“NOBODY knows for sure what Jane Austen looked like, which is causing some of her admirers a degree of anxiety these days. Was she attractive or not? What if, to put it bluntly, she became a writer in part because she didn’t have the looks to…
I know this pisses off a lot of women, and I don’t like it either, but there could be a truth to this. It is in human nature to find the looks of a woman the most important thing about her, or one of the most important things. Beautiful women are seen as less competent in many fields of work, whereas unattractive women are not, but at the same time the unattractive achievers are given a lot less media coverage. Surely we all do not really want to be like this in theory, but it’s reality. I think, to fight this (if we even can), we would have to be aware of our own instinctual bias all the time. And that’s hard. Not to mention that there are those of us who don’t WANT to care.
Anyway, in Jane Austen’s case, who knows? If she could never get the kind of man she wanted to marry, then yes, it makes sense that she would continue to write instead. Gotta do something with your life, right? Especially if you are short on money like her. Yes, she had talent. But we don’t know her priorities. What if she really did have a wish to get married to a man she loved, but wasn’t considered attractive enough? Is this man really a dog for pointing that out? Will that make people stop loving her work because reality is too much of a bitch compared to her stories? Is everybody only annoyed because it is a man who is suggesting this in the first place?
Another interesting point would be that she was only considered talented (even, or especially, by those close to her) because she was unattractive, and so considered more fit to do a thing that was mostly the field of males at the time. I personally find this doubtful, but it’s food for thought.