2012 VIDA Byline Gender Parity Count Is Out and Depressing As Ever

Illustration for article titled 2012 VIDA Byline Gender Parity Count Is Out and Depressing As Ever

VIDA, an organization that "seeks to explore critical and cultural perceptions of writing by women through meaningful conversation and the exchange of ideas among existing and emerging literary communities," has just released its annual, soul-crushing tally of how male to female reviewers and male to female-written books stack up at major literary publications. It's not good.

Advertisement

From Amy King's overview:

While it would be incredibly easy to begin by lambasting national publications like Harpers, The Paris Review, The New Republic, New York Review Of Books, Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic and The Nation for their gross (& indecent) neglect of female writers' work, I fear the attention we've already given them has either motivated their editors to disdain the mirrors we've held up to further neglect or encouraged them to actively turn those mirrors into funhouse parodies at costs to women writers as yet untallied. Reason hasn't worked.

Some publications have "held steady or made calculable strides towards shaping a more egalitarian literary landscape via gender," including The Boston Review and Threepenny, and the Harvard Review, Drunken Boat and Tin House have all started counting their authors each year. But they're in the minority of pubs that are actually paying attention. "Improvements will happen with effort, not accidentally or by ignoring the glaring disparities," King writes. "As our frustration over the worsening numbers carries on, we might think we have little to no ability to help them along. But we do."

[VIDA]

DISCUSSION

This is sortof off-topic, but related. I noticed years ago that I was subconsciously putting down books with a male author and/or male protagonist. For every time I read and loved a book like Ender's Game, where I never noticed that there were no females, there would be something like Lord of the Rings, which made me wonder over and over: where are the ladies?? Eowyn was great and all, but she was only there for the punch line.

I was an English major, so my theory is that I was getting tired of male voices saying how it is and what was important.

I guess what I'm getting at is, I don't care what the dude reviewers think. I just wait for the Tiptree awards.