Reading is an important part of developing as a writer. But what happens when all the books and authors we read are a homogenous group of white males? Non-white, non-male writers may still end up defaulting to writing about white male characters....more
Posts Tagged: gender and literature
Let me prove that I’m not a misandrist by starting [my book list] with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, because any book Paul Ryan loves that much bears some responsibility for the misery he’s dying to create.
Have you read Esquire’s list of “The 80 Best Books Every Man Should Read”?...more
A recent study by author Nicola Griffith reveals that books written about men were more likely to win major literary prizes over the last fifteen years than books written about women. During this timeframe, 12 Man Booker Prize winners and 10 National Book Award winners were primarily about men or boys....more
Gender transition seems to fascinate just about everyone who hasn’t gone through it, so it makes sense that we get a lot of literary fiction on the subject . . . All these books were penned by cisgender—that is, non-transgender—authors. In that, they join a very twenty-first-century sub-genre: sympathetic novels about transition by people who haven’t transitioned.
At Guernica, Alexandria Peary observes a fine but lethal distinction between being declined and being rejected, a difference that had very real effects on the literary ambitions of nineteenth-century female writers. While to decline a submission implies thoughtful deliberation over that particular work, rejection is an all-encompassing denouncement of something larger: a category or, in this case, a gender:
Women writers in the nineteenth century—when creative writing really got going as a possible profession—faced more rejections than declines, though probably more than a spoonful of dejection.
While their politics and art were radical and dangerous for their time, the Beat Generation’s views toward women were not that much different than those of the man in the grey flannel suit they rebelled against. Women played an important role in the Beat community, as girlfriends and lovers but also as vital supporters of the artists—they took jobs to put food on the table, cooked, cleaned, typed and otherwise made it possible for the men to create.
Across the pond, the Let Books Be Books campaign is circulating a petition calling on publishers of children’s books to stop labeling books according to gender and to “allow children to choose freely what kinds of stories and activity books interest them.” Prominent British authors and publishers have come out in support of the campaign—Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy, says “I’m against anything, from age-ranging to pinking and blueing, whose effect is to shut the door in the face of children who might enjoy coming in.”...more
Matters of gender and sexuality come to the surface repeatedly in the scuffles discussed in The New Yorker piece called “Literary Feuds of 2013.” In the past year, there have been debates over the double standard to which the personalities of female protagonists are held, criticism of a female writer’s novel as being “too macho,” and an article promoting the idea that mothering more than one child can be detrimental to the work of female writers....more