Boycotting for Balance

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There’s been a couple articles as of late suggesting we change the way we deal with social inequity—by pointedly not participating in its fulfillment. Instead of setting our sights on the people actively promoting the problem, why don’t we all participate in correcting the imbalance? Because doesn’t it affect everyone, regardless of whether they are part of the majority or minority?

This theory has been applied to gay marriage (an op-ed in the NY Times suggested we all boycott weddings), or the homogeneity of certain conference panels (GOOD Magazine put it succinctly: “White Men Should Refuse to Be on Panels of All White Men”) and this piece on race/gender inequity in the literary world (via). Stacey May Fowles implores male contributors to just refuse publication in order to assuage this gender disparity. Though it does seem like a lofty goal in an industry where writers are already struggling to snag a spot on a masthead or get published by a selective outlet, the race/gender imbalance is blatant. And how do we correct it?

“It’s no secret that literary periodicals are failing female writers. It seems they share a knack for siloing off women into special issues once a year, stuffing the contents with female experiences, concerns, and viewpoints, and then ignoring them the rest of the time.”


Sam Riley is an adult who works at McSweeney's. More from this author →