answers, not really, but I can hope, that maybe someone who reads my book, or takes a long hard look at tolerance, will open their minds and hearts, to difference–without labeling them bad, or good, but just different.
After all, we are all different.
Paulette Mahurin, an award-winning author, is a Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ojai, California with her husband Terry and their two dogs–Max and Bella. She practices women’s health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time.
She and her husband have been active animal rescue advocates for over twenty-eight years. All profits from her book are going to Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, the first and only no-kill animal shelter in Ventura County, CA.
Visit Paulette at her website – http://www.santapaulaarc.org/
The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for gross indecency under Britain’s recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense.
When news of Wilde’s conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment. It is a chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing.
“Paulette Mahurin’s first novel is surefooted and unflinching in its portrayal of a singular and unique character and her compelling struggles. Compassionate and confident, Mahurin allows Mildred’s story to burn through onto the page with all its inherent outrage and tenacious, abiding love. Here is a character we can champion—flawed, striving, surviving— and fully embrace in her awkward, beautiful navigation of a world that resists her in every way.” Deb Norton, Playwrite/screenwriter of The Whole Banana
“If you need to question your values, read this book! The author captures the intolerance and hypocrisy of a 1895 Nevada town, and its transcendence in time through tolerance and understanding. The angst and pain that two women feel daily, living the ‘lie’ of their lesbian relationship, and the prejudice they must endure, is unconscionable. I was moved to tears by their struggle in the face of the conflicted values that continue to dominate our ‘modern’ society.” William K. Fox, PhD, Professor of Zoology