VIDA Counts The Rumpus


In which two female writers from VIDA: Women in Literary Arts crunch the numbers and let us know how The Rumpus is doing in the gender disparity department:

We want to give the editors of The Rumpus credit. When they posted a piece by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts which addressed the gender disparity in The New Republic, one reader felt inclined to question the publishing habits of The Rumpus.  So we offered to take a look at their numbers.  And they accepted.

We started at January 2010 and found that The Rumpus reviews a lot of poetry and experimental fiction; that is to say that The Rumpus gives the best small presses their due. It’s therefore apparent that The Rumpus is democratic, at least in this regard.  And as a forum for the literary, The Rumpus has a constantly revolving group of reviewers, and the texts it focuses upon are globally and aesthetically varied.

We therefore weren’t all that surprised to find that its numbers held up better than many other publications in terms of male versus female authors represented.

Be assured: The Rumpus’s stats are not exactly what we’d consider ideal. But they actually demonstrate a fairer take with regard to gender than many other major literary venues that purport to tell us what we ought to read.

We noted, however, that the number of male authors who review the books and, more significantly, the male authors whose books are reviewed, for some reason or another, has risen significantly in its most recent issues. What can this tell us? That men are generally more disposed to write reviews during the summer months? That huddling around the BBQ makes them feel more inclined to review books by men?

We are joking. What we really want to say is: you don’t look perfect, but you look pretty good from across the room through beer goggles. We wish the numbers were equal. But we love that you tend to review a lot of fiction and poetry books by women. And if The Rumpus give more space to women writers in your fantastic interviews during the remaining months of 2010, VIDA will squeeze a few of its nonprofit pennies to buy you a round of cosmos.



Regular Columns:

Authored by Men: 7
Brian Schwartz
Nicholas Rombes
Rick Moody
Ryan Boudinot
Stephen Elliott
Steven Almond
Ted Wilson

Authored by Women: 2
Antonia Crane
Sari Botton


Rumpus Interviews (since the beginning of January 2010):
(Please note that we focused only on book reviews and interviews with literary authors.)

Male:                          20
Female:                      18

Authors Interviewed:
Male:                          24
Female:                      14


Rumpus Book Reviews (since the beginning of January 2010):


Male:                          77
Female:                      55

Authors Reviewed:

Male:                          74
Female:                      57

Co-authored M/F:     1


Rumpus original art by Jason Novak.

Susan Steinberg is the author of story collections The End of Free Love (FC2) and Hydroplane (FC2). She teaches at the University of San Francisco. Cate Marvin's most recent book of poems is Fragment of the Head of a Queen (Sarabande, 2007). She teaches creative writing at the College Staten Island, City University of New York. More from this author →