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Feminism 2003: Travails of a Woman Writer

April 19, 2013

Recently I have noticed an increased number of articles online and in journals about feminism.  Some of them impress me and I’d like to share them, starting with one today in The Nation,  April 29, 2013 edition.  The VIDA study recently revealed that The Nation reviewed 92 books by men and only 27 by women in 2012.  Maybe the journal is trying to make amends by publishing this article about a writer, now on the short list for the British Women ‘s Prize for Fiction–formerly the Orange prize.  She recounts how she has been treated by the male literary establishment.

What do you think feminists should do about the continuing bias in publishing and reviewing in our various countries?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. sharkell permalink
    April 19, 2013 5:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing that article, it is an amazing story that really highlights this issue for me. I don’t read literary magazines or newspaper book reviews and find all of my book recommendations from blogs written by both men and women (but more women than men) so I am most ignorant of the gender bias in the “formal” review world. I think that the “informal” book review world is going to take over the “formal” world over time. It would be interesting to see some statistics on the male/female make up of book reviewers and the books they review to see if gender bias exists.

  2. aartichapati permalink
    April 19, 2013 8:04 pm

    What an excellent (and truly disheartening) piece to share. Thank you. I don’t know that I have much faith that things will change very quickly – just as, perhaps, I am cynical about our government becoming more effective and actually doing the will of the people. But all we can do is keep working at it and hoping that we can do SOMETHING to help even the playing field.

  3. April 20, 2013 10:00 am

    The VIDA count, collected annually by Women in the Literary Arts, shows the percent of reviewers and books reviewed by men and women. A few journals have improved, but most continue to give only 20-30% of their coverage to women. Check it out.

    One thing we can do, I believe, is to publicize the most sexiest and try to shame them into paying more attention to women writers. And blog about books by woman that are good.

    I only have my own impressions to go by, but I think women book bloggers are balancing the male bias in publishing and reviewing.

  4. Jennifer Rolfe permalink
    April 23, 2013 5:55 pm

    Here in Australia we have the Stella Prize.
    ” The Stella Prize is a major new literary award celebrating Australian women’s writing. It is named after one of Australia’s iconic female authors, Stella Maria ‘Miles’ Franklin, and celebrates women’s contribution to Australian literature. The Stella Prize rewards one writer with a significant monetary prize of $50,000.
    The Stella Prize raises the profile of women’s writing through the Stella Prize longlists and shortlists, encourages a future generation of women writers, and brings readers to the work of Australian women.”
    This was set up because the situation here in Australia is the same as Deborah Copaken Kogan describes in her article. The Miles Franklin award mentioned above even uses her MALE pseudonym still!

    • April 24, 2013 10:10 am

      I am very impressed with what Australian women have been doing on this issue. I have been participating in the Australian Women Writers challenge and wish we were doing as much here in the US. Some women here get recognition, but overall they continue to get ignored and no one seems to care enough to do anything.

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