So there’s this
idiot individual who wrote this piece for The Guardian calling for a year in which no new books by men be published, only books by women. (If you read through the entire piece, I suggest you invest in a platter of cheese first. It will go well with all the whine.) And I thought the Tempest in a Chamberpot proposal was ridiculous.
Apparently she’s really serious.
Why does she say this? Because women aren’t getting enough attention, winning enough awards, getting enough reviews or at least enough reviews in the “right” venues. And there aren’t enough women protagonists. The list goes one. You can read the whole article if you really want to hear all her gripes.
Here’s what she wants publishing to do:
I would argue that is time for everyone, male and female, to sign up to a concerted campaign to redress the inequality….Why not have a Year of Publishing Women: 2018, the centenary of women over the age of 30 getting the vote in the UK, seems appropriate.
Of course, there will be many details to work out, but the basic premise of my “provocation” is that none of the new titles published in that year should be written by men. I’ve been considering literary fiction so far but other groups within fiction – and non-fiction – publishing could gain from signing up too. The knock-on effect of a Year of Publishing Women would be evident in review pages and blogs, in bookshop windows and front-of-store displays, in literature festival lineups, in prize submissions. We must learn from the suffragettes that it’s not always necessary or helpful to be polite about our campaigns. If some publishing houses refused to sign up, then it would be for the literary pages and booksellers and bloggers and festivals to say they wouldn’t be able to give space to the male writers who were being published that year. Many male writers would, I’m sure, back the campaign and refuse to submit their books for publication in the given year, while also taking an active part by reading, reviewing and recommending the books that were published.
If we are to truly claim that we’re pushing back against inequality it’s essential that the build up to a 2018 Year of Publishing Women should include debates and commitments to ensure that the YPW doesn’t end up looking like the year of publishing young, straight, white, middle-class metropolitan women.
You know, as a general rule I really don’t care what dangly bits the authors I read may or may not have, unless they’ve been completely obnoxious about it in public. I only care about can they tell me an entertaining story. In nonfiction, I only care if the person has credentials or expertise in the areas the book addresses. I’m not about to deny myself the reading pleasure that the works of men writers would give me. Or women writers. Or manatee writers. Or Martian writers. I’m going to read writers who tell tell stories that entertain me. Period. Anyone who doesn’t like it can go [censored] themselves with an umbrella and then open it.
No publisher with a lick of business sense (I know to some of you who are traditionally published that sounds like an oxymoron) would ever sign on for this, assuming there would be no contractual issues with any of the male authors. They would be out of business before the year was out. I would say the same thing about male authors, but I can think of a couple off the top of my head who probably would go along with it.
I was told in kindergarten that two wrongs don’t make a right. Of course I was also told “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, something that doesn’t seem to be taught these days. This woman doesn’t seem to see that her solution is worse than the problem. While I don’t deny there is discrimination in publishing, or anything else that involves more than one human being interacting with another, greater discrimination is not the solution.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I hear the Gods of the Copybook Headings at the door.