Why Won't ASME Recognize Women Writers?

Illustration for article titled Why Won't ASME Recognize Women Writers?

Curious what the founders of "The Count," which tallies the number of women who get published in top literary magazines (spoiler: not many), think of the 2012 National Magazine Award finalists? Although four women were nominated in the Public Interest category, there are no ladies to be found in prestigious categories like reporting, features, profiles, essays, and columns — basically, few women were nominated unless they wrote about ladybusiness. "The National Magazine Awards have sent a pretty clear message," co-founder Erin Belieu told Mother Jones. "When it comes to a career in journalism, chicks should stick to writing about chicks." Read the full Q&A here.

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All right, I'm a lady and I'm in this field, working for some eh-not-so-well-known and also some fairly high-profile publications. Women are consistently, though not always, pushed toward entertainment, travel, consumer, and PR pieces. Beat, investigative, and crime reporting tend to be the domain of men. Newspapers may be dying, but even at fairly fluffy lifestyle magazines, the male-centric newsroom culture does prevail. Part of this is management; lifers in positions of power are almost always male. The other part? I don't know yet.

Anyway. I guess it just irks me that Jonathan Franzen can, with great vigor and misogyny, tear Edith Wharton to shreds in the "New Yorker" and call it literary criticism, while women are still relegated to personal essay, fiction, and pieces about shoes.